Response to PM’s National Address of Monday, 21st December 2020

We of the National Democratic Congress express our empathy and solitary with the families who are tonight, in dire straits as the impact of disastrous Covid-19 policies impacts them in their living and bedrooms. 

Many of you, especially those in Post Royal, St. Andrew, and The Stones in Grand Anse are having sleepless nights, dealing with the reality that you are Covid-19 positive. We are truly sorry about your plight.

The NDC has already provided much-needed support to some of you, and we pledge to continue to do so, for as many of our Grenadian brothers and sisters as we can. 

Prime Minister Mitchell has addressed the nation twice in the last eight days, and he is yet to apologize, or adequately address the deep crisis in which we find ourselves. Instead, he unfairly holds we the people responsible for his failed policies and demands that the population must get this pandemic under control by our actions. At the same time, he refuses to acknowledge that he caused the situation to be out of control.  Mr. Prime Minister, you ARE the Grinch who stole Christmas. 

The truth is, the highly unpatriotic and reckless behavior of the Prime Minister and his cabinet, has done severe damage to our country and our economy. Their recklessness has put lives and livelihoods at risk and eroded to its core, any trust and confidence workers had in the ability of the Government to keep them safe. They have missed the fundamental truth that without life, there is no livelihood. 

The double standard inherent in the ‘Pure Safe Accommodation’ policy, caused this catastrophic decline in our safety and our physical and mental well-being. In so doing, we the people who have for so long adhered and complied, thereby achieving a relatively safe environment, must now have our Christmas Season curtailed and condemned. Once more, we people must pay the price for this Government’s bad decisions, especially their insistence on treating ordinary citizens differently from others.

Our frontline workers have done everything possible to keep the nation safe and we continue to be proud of their successes. Unfortunately, double standards, favoritism, and lack of transparency by the government have seriously undermined their efforts. 

This incompetence is likely to put these dear frontline workers at even greater risk, because there is no indication that adequate systems are being put in place, in the event that people begin to get sick. There is still no dedicated Covid-19 hospital facility. Every indication is that there isn’t sufficient PPE for our frontline workers. Worse yet, the Prime Minister admitted in the address that it will be a long time before a vaccine is available in Grenada. 

Repeatedly, we see Dr. Mitchell and his administration put money before people. Even now, in an irrational way, a curfew has been imposed.  There is a stubborn over-reliance on tourism at the expense of agriculture, entrepreneurship, and technology. Covid19 has taught us that we simply cannot continue to rely solely on tourism for our survival.

The present pandemic is a public health emergency that the nation has never faced before. Now more than ever, the nation is in need of collaboration and sharing of information to formulate an effective and comprehensive strategy to control the spread. The Government must lead in this regard and with the kind of mutual respect and transparency that will foster true togetherness.

It is time for the government to pursue coherent, proactive policies and strategies to beat back this pandemic. Open, truthful, and transparent sharing of information with the public is crucial to rebuilding public trust and confidence,

The abrupt declaration of a curfew will no doubt create many inconveniences for all of us, especially in this festive season. Despite the inconveniences that will accompany the curfew, NDC reminds you that you must do your part in keeping yourself and those around you, safe and healthy. As we await the availability of a vaccine, the NDC is encouraging all Grenadians to focus on strengthening your immune system to help fight the virus. Eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible.  And as far as possible, grow what you eat and eat what you grow. 

The NDC urges the government to consider the following: 

  1. Set up an inter-disciplinary, broad-based panel to address both the public health and humanitarian crises brought on by Covid-19.

  2. Be more truthful and transparent with sharing data. 

  3. Increase public awareness and education on the value and importance of practicing preventive measures. A national effort must be made to provide adequate masks and sanitizing products to those most challenged.

  4. Additionally, physical distancing norms need to be practiced to slow down the spread of infection. 

  5. We are a small population. Therefore, serious efforts should be made to test as many people as possible. The Government needs to support free testing. 

  6. Workers on the frontline, especially the healthcare workers, must have adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). There should be ongoing training to ensure that we have enough healthcare workers and that they are not fatigued. 

The virus does not know the difference between night and day, 8:00 am and 8:00 pm. So we encourage everyone to limit their movements as much as possible. In this festive season, sadly, many of us will not be able to share physical moments with our loved ones. Let us try to use available technologies to stay in touch. We encourage younger members of the family to help the older ones connect using technology. 

As a people, we must continue to work together. To fight and win against this pandemic. And while the people work together, we urge the government to work in our interest, not in the interest of the privileged few. 

Our people deserve this much. And as always, the NDC stands willing to assist.