When Public Health meets PR

Submitted by BU Contributor

While the GoB should be widely complimented for its initial handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, the past 5-6 weeks have unearthed a strategy where priority is being placed on feeling good over firm facts, economics over health and spin over substance.

It is clear to a blind man on a trotting horse that the Government has determined that it and it alone will decide what and how much information we get, when and how. Even if it means reorganising or delaying key details so as not to sound alarmist or to “protect the brand” or maintain an air of control.

Why else would we be given “nice” figures in front the camera only to realise days later that it is worse than thought.

Why else would we be promised regular, consistent statistics, only to have them spread out and again given in different sometimes confusing formats, if at all.

Why else would we have the swift hiring and then hiding of the Ambassador after her fiascos dug too deep and clearly were too rough?

Why else would we have the withdrawal of Walcott who clearly couldn’t handle pressure. “Why should we be bothered about Patient X?” he bellowed.

Why else would we keep getting “I don’t knows” or “I have to look into that” for questions which have obvious answers?

Notwithstanding the kneejerk “tourist payback policy” which was announced before anyone knew and the hurried hazard pay to some persons without considering others. It seems that we have been fed a diet of small statistics with a side of PR sprinkled with cliches and political talking points.

“uh beg ya… wear your masks etc etc.”
Guess what, Barbadians by and large did everything that was asked of them.

“We can’t shut our borders, we need the money”
But yet we are told that the numbers of tourists entering are a negligible amount.

“The vaccine will be taken in the full glare of the public”
Clearly the glare was too bright, I missed it.

“The super spreader event called a ##### bus crawl held by ######….”
I guess the West Coast is too super to be called a spreader or to special to identify

  1. What about the Psychiatric Hospital cases, were these ever confirmed?
  2. What about the cases at the QEH hospital that “appeared”?
  3. What about the samples which withdrawn Walcott said were sent to confirm whether they were the mutated strain or not?
  4. When do we acknowledge that there is community spread? Is it so vile a phrase?
  5. What really is the new high tech semi-imported communications team doing?
  6. Has BAMP suddenly gone silent? No word from them about the rapid testing strategy?
  7. As countries overseas close or require vaccines, aren’t we still going to take a hit?

Look, we know we are in a tight spot. We know now is not the time for blame. But, at the same time, it is also not the time for spin, propaganda and public relations posturing, no matter how good it sounds or from which aunt or uncle it comes from.

It’s time to level with the Barbadian public.

  1. How long should we expect to be grappling with cases of 10-20 or more each day? What does our “curve” look like and mean?
  2. Are these cases still linked to the December 26 – January 2 spike or are we now seeing recent spread and new cases?
  3. Are our clusters still clustered?
  4. How widespread geographically are our cases?
  5. How long does contact tracing really take?
  6. Should we just accept that Covid spread in Barbados is a new normal and carry on smartly?
  7. Do business continue to close when they think necessary IF they feel like?
  8. Will schools continue to remain closed?
  9. What is the Covid monitoring unit doing and what successes is it having?

These questions aren’t too hard to answer. With facts, come a reality. With reality, comes choices. With choice, come decisions.

The time for talk has long passed. Level with the public for better or for worse and let’s move on together without so much doubt and uncertainty. We’ve done it before, we can do it again.

255 comments

  • An doubtful if India is contented to sit and watch a two-horse race(China and the US).

    Any forward thinking world player would start showing their seeds from today.

    Like

  • @WURA-War-on-U January 24, 2021 7:39 PM “Social media is not easy.”

    Social media is not always true.

    I got a social media post yesterday with a be-mittened, winter coat clad Bernie Sanders liming outside of Barbados’ Treasury building with a bare chested, bare footed Ninja Man.

    So we gotta learn how to take social media.

    Every picture int true. Every statement int true either.

    Like

  • Press conference at 6 pm , today

    Like

  • I AM GLAD TO SEE NOT EVERY LOCAL BAJAN ON THE 2 x 3 ARE AS GULLIBLE AS SOME OF YOU ON HERE AND THE BLP GOVERNMENT WOULD LIKE TO THINK.

    RAW SEWAGE IS STILL RAW SHIT AND NOT CHOCOLATE.

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    “We knew before you told us’: Readers on COVID-19 community spread

    The announcement of community spread of the coronavirus has come as no surprise to many Barbadians, according to Barbados TODAY readers.

    On Saturday, Minister of Health Lt Col Jeffrey Bostic said: “For those cases where we have exhausted our efforts in terms of finding a link, we now, based on the public health officials’ reporting, have reached the stage where we believe, and we are declaring that there is community transmission in Barbados.”

    The health minister’s comment immediately prompted reactions from online readers.

    One reader said: “We knew before you told us, Mr Minister.” Another added: “Now wait to confirm? The public was debating that 800 cases ago.”

    Pam Smith said: “Such devastating news after all the hard work of Barbadians which now feels the effects of visitors who too often showed scant regard for the Barbados COVID-19 protocols which kept them safe for so long with a total of nine deaths.”

    But some readers blamed this new stage of the virus’’s spread on the Government.

    Que Pérez declared: “There was community spread from the moment they requested contact tracing from the bus crawl…Trust me, the more they test, the more they will find..but, you can’t stop testing.

    “Everyone (needs) to be extra careful; follow protocols to avoid being tested positive. Sadly, it has got to an inevitable stage.”

    DW Zenghetti said: “Congratulations to the government on placing us in this mess by their negligence. You all had one job… just had to ensure government was proactive in ensuring no tourists breached quarantine. You placed that responsibility solely on the hotels? During a global pandemic with a deadly virus? That’s the government’s job. Any tourist coming here is a potential threat to national security and safety.

    https://barbadostoday.bb/2021/01/26/we-knew-before-you-told-us-readers-on-covid-19-community-spread/

    Like

  • Disgusting Lies & Propaganda TV

    “Active cases does not mean hospitalized cases”

    @ Critical Analyzer that point partly reinforces my view of using a method that is “FIT FOR PURPOSE” for Barbados!!!!!!. COVID-19 does not have a high mortality rate, it doesn’t cause hemorrhagic fever or flesh eating bacteria to thrive. That does not mean that Barbados or any country in the world should underestimate the threat.

    I support a “relaxed” version of the pre-July 2020 measures ALONG with further tightening of the entry protocols because they are entirely FIT FOR PURPOSE. The problem is the lack of discipline that would creep in when fighting a prolonged threat. We have a reality of a airborne virus that would have EVENTUALLY caused community spread WITH or WITHOUT a vaccine. For the 12 months that Barbados has it borders open there was no “spike” in cases. Those spikes came AFTER a SINGLE, LOCAL super spreader event. What is that an indication OF?!?!?!?!?!?!?! Did we have 30 or 40 COVID-19 positive visitors running all over Barbados spreading the virus daily?!?!!!!!!!. The vaccines (by my estimate) may be in Barbados in the next 3 – 9 months but they could as well be 2 – 3 years away. Every time we have a spike in cases will we close the borders two weeks at a time, ALL THE TIME!?!?! For the problem to return 4 weeks later and have to close borders again when those spikes would be from community spread?. Closing borders would be a “doing something when you are achieving nothing” act.

    My opinion is that some peoples view are “poisoned” by how piss poor the USA, UK (and some other First world countries) have been handling the COVID-19 pandemic. It is causing a heightened sense of panic. When they have been other countries that have been able to mitigate the internal spread over time without border closures.

    Like

  • @ Williams

    There is a huge difference between dying of CoVid and dying with CoVid. The government has got to reset the whole campaign and include the leaders of the leading political and civic organisations, led by the governor general.
    They also have to remember that at a time like this tone is very important; it is not a political platform, so waving hands and reaching with favourite phrases will not do.
    It calls for a totally new approach. I am told that government has highly paid so-called strategists and PR experts. If that is so, they should ask for their money back.

    Like

  • Where is my comment i submitted ten minutes ago
    Why Why i am having this problem

    Like

  • Please it is not a one glove fits all in dealing with the virus
    Some people bodies react differently
    I have known people whose symptoms could be considered mild but after many weeks of recovery still cannot smell or taste
    Then their are others with no underlying conditions mostly young or in their thirties had an awful fight with the virus
    Medical doctors still are trying to understand why some reactions vary in young and healthy people

    Like

  • @ Angela

    Free speech versus censoring.

    Like

  • “Social media is not always true.”

    you can go right ahead and trust a lying ass AG who robs old people their estates and their beneficiaries their future….yall more gullible than ya think, you might be next….ya quick to forget the lies they tell on a daily basis….am over yall already, anything happen to you next, ya more than deserve.

    Like

  • So what will.govt say this evening
    Oh folks the new variant is on the island and there usual punch line placed on the propaganda machine
    Dont worry dont panic govt got this under control

    Like

  • @Crusoe January 26, 2021 5:53 AM “Ask Hal about the UK government pandemic management contracts.”

    Dear Hal:
    Please tell us about the UK government pandemic management contracts. Thanks.

    Like

  • Wait was the press conference cancelled
    In any case govt rehearsed lines would be the order of the day
    Barbadians are not open and expect that the variant would be on the island
    Govt reaction of put lipstick on COVID is to expected
    However the increase in numbers cannot be of comfort to any govt official

    Like

  • @Critical Analyzer January 26, 2021 6:32 AM “Order container loads of Vitamin D instead.”

    Why?

    When everybody in Barbados can sit in their yard at lunchtime and get free Vitamin D?

    Like

  • @Angela

    They could not organise a party in a brewery.

    Like

  • @Hal Austin January 26, 2021 8:38 AM “How do you get immunity?”

    The truth is that immunity declines with age.

    The whole body declines with age.

    if you doubt me look a few inches below your navel.

    Are things still as thy were when you were 20?

    No?

    The whole body is going through a similar decline.

    At at the end comes death.

    Like

  • @Crusoe January 26, 2021 6:03 AM “I would think that they do a blood test to check organ function prior to release?”

    Which organ?

    Which functions?

    Like

  • Critical Analyzer

    @Cuhdear Bajan January 26, 2021 6:32 PM
    How many bajans you see walking about in the daytime sun for at least 30 mins everyday to get sun on their skin to get their body producing vitamin D?

    We working in air conditioned buildings whole day, driving around with AC on and windows rolled up, threatening people with shutting down beaches, got people so frightened and foolish that they running, walking and exercising outside with masks on.

    Bajans gone COVID crazy and the medical doctors aka drug pushers can’t even put proper advice out there except wait for a vaccine, wear mask, social distance, wash hands and stay in your house. No taking into account our climate. There is a reason cold countries have a flu season.

    Like

  • @angela cox January 26, 2021 10:49 AM “Lest we forget that some elderly live alone.”

    Actually at a time like this when the world is experiencing a highly infectious disease, the elderly who live alone are the lucky ones. They are in fact better off than the elderly who live in households with multiple people. or the elderly who live in seriously over crowded households. If you live alone, pay your bills on line and have the “kids” drop your groceries and medicines off at the door. How are you going to become infected?

    And of course no government in the world has the capacity to move all elders to single occupant homes.

    Living alone is not nearly as bad as people who have never lived alone imagine it to be.

    Like

  • @ Critical

    Out of all this talk comes a gem of truth – that doctors are drug pushers. Although it is a conversation for another time, there is a massive push by Big Pharma to medicalise everything that happens to us. That is why the campaign against alternatives medicines.
    They also corrupt doctors by offering them gifts, inviting them on cruises to discus new medicines, or sponsor research.
    We should ban doctors from having anything to do with Big Pharma.

    Like

  • Cuhdear … The voice of reaso

    @CA
    “wait for a vaccine, wear mask, social distance, wash hands and stay in your house. No taking into account our climate. ”

    Can you explain the role of climate

    Like

  • @David January 26, 2021 12:19 PM “We need to find a way to develop herd immunity.”

    There are only 2 ways to herd immunity.

    Vaccination.

    Letting the disease run through a community, and who live live, and who dead dead.

    There are no other ways.

    So let us say that Covid19 is as infectious as the 1918 flu which infected 25% of the world’s population.

    25% of Barbados’ population is 72,000 people.

    And let us say that the Covid19 mortality rate is 2%

    2% of 72,000 is 1440.

    So in this scenario 1440 dead Bajans is the reality.

    The only question now is “are we willing to go with the 1440 deaths?”

    And if so who wants to be deaths numbers 11 to 1440?

    Very likely these will be mostly elderly, but certainly some will be medical, nursing, care giving professionals. Some will be young people too. A few will even be children.

    Another question. Me or you? My children or yours? My grandchildren or yours?

    Once we have these answers.

    Problem solved.

    Like

  • Critical Analyzer

    @TheOGazerts January 26, 2021 7:11 PM
    We have 12 months of summer and we need to take advantage of it to help fight COVID.

    The medical advice should be turn off your vehicle AC and roll down the windows. Spend at least 15-30 minutes everyday getting some sun and breathing clean fresh air without the mask on.

    Like

  • “When everybody in Barbados can sit in their yard at lunchtime and get free Vitamin D?”

    Black people have gotten so stupid that they’re looking for Vitamin D from a pill…when the sun is still free…that’s how dumb down they’ve made themselves…reminds me of Donville…went all the way to Canada looking for 2 crooks to sell Bajans the sun and give them concessions for doing it too……can’t make it up…..yall are truly lost…looks good on ya too.

    it’s so nice to absorb 2 hours of vitamin D…ya can feel the power on the skin..top up on the melanin…some black fools will tell ya that ya think ya are a tourist if you do that…some of yall need to go extinct and stop taking up space and oxygen for no good reason….no reason ya existence is seen as only useful to enrich social parasites.

    BTW…heard his sentencing has moved to April…

    Like

  • “We should ban doctors from having anything to do with Big Pharma.”

    How would we do clinical trials?

    Like

  • Critical Analyzer

    @WURA-War-on-U January 26, 2021 7:31 PM
    Spoken like somebody that retired and has nothing to do but sit down or go walking in the sun everyday to get your vitamin D the old-fashioned way.

    The reality of the situation is most of us don’t spend enough time in the sun so vitamin D supplementation is a must at this time.

    Like

  • From: Hal Austin January 26, 2021 1:03 PM
    “@Crusoe
    Plse remain focussed and not fall for silly jokes. India has a population of about 1.3bn and is one of the poorest countries in the world. Its rural population are now in the middle of a demonstration.
    The president is asking India for 200000 vaccines, and offering to pay for half. Politics aside, do you think India can offer Barbados any vaccines?”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Sometimes you can, and quite impressively so, allow your xenophobic imagination to get ahead of your journalistic seasoning even if not reasoning.

    How can you say the ‘above’ about the second most populated nation possessing enough nuclear armament to exceed, allegedly, those of Israel and to keep its biggest Islamist neighbour at bay?

    Isn’t the same India a major supplier of ICT-trained workers and ‘developers’ to the world including the great America?

    Aren’t people from the same Indian Diaspora among some of the richest and most ‘successful’ movers and shakers in the Western economies and societies especially the UK?

    Isn’t the same ‘poor-ass’ India a major supplier of pharmaceuticals to ‘Third World’ aka “shithole” countries like Barbados?

    Isn’t India a major player in the ‘innovation’ and marketing of a vaccine hoping to fight the current plague called Covid-19 while countries like Bim- which has invested billions of taxpayers’ money in students to study medicine and related sciences- can’t even say a pang (or give a ping) but can only beg from the same people living in the hellhole of Mumbai formerly Bombay?

    Shouldn’t you be querying whether the ‘dose’ of the anti-Covid-19 vaccine claimed to have been injected in the body of the same La Presidente MAM as a PR stunt was indeed a ‘sample’ from the same ‘India-innovated’ vaccine shipment sent on consignment?

    Like

  • PM speaking now.

    Like

  • “Sometimes you can, and quite impressively so, allow your xenophobic imagination to get ahead of your journalistic seasoning even if not reasoning.”

    well said

    I often call out the boy for his repugnant racism but he don’t hear me though

    he tuns a deaf ear like a bitch and needs some scum remover spray

    if he spake in public to be people face’s like he does in public domain he would get plenty bitch slaps

    although his face looks well beaten up already

    Like

  • @January 26, 2021 7:47 PM “Isn’t the same ‘poor-ass’ India a major supplier of pharmaceuticals to ‘Third World’ aka “shithole” countries like Barbados?”

    I just checked the labels of the 3 medicines I take for my NCD’s. All made in India. Been taking them for about 10 years. I am still fit as a fiddle. Have spent a total of 10 days in hospital in nearly 70 years, including time for childbirths. Can still do 5 or 6 hours of heavy outdoor work anytime I feel like it.

    I have great confidence in Indian pharmaceuticals.

    Barbados has long bought a lot of medicines from India. The rest of Caricom does too. Maybe that is why the PM is speaking with Indian officials. They know our track record with paying and we know theirs with supplying excellent quality medicines.

    Like

  • The PM knows the source of the problem
    But lockdown barbados however keep the source open by which the virus comes in
    What kind of idiot would keep a door open to let infections in
    Then goes on long winded diatribe of gaggle to deliver to the people

    Like

  • Israel is also a phArmaceutical giant. The relationships are often more complicated than they appear on the surface.

    Like

  • @Angela,
    You and Mia are a study in contrast.
    One was running a country, the other was running her mouth.

    You picked the worst scenario and rode a dead horse until it came to life. Armed with safety protocols, Mia chose a positive course of action and rode her horse until it had to pull up straight.

    Like

  • Disgusting Lies & Propaganda TV

    @ Ass Clown… To use bajan….”you sound so stupid” but I guess that is your normal.

    Like

  • Yeap Gazzert i run my mouth all the while Mia was running tye country and the infection rste kept increasing
    Finally she got a chance to run her mouth however a bit too late cause the horse has run many furlongs across the home stretch causing her to do double takes
    Hence her position to take action
    Actions which in the end cannot stop COVID deadly footprint on the island until she tackle the source

    Like

  • Cuddear…your’re fit, why are you taking medication. I know people who take none. Myself included glad too.

    Like

  • @Ass Clown
    You are right
    Mia and her goons let the virus in the country that has killed three elderly none of which are her family members
    Today saying sorry but the words sorry can only be appreciated when one does everything possible to prevent disastrous results
    Her leaving the borders open at such a critical time was a big error and all the sorry in the world cannot bring back a love one because of a govt policy which choose the health of the economy over the health of the people
    Ass Clown you are not an idiot only an idiots indulge in genocide with eyes wide shut
    Ass Clown Keep yuh eyes wide open yuh wouldnt want none of yuh family members to be on Mia sorry list

    Like

  • “The reality of the situation is most of us don’t spend enough time in the sun ”

    the Caribbean is surrounded by sun. Everytime you step out, there it is. I find it hard not to get at least 10 minutes a day in the backyard. Even better if you can find a chair, pull it up and sit in the sun, don’t cost a dime. I don’t get to take 2 hours every day, but today was very nice.

    Like

  • I don’t know about yall, but if i don’t top on the Vitamin D, i start to lose my melanin, over a period of time and am a Black person..

    Like

  • @WURA-War-on-U January 26, 2021 9:26 PM “Cuddear…your’re fit, why are you taking medication. I know people who take none. Myself included glad too.”

    Want to live to be nearly 100 like my dear sweet dad and his mum. Want to fall out of my bed in my 90’s and not break anything, want to dance at the grandchildren’s weddings, want to continue gardening, want to continue enjoying my sweetie, lol! [you know what I mean]

    Like

  • Critical Analyzer

    @WURA-War-on-U January 26, 2021 9:32 PM

    Just because you not loosing your black tan does not mean your vitamin D levels are good. Other factors than just getting sun such as age, diet also plays a part in how well your body converts.

    Unless you have your levels tested, the next best thing is supplementation since it is extremely difficult to overdose on vitamin D but you can be relatively sure you are getting at least a certain minimum amount in your body.

    Like

  • “They know our track record with paying” (quote)
    Unsure this is a safe path to head down. I do not know what medical products the GoB buys direct, versus via local suppliers. But many of those suppliers had the QEH etc on C.O.D for a long time. One of the IMF roles was to get these payables current. Government to Government is one thing. Asking a manufacturer to supply (and hold the credit) is another.
    To besides, the cat is already out of the bag. Israel got vaccines by PAYING MORE. So called supply shortages, are largely because the manufacturer has found a customer willing to pay more. Retooling my ass. And if you think they don’t talk to each other, think again. They all know, based on other products, who has who, over a barrel.
    This is a huge profit making opportunity. And you will note how protectionist the big blocks are getting. They do not wish to be held to ransom.
    Surely if the GoB can pay White Oaks a SUCCESS FEE (guaranteed) of $40M+, they can pay triple the list price for vaccines?

    Like

  • Critical AnalyzerJanuary 26, 2021 10:18 PM Preach.

    Like

  • “Unless you have your levels tested, the next best thing is supplementation since it is extremely difficult to overdose on vitamin D but you can be relatively sure you are getting at least a certain minimum amount in your body.”

    You are referring to people who have heath problems and NCDs….i dont..i can only speak as to my health, all i need to do is top up on Vitamin D periodically. Am truly blessed for as long as that lasts.

    Like

  • You have a beautiful 17 minute practice today, so don’t you even think about skipping it.

    This session is a great one, once again inviting you to dedicate some time to drop into conversation with your breath.

    This one is also designed to assist you in putting a lot of elements of previous lessons together for more discovery!

    Get ready to learn something new.

    Expand your mind.

    Expand your breath!

    Daily practice at its finest, proving, a little dedicated time goes a long way.

    I send you a gentle reminder today to give the thinking mind a break. This practice gets right to it. Don’t think too hard. Begin with your breath and the rest will unfold.

    This practice also dances its way toward Wild Thing pose, sometimes called flip dog

    You are doing this.

    Trust you are here for a reason…

    It’s meaningful.

    Welcome healing.

    Welcome potential.

    Welcome discovery.

    Welcome expansion.

    I will see you on the mat!

    Love

    Like

  • @ Oldies but Goodies

    Here is an exercise practice for all the grannies and granddads

    Modifications : Only do what is comfortably challenging

    You cannot do what you cannot do

    Like

  • Barbados did not have to reach this high level of lockdowns if Mia had taken the right step of. Closing the borders to travellers from hot spots
    The panic and fear being felt across the island are mostly in part due to govt mishandling of the crisis and having a message board placed on an ease of presenting to home and aboard that barbados was COVID Free

    Like

  • Whilst some are opposed to wearing masks, we are told to increase the protection by doubling up on masks.

    Which camp are you in?

    Like

  • As to time periods for lockdowns
    Does the virus stop circulating during those periods
    And how about the present time when people are still out abd about
    The nonsense of dating the virus is built on Pretense that the virus is less active

    Like

  • What ? Yes what and that what should be directed towards Mia with her plans to punish the people and hurt small business

    Liked by 1 person

  • The dash board is all but meaningless in its numbers knowing that there is community spread and the numbers are nit reflected of what is happening in the community in its totality until all are tested

    Liked by 1 person

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