JUST when it seems the government is fresh out of ideas – along comes the private sector.
Well done to the Live with COVID Coalition for thinking out of the box to come up with a new approach to how we can navigate these times in which we find ourselves.
Let’s think about this for a moment – the government wants to introduce a rapid testing regime for visitors to try and reduce the chances of people with COVID-19 going undetected.
Well, the coalition has gone one better and asked why not apply that to the rest of our daily lives?
By the end of next week, 70,000 such testing kits will be in The Bahamas with the goal of protecting staff and customers more thoroughly.
Here’s the idea – you put in place rules in the workplace that suit the industry you’re operating in. That might be a questionnaire for example for staff at the start of the day. If anything raises a concern, then boom, here’s a kit you can use and get a result in 15 minutes. If it signifies a possible positive result, off you go for further testing, but if you don’t then you can get on with the day.
Some may raise their hands in caution and ask about the reliability of such kits – but bear in mind, they are an alternative to the present situation, where no kit is available in the same situation.
This supplements what we are doing already – the masks, the distancing, the washing of hands and so on. It builds on the defences we’ve got and makes sure we have a better chance of catching cases before they go on to affect anyone else in the workplace.
You only have to see the seemingly daily reports of offices being closed down for cleaning to realise how widespread an impact we are already experiencing – and this could help catch those cases before workers find themselves alongside someone with a positive case.
With the carrot goes the stick – with the coalition suggesting that people found to be in breach of quarantine should be locked up in purpose-built facilities if they can’t be trusted to follow the rules on their own.
Super Value president Rupert Roberts, for example, noted that his company had been forced to send home employees who should have been quarantining after finding they had returned to work.
While Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has hinted at increased lockdowns, that seems to be the only major tool the government is using. Lock it down, open it up, lock it down, open it up. We can’t keep veering between those two states, especially as we find ourselves with dozens of cases still mounting up.
Dr Minnis called for ideas – well, here’s a good one, and about time we found better solutions. This is an extra layer of defence against a virus that has ravaged people’s health and the nation’s economy.
Let’s face it, we’ve said the country is going to be opened up as this month progresses – and the government’s purse is empty enough that it’s not going to want to change course on that. If that’s the case, then this helps to do that more safely.
Well done, all involved in the coalition. More ideas like these are what we need to open The Bahamas safely.
The Prime Minister promised he would reveal to the country when he addresses Parliament today what his next steps will be. Will he be as innovative as the coalition in finding solutions? Or will it be back to the same old, same old? We will await and see.
Decide over marijuana
What on Earth is taking so long over the decision to legalise marijuana?
PLP leader Philip ‘Brave’ Davis is the latest to wonder publicly why there is so much thumb twiddling and not enough decision making.
This process has been dogged by delays. As long ago as September 2018, Bishop Simeon Hall was complaining about the slow motion of the commission. Still moving at the speed of molasses, the commission announced its work was due to resume in August with its co-chair admitting it would be challenging to fully decriminalise the substance in two years. Probably on the other side of an election, then.
We would not spare Mr Davis too much either – as much as he says the matter should have already been addressed, and he’s right there, his own party didn’t do anything about it when they were in office when he was Deputy Prime Minister.
The co-chair of the commission said it paused because of the pandemic until the time was right to reconvene. Apparently, the rest of us had to get by with video conference calls but that was too much for the commission.
Make a decision, one way or the other. If the decision is yes to decriminalisation, then get it done, and see how to manage the economic benefits that flow from that at a time when the economy surely needs a boost. If the decision is no, then stop this endless kicking the can down the road.
If anyone wants to wait any longer, then they’re not taking this seriously – and nor should we take them seriously either.