The action of the Government requiring citizens to restrict their activities consequent upon the appearance of the coronavirus in our country has been applauded by many citizens as the only way to get the population to act responsibly.

Unfortunately that is a fact of life in our little slice of paradise: too many of our citizens need to be forced to take responsibility for their own health and consequently make it necessary for the authorities to act.

The position proposed by one of our senior politicians that bars should be allowed to sell alcohol on a takeaway basis during this period is an example of irresponsibility.

Why does this opinion leader in our society consider it necessary for persons to purchase alcohol at a bar?

What is so repugnant in the concept of persons purchasing alcohol at a supermarket, where the buyer is likely to repair to an environment more suitable for the consumption of his/her purchase, instead of remaining in the vicinity of the bar where there is a greater likelihood of congregating? What is the magic of bars for the purchase of alcohol?

The question arises as to whether the unrestricted sale of alcohol (some bars proudly proclaim they open “Any day, any time”) is beneficial to the society at all.

Should the country continue to encourage the abuse of alcohol as it currently does?

It is my view that this is an opportune moment for the State to consider restrictions on the opening hours of bars in an effort to contain the burgeoning increase in alcohol consumption, which poses a far greater threat to society than the coronavirus.

The number of people whose lives and families have been destroyed by the consumption of alcohol far exceeds the number of deaths from the current pandemic.

Alcohol poses an existential threat to societies worldwide and has done so from time immemorial. Can T&t rise to the challenge of creating a society that sets standards for orderliness and responsible behaviour?

That is a question that requires courage and fortitude to address.

Karan Mahabirsingh

via e-mail


It is a well-established truism that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste.

On the basis of and in recognition of this reality, conversations are taking place among various professional and sectoral elites about how not to let this moment pass without taking advantage of it.

The action taken by the Government over the past two or three weeks with respect to control and containment of the COVID-19 virus, which has been in line, by and large, with the action taken by other countries, ought to be supported if we are to weather this virulent epidemic.

The T&T public is generally satisfied with how the government has handled this Covid-19 crisis to date. On the other hand, one senses a reluctance, if not open fear, to express a contrary opinion or suggestion. Why risk being called divisive or inappropriate?

Speaking recently in New York, the state governor, Andrew Cuomo, said: “The stress, the emotion, is just incredible, and rightfully so. It is a situation that is one of the most disruptive that I have seen, and it will change almost everything going forward. It will. That is a fact. It’s not your perception. It’s not just you. It’s all of us and it’s true and it’s real. Nobody can tell you when this is going to end... It will change almost everything.”

Nerves are frayed, tempers are on the edge, patience is dissolving. In any prolonged period of stress, the psychological toll is amplified. Even those who are generally composed—the Unflappables—can slip into a crack.