WE would like to commend the police force, for taking action following the publication of yesterday’s Tribune highlighting a wedding held in breach of emergency orders on Friday.
We would like to praise politicians for not interfering in the matter, even when some of the individuals receiving a knock on the door from police officers last night are well connected.
We do not wish ill on those who took part in the wedding in contravention of the rules, we merely acknowledge that a rule for one must be a rule for all; and a breach of a rule for one must be treated the same for all or there is no rule.
The late-night news of the police action came after one of the participants in the ceremony, Carlyle Bethel, who is the son of Attorney General Carl Bethel and president of the Free National Movement’s Torchbearers Association, found his voice to apologise.
Mr Bethel posted his apology on social media. “I want to state emphatically that I had no part in planning and executing the wedding,” he said, “I apologise if my judgment to stand in the wedding has caused any disappointment or concern.”
He went on: “This COVID-19 pandemic is very serious. Have seen first-hand some of its devastating affects on lives through my outreach and community service efforts to assist those in need. I believe that if we all do our part and assist others, then we can make it through this together.”
Nice words, but they didn’t come with much action before the apology. For someone who says the pandemic is very serious, there was no sign of a mask in the picture we published yesterday. There were clearly more people than allowed visible – so it’s not as if he did not know the gathering was too large. We do not know if he spoke up at the wedding to warn of the devastating effect on lives such a gathering could bring – but there is no suggestion he did.
That final line, too, about making it through this together will have rung hollow for all those who did not take part in weddings or large gatherings through all this.
It also made an easy target for the Progressive Young Liberals, whose chairman, Duran Saunders, said the event was an example of double standards.
The police action last night at least puts a rest to that. The standards have been upheld, and those in breach of the rules have been cited, including Mr Bethel.
If lockdowns, curfews and emergency powers are to mean anything, they must be consistent – or they’re not worth anything at all. The action by the police last night gives people reassurance that it is not one rule for some, but not for all.
A date has been set for the reopening of Atlantis – and the country could ask for no better news.
December 10 will bring a welcome return for the resort, and Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar was understandably jubilant as he pointed out: “We have Atlantis opening on December 10 and Baha Mar opening on December 17, so everybody just has to band together and make sure that we keep our COVID-19 cases decreasing as they have been.”
Together, indeed – and that is the key. We must keep following the restrictions that stop the virus from spreading – all of us, not just some – to ensure the economy can start to get back on its feet.
If this works, it is good news in many ways. Not just the return of income from visitors, not just the return of staff to work and salaries going back in their pockets, but also the government being able to ease up on monetary assistance for those back in work. That money can go further to help those still out of work. Workers will be able to pay their bills again, too, hopefully easing up the debts at the likes of BPL and the Water and Sewerage Corporation. In short, it will make the wheels of the economy go round again.
But watch the importance of those words about making sure COVID-19 cases keep decreasing. That’s the key – and that will help all of us.