Barbadians are being called on to practise good hygiene and protect themselves from the coronavirus, COVID-19.
This call has come from Leader of the Opposition, Bishop Joseph Atherley, and President of the Democratic Labour Party, Verla De Peiza, who urged Barbadians not to be complacent.
Their comments were made on Tuesday afternoon during an address to the nation, which was led by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, who had earlier held a near six-hour meeting with the Social Partnership to discuss the national preparedness for COVID-19.
Bishop Atherley told those present: “Perhaps our normal and natural disposition is to think of self – to be self-absorbed, to be self-focused. But here is a clear instance in which we … don’t need to seek only to protect ourselves, but by our actions and what we do, seek to protect the health and well-being of others.”
He noted that the meeting to discuss the national preparedness for COVID-19 was useful, enlightening and reassuring. He proffered the view that whether Barbados had a case of the virus or not, the impact would still be significant.
“This crisis is still a major event for us because the Barbados economy and our national well-being [are] seriously under threat as a result of this, if we observe what is already happening in the world. Our trade connectivity, our reliance on tourism, the tough economic times we are already facing, even before this crisis, it creates almost a perfect storm for us, and Barbadians have really got to respond to this with full spirit and with prudence.
“And, I want to publicly applaud the Government … the Prime Minister for taking the lead in so doing; … getting the work of preparation done to ensure that we are in a position that we understand the threat and … how we can best respond to the threat,” Bishop Atherley stated.
Meanwhile, Ms. De Peiza encouraged Barbadians to share information but not misinformation, within the community. She stressed that all citizens must do what is necessary, not only in terms of health but also economically, to move this country to the next stage.
“This is a hiccup in our development and it is not one that we had any makings of. This is an international issue that has a national impact and therefore each and every one of us is called upon to play a part ….
“I know that as Barbadians because we tend to have our political colours shown in season, that now it is out of season, that we will wear our national colours … and we will do all that we are called upon to do and follow our health directives, as closely as possible. It is enough of a political statement to have all of us here present and speaking to you today and that underscores the importance of the initiatives that are being taken on behalf of us,” she emphasized.
Ms. De Peiza said she would work with the Prime Minister and those involved to ensure Barbados comes out of the COVID-19 situation with as little bruises as possible.