AZP News

Commentary: The Things Fear Makes Us Do

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By Alicia Chamely


FEAR makes people do dumb things.

For example, I have a paralyzing phobia of birds, especially medium to large ones.

One day a rogue parrot flew into my house, screeching and generally creating an uncomfortable atmosphere of fear and chaos.

So what did home girl do? Scaredy-cat tucked and rolled her butt into the bathroom and locked the door.
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As I exhaled a breath of relief knowing I was safe from that green winged demon, it hit me; Alicia you left your poor innocent children out there to be possibly pecked to death by a winged rat. That’s right in a moment of panic and fear; mother of the year here left her then two and four year olds to fend for themselves.

Obviously they were alright, my husband had the situation under control, but mannn did I feel guilty. Got scared, temporarily lost my ability to think logically and abandoned my precious little fruits of the womb.
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avid Bratt, renowned pediatrician and guardian of common sense, said, “Fear makes us do illogical things.”  Dr Bratt was commenting on the current situation we find ourselves in as we wade through a seemingly never ending pandemic.

While he commended the government’s early response and measures taken when the virus first landed in T&T, he said unfortunately the powers that be continue to be guided by fear and as such are making some questionable moves.

I’ll be the first to admit when our first case of Covid-19 was confirmed on March 13, like many other Trinbagonians, I went into panic mode.

In March the virus was still somewhat of a mystery, scientists were still trying to figure it out and we were bombarded with images of dead bodies stacking up in Italy and NYC.
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Our only comfort was that for once, our government seemed to be acting proactively. Our borders were closed, public areas were closed, masks were encouraged and anyone having contracted the virus was swiftly quarantined. It worked, we felt a little safer and at the time the sacrifices we had to make were easy to swallow.

But here we are in October, battling our second wave and despite having a little more knowledge of the virus we are stuck in a system of fear rather than one of transition.

Rather than prepare for life to move forward, our Government continues to make puzzling decisions in its efforts to placate the population, who has now become weary of the continuous restrictions.

An example of what Dr Bratt means by “illogical” was the government’s announcement that Buccoo Reef and Caroni Swamp boat tours could now continue.

Erm, let me get this straight, we cannot go to the beach and responsibly space ourselves out because it’s dangerous, but we can sit in relatively uncomfortable closeness with others, on a boat, cruising over a reef or through a swamp?

I am not sure any of our parliamentarians have actually been on either of these tours; if they had they would know social spacing isn’t exactly the easiest on glass bottom boats or swamp navigating pirogues.

I mean I understand the health restrictions have pretty much annihilated tourism, but if you trust people enough to behave responsibly on a boat tour, you can also trust them to behave responsibly on the beach or at a river.

I am also quite confused as to why, after all this time, we cannot bring our citizens back home…even the ones who rolled out on the heels of our borders being closed thinking “dis closed borders ting eh go last long.”

Enough is enough. Our people have become refugees and its hella embarrassing when the issue of abandoned Trinbagonian nationals is being discussed in British parliament.
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Not everyone has the wallet depth to charter a private plane, so the government needs to get its act together, work with Caribbean Airlines and figure out how to get everyone home.

Covid-19 is not going anywhere any time soon and we need to learn to adapt. We need to get back on track to functioning as normally as possible.

The closure of MovieTowne Chaguanas this week showed us that not even the big boys were immune from the economic ramifications of Covid-19 with its accompanied social restrictions.

Our economy cannot handle much more. Not a day goes by without us seeing a news post about a family being evicted or asking for help financially because they have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. No quick fix $1,200 grant can be expected to hold people up any longer.
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What needs to happen is that we need a comprehensive plan to reopen slowly.

According to both Dr Bratt and Dr Joel Teelucksingh, the authorities need to look into areas where transmission is most probable and devise a plan of action, while easing up areas and activities where transmission is not as high or probable.

We need to get back to some semblance of normalcy. Mass restrictions are no longer needed at this point. What is needed is increased testing and smarter policies that allow for the resumption of life. As Dr Bratt said we need to treat the virus with less fear and more respect, only then can we begin to pave a way forward.

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