Time to Open

Submitted by Petko

I wish to preface this by stating in no way am I affiliated with or have any financial interest in the tourism or travel industry, as I know what I write below will have people stating I have only written to push a personal financial agenda.

The time for Barbados to open her borders completely is now. By this I mean in particular the 2nd test and hotel quarantine policy of tourists and returning Barbadians has to be terminated. As well the mandatory Harrison Point isolation of any person testing positive for Sars-Cov2 virus should also be scrapped.

The coronavirus is endemic in Barbados, no wordsmithing such as clusters or West Coast or North Coast spread can deny this fact. In addition, I put forth that it has been endemic since March. Only a naïve person can believe that the virus has not been constantly circulating since it was first tested for in March. Barbados opened her borders in mid June and did not institute the second test of incoming persons until mid-October. If people have been found positive on the second test since October, it is only logical to surmise the same percentage of people were positive from June to October that were landing here. Hence the virus has always been here and circulating. The only thing that happened during this Christmas season is that a local Bajan was tested with the virus being detected. This was followed by the mass testing to find the 500+ positives we have now. It is common knowledge that from May to now the local population has barely been tested, there were days in June with 15 tests reported – from a population of 285,000 people. Testing only reached 60-120 per day when the testing of incoming passengers began.

Based on the above we can extrapolate that with a circulating virus the health care system at no time was over-whelmed. The fact is when you don’t test for the coronavirus you don’t find the coronavirus as 98% of people who “catch” it suffer at most a common cold and thus you wouldn’t even know it existed. Currently we see that from the 560+ current cases not a single person is in serious condition. From 200 positive prisoners we see that 95% are asymptomatic. We have 1 year of data, we know that people over the age of 80 are vulnerable to this as they are to a flu – these people need protection and caution, but the 30 year old Sea-doo operator is at zero risk to Sars-Cov2.

The argument some have of shutting the borders is to be polite, pure nonsense. I find it quite hypocritical when people accuse incoming persons of bringing and spreading the “dreaded” virus. Consequently, these same people are quite happy to receive the hard currency these people bring, the pharmaceutical supplies, the TV’s and laptops and the Toyota Hilux’s that a modern society requires. We have always lived in a globalized world which trades in goods, knowledge and disease – this is the human condition.

There is no finger pointing here, the fact is with all the protocols on incoming passengers, the coronavirus is here and has been here. Even if 100% of humanity was vaccinated for this virus it will still exist as the vaccines are not eliminating the virus but making its care manageable. Manageable is the key word here. Barbados needs to manage the situation in a rational way that considers the positives and negatives of every action.

Tourism is the lifeblood of the nation; it will be the lifeblood in 100 years. Barbados nor any country in the Caribbean is going to start manufacturing pickup trucks or OLED TV’s – the core competency is the tourism product which arose from the glorious weather that this region is blessed with. We should be championing it rather than disparaging it, as some do. Currently Barbados is the only country in the region which requires the 2nd test in-country with the threat of going into isolation. What has this resulted in?

Well, the coronavirus is here and is not going anywhere, even post-vaccine. Thus, a ZERO Covid policy is sheer folly and unscientific. Next it has resulted in a drop of 95% to the tourism product resulting in up to 40% unemployment as well as a government stressed to its financial borrowing limits. Currently Barbados is receiving 350 incoming passengers per day on 4 major international flights. A quick look at our neighbours shows a different picture.

Montego Bay is handling 33 flights per day, Aruba has 19 flights daily, Cancun has 100 and Nassau 16. These locations require either no test of any kind or a negative PCR test 3-5 days old and nothing else. Yes, these countries have “cases” but so does Barbados. The difference is these countries are managing the situation and keeping their economy and tourism lifeblood functional. Travellers will put up with bringing a negative PCR test (for now – in 2 months when the entire USA has immunity do not expect Americans choosing destinations requiring tests) and they are showing it with their travel to these destinations. There is also the threat that once a long-time visitor to Barbados has tried out another destination such as Aruba, they may never come back here.

The BLP unfortunately painted itself into a corner with an unrealistic goal and message of Zero Covid. They now have the opportunity to exit this strategy and embrace that of managing the disease as well as the tourism product. I have no doubt that both can be done at an exceptional level in Barbados. Time is of the essence and the 2021 Winter tourist season is not done yet. February and March provide the traditional breaks in the source markets of the UK, USA and Canada. Literally tens of thousands of people are ready to travel to the Caribbean and if Barbados keeps its onerous and unproductive 2nd test none of these people will grace our shores. Thousands could be put back into employment, the economy would begin its rebound and we would be moving forward.

Pursuing the 2nd test strategy will only result in Barbados staying in its current sclerotic state. PM Mottley has been adamant in Barbadians should embrace change, well the BLP and herself needs to now do the same. The old policy did not and could not work, pivot and manage and let Barbados get back on her feet in 2021.

236 thoughts on “Time to Open

  1. Wow,

    Cases at 152,244, down 100K or so since last week!!

    Deaths have miraculously more than halved, 1897 vs 4390 on 20th January.

    Probably being allocated to some other cause, maybe flu.

    … and just by rejoining WHO!!

    Meanwhile, over in Merry Old England, there are more children in hospital due to mental issues than medical.

    Compliments of this COVID farce.

  2. JohnJanuary 25, 2021 11:14 PM Compliments of this COVID farce.

    John, As you are firm in approach that this virus is non existent, why don’t you go and volunteer at Harrison’s Point. Even cleaning up stuff and collecting laundry will help, I am sure.

  3. Ah boy Crusoe

    I see that as one of the many cognoscenti on here you also are struck dumb by the rapid disappearance of the casedemic and reductions in deaths in the US and are unable to deal with the stark reality of what I am sure appears to you an impossibility!!

    I would recommend you recommend to Ms. Mockley that she try to increase the subvention payable to WHO and negotiate a reduction for Barbados in its deaths (though small already) and cases.

  4. John, Given your recent contributions, it is clear that you have the best of the best, of a certain plant.

    You clearly have the know how to market, why not set up a company and make forex? Barbados needs it.

  5. @John January 26, 2021 8:46 AM

    These are not new rules. They were the standard rules used to diagnose cases before the COVID pandemic. They simply wanted the numbers inflated to get their vaccine research money.

    The standard before COVID to declare as positive was the following two conditions
    – Symptomatic people who test positive on first test.
    – Second test for initially asymptomatic positive cases to see if they remained positive before declaring the person as positive.

    Has anyone getting their results had the number of cycles the test was done for? PCR Test can amplify and pick up anything given enough cycles are used including dead viral debris. The PCR Test experts have been sayin all along anything more than 30-34 cycles risks identifying dead virus fragments or extremely low virus loads too low to transmit as positive.

  6. Critical AnalyzerJanuary 26, 2021 9:26 AM

    Listen, doan get tie up with all of dat. We soon going know if what John and you allege is true. Give it three weeks. Then we will see about this asymptomatic thing. I hope that John and you are 100% right. Pick sense from that.

  7. @Crusoe January 26, 2021 9:37 AM
    All of that is exactly what we have to get tied up with because number of cases is what is driving the decisions. How many cases are serious cases?

    I can sense we going into some sort of lockdown because stupid people on the calling programs calling for a lockdown out of fear. Lockdowns help drive the virus too because it weakens your immune system since the body is not getting exercise and sunshine it needs locked in a house with the rest of your family.

    One third or so in the prison had it and how many needed to be admitted to the infirmary? This virus is not the killer virus we have been led to believe it is once treated properly.

    They will never release daily statistics on serious cases and they will never say the WHO has gone back to recommending pre-COVID testing rules for identifying positive cases.

    • @Crusoe

      It is a difficult time, for the world. Watches a BBC report yesterday about how it is rampaging through Africa. A big part of the problem locals must keep their discipline up, fight the fatigue or surges will repeat like the proverbial recurring decimal.

  8. Critical AnalyzerJanuary 26, 2021 10:22 AM

    I would caution about drawing conclusions too quickly on the severity of this latest wave. It has just got started. You do see that the latest variant has the USA and UK literally at breaking point? This is very probably the variant only now in Barbados.

    Do you think that New Zealand is keeping its borders closed without hard thinking? As I said, give it three weeks and then tell me.

  9. Crusoe January 26, 2021 8:51 AM #: “John, Given your recent contributions, it is clear that you have the best of the best, of a certain plant. You clearly have the know how to market, why not set up a company and make forex? Barbados needs it.”

    @ Crusoe

    Yes, I agree that based on the guy’s recent rants and raves, especially after the demise of ‘orange turd,’ it seems as though he’s probably abusing an extremely potent illegal controlled substance.

    But, asking him to market the coca plant and its product would involve him engaging in an illegal activity?

  10. DavidJanuary 26, 2021 12:12 PM

    Quite right. One thing that I noticed early on, is that the situation on an island or in a region can spin on a dime from almost no cases to suddenly a surge. And this was before the recent UK variant. From zero to sixty in a short time.

    Critical Analyser did point on another post to an important point that Hal also confirmed. That the virus is not a respiratory virus as such, but a blood borne virus that causes widespread inflammation and therefore impacts multiple organs and can cause clotting and other complications. The clotting is actually what starts the issues in the lungs, that then presents as pneumonia. This is what the health sources write anyway.

    But the point is that serious issues may not just arise in the lungs, but generally. That is why when people talk about it being a flu, it is far different and can be far more serious.

  11. @Critical Analyzer January 26, 2021 10:22 AM “…since the body is not getting exercise and sunshine it needs locked in a house with the rest of your family.”

    Maybe the PM is right to call it a pause instead of a lockdowm.

    In Barbados people are not literally locked in their homes.

    Remember we only have to stay within our curtilage. I wish that Hal’s friend the Minister of Education had not used that antique legalism.

    She could easily have said “stan in ya yard”

    Sit in your gallery

    Lime with members of your household on your back step, or your front step.

    Wash your dominoes and play a game with the members of your household out in de yard.

    But don’ go wandering up the gap or down to the front road.

    For this 14 period unless you have to go out for food or medicine don’t mix wid anybody who don’t live at you.

    I can hear the neighboring couple playing dominoes on their verandah. They seem happy to play together.

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