IN Thursday’s Tribune, our columnist, Front Porch Simon paid tribute to the “expert, clear and steady leadership” provided by Dr Merceline Dahl-Regis as he hailed her as his person of the year.
As the New Year ticked in, so it was revealed that her efforts in the fight against COVID-19 have been recognised by Queen Elizabeth, giving her the top honour in the list of Bahamians to be named in the New Year’s Honours list.
Dr Dahl-Regis has been named a Companion of the Most Excellent Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (CMG) for her services to public and community health.
Dr Dahl-Regis might not have expected to make such a public return to the stage at this time last year. But as COVID-19 spread, so her country called on her – and the honour is a reward for the efforts she has put in as a consultant during this, one of the worst times our country has ever endured.
At first, she led the COVID-19 task force, later serving as a consultant to the Office of the Prime Minister. She had a hand in many areas of the response, including the contact tracing and testing.
There were times when the Press might have sought more from her at briefings, but one thing is true – there was always a clear and steady message while she was at the helm about measures people could take to stay healthy and avoid catching COVID-19.
The course The Bahamas has charted has not always been true, and mistakes have perhaps been made along the way, but we have been better for having Dr Dahl-Regis at our side.
There are few nations the world over who have not put a foot wrong – but it’s not how you stumble, it’s how you pick up and carry on. We now, thankfully, have fairly low numbers of cases at present, and that is down to the efforts of medics, experts – and Dr Dahl-Regis.
It is thanks, too, to the efforts of Bahamians the nation over in abiding by advice on how to protect ourselves and those we love by keeping our distance, washing hands and wearing masks.
This journey is far from over – and there is a risk of a new, more infectious strain too as we wait for vaccinations.
Just as Dr Dahl-Regis has done us proud, and received her recognition accordingly, let us now do her proud, and keep doing all we can to keep those numbers low.
Well done, Dr Dahl-Regis.
The price of life
Sometimes, it seems as if we treat life too cheaply.
Last Monday, a boat set off from Bimini heading to Florida. It never made it. The US Coast Guard has now suspended its search for a boat thought to have 20 people on board.
As you can read in today’s Tribune, prayers were sent to the families of the missing by a Coast Guard captain. Notably absent is any comment from our nation’s leadership.
No call for prayers from our religious leaders, no comment from our political leaders. Twenty people gone, and the silence is deafening.
An operations manager from BASRA suggested that this may have been a people smuggling operation – but whoever the people on the boat were, we should still mourn their loss. We should still acknowledge the weight of the loss of 20 people. We should grieve, pray – and then redouble our efforts to stop human smuggling operations.
Cases such as this should not just be dismissed and forgotten. But will it? Will we see our leadership speak up? We shall see.
The price of human life should not depend on who the person is or where they came from, on what it says in their passport or whether they have the appropriate documentation.
Twenty people are likely dead. We should pray for those lost souls – and we should act to prevent losing more.