Gonsalves Struck in the Head, Who Next?
The report coming out of St. Vincent that a citizen felt emboldened to pelt an object at Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and in the process endanger his life and destabilize the country is reprehensible. We may have contrary political views but it does not mean we should disregard the fact Gonsalves’s Unity Labour Party (ULP) is a democratically elected government. What example are we setting for our children? Increasingly in the Caribbean we are witnessing behaviours associated with TV scenes depicting public disturbances from over in away. Another example of our small open societies in the Caribbean susceptible to external influences. The English speaking Caribbean has earned a reputation through the years as an area of peace (comparatively speaking) with Grenada the outlier. What happened in St. Vincent this week is an ominous sign for the region given we are battling similar issues. The lyrics of the great calypso Caribbean Man penned in 1979 should serve as a reminder.
One race (de Caribbean man)Songwriter: Sawandi Cassell
From de same place (de Caribbean man)
Dat make de same trip (de Caribbean man)
On de same ship (de Caribbean man)
So we must push one common intention
Is for a better life in de region
For we woman, and we children
Dat must be de ambition of de Caribbean man
De Caribbean man, de Caribbean man
The world is struggling to protect citizens during the pandemic. It is reported over 4 million people have died since the outbreak of Covid 19. The virus has had the effect of stalling the global economy and in the process crippled Small Island Developing States (SIDs) like St. Vincent, Barbados and others. Before the pandemic our economic and social landscape was under stress. As developed and undeveloped countries respond to outbreak after outbreak of Covid 19, public health policy to fight the virus has not earned the trust of some members of the public. The issue has escalated to a point where the rights of individuals are challenging government’s obligation to enforce an effective national health policy. Members of the medical fraternity are divided, governments have been administering different approaches, individuals are conflicted on the best options to take to fight Covid 19. Unfortunately the matter has been politicised and the voice of the scientists have been trivialized. There will always be those who are anti this and anti that- this has been the case from time immemorial.
To ask for calm at a time various interest groups (including political parties) prefer to engage in rambunctious behaviour will be a struggle. One suspects it will get worse before it gets better. Many of our islands support service economies and will be directly impacted based on our ability to curb Covid 19 infections and in the process prevent failed state status. How long can our governments continue to pay the salaries of bloated public service employees. How long will private sector companies draw down on reserves and declining rate of returns on equity? Is the proverbial crap is about to hit the fan?
The Barbados government is currently working on a legal document to consider mandatory vaccinations that was promised to key stakeholders yesterday. Yesterday CNN in the USA fired 3 unvaccinated employees who entered the workplace violating policy. Buckle up!
The blogmaster thought the following read a useful exercise, a break from the vitriol.
Mandatory vaccination, including for COVID-19, can be ethically justified if the threat to public health is grave, the confidence in safety and effectiveness is high, the expected utility of mandatory vaccination is greater than the alternatives, and the penalties or costs for non-compliance are proportionate. I describe an algorithm for justified mandatory vaccination. Penalties or costs could include withholding of benefits, imposition of fines, provision of community service or loss of freedoms. I argue that under conditions of risk or perceived risk of a novel vaccination, a system of payment for risk in vaccination may be superior. I defend a payment model against various objections, including that it constitutes coercion and undermines solidarity. I argue that payment can be in cash or in kind, and opportunity for altruistic vaccinations can be preserved by offering people who have been vaccinated the opportunity to donate any cash payment back to the health service.Read full text: Good reasons to vaccinate: mandatory or payment for risk?