Covid-19 is no respecter of colour, class, income, age, gender, the part of the country one lives, works, goes for leisure or wherever in the world one comes from to be in Trinidad and Tobago at this time. Additionally, it shows no reverence for any holiday or event, be it a public holiday, anniversary, birthday, funeral or wedding. All are subject to its morbid influence. There is also no law that defers to colour, ethnicity, class or income and certainly not in Trinidad and Tobago.
Unfortunately, there are some amongst us who believe that they are exempt from Covid-19 and “party to the fullest” without any consideration to the pain and suffering of those who have the virus and the families of those who have died. Such an attitude has probably redefined the meaning of selfishness, prefacing it by an unspoken adjective. Compounding such behaviour is the curious interpretation of the laws that seeks to address the pandemic. It seems as if colour, class, income and geographic location influence interpretation of the relevant laws. Is it any wonder then, that reposing confidence in those who are charged with the responsibility of enforcing laws has angered the majority of the population owing to the ambivalent manner in which the laws have been interpreted to favour particular entities?
The livelihoods of so many people and businesses are at risk during this pandemic, requiring a concerted effort by all to contain its spread so that there can be a return to normalcy, however it is defined, in our lives and yet selfishness and favouritism seem of greater importance than protecting lives. This is pure disdain for the many resources, primarily in healthcare, that are stretched to the limit in trying to protect lives and manage the current situation.
Nine months, since discovery in December 2019 and becoming pandemic in January this year, the world has been grappling with a most unusual situation regarding the Covid-19 virus, which has affected close to 29 million people and claimed almost a million lives, over 50 of which are in Trinidad and Tobago; yet some irresponsible persons totally ignore this fact and believe that they are immune with nary a care or thought for all others. “Adding salt to the wound” is the absence of voices from churches, temples, mosques and other religious organisations and entities.
The Law Association, a body charged with the responsibility of upholding the Constitution and the rule of law, is also very silent regarding the foolish behaviour of some persons, considering that a war is being waged between life and death where Covid-19 is concerned. Where is its voice when some of its members, whether practising, honorary or not, argue for the rights and freedoms of persons who clearly are not only testing the system but choose to display rank selfishness rather than good sense? Where is the advice to the authorities to assist, if not to protect, as best as possible, the interests of the population?
Rather than “puffing one’s chest” and declaring “we have won”, based on a High Court decision, the focus needs to be on managing the health of all in Trinidad and Tobago and the unambiguous interpretation of the relevant laws. Interpretation based on colour, class, ethnicity and area in which one resides will foment continued distrust in the Police Service, the judiciary and the Government so it is imperative that everyone: people, legal authorities and Government, be “on the same page” in the fight against the pandemic.