Address to the Nation by Governor-General Dame Sandra Mason, GCMG, D.A., Q.C.

Governor-General Dame Sandra Mason, GCMG, D.A., Q.C. addresses the Nation on the recently enacted Emergency Management (COVID-19) Order 2020 amendment, which she has signed into law in the interest of Public Health and Safety.

Posted by Barbados Government Information Service on Sunday, March 29, 2020
Address to the Nation by Governor-General Dame Sandra Mason, GCMG, D.A., Q.C.

As this country intensifies its efforts to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor General Dame Sandra Mason is urging Barbadians to obey the 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. curfew put in place by Government.

In an address to the nation tonight, Dame Sandra said it was the responsibility of every Barbadian to cooperate with Government and designated authorities to ensure Barbados did not become like the developed world, with overburdened health systems.

“Barbados is as prepared and as ready to fight this disease as it could possibly be.  Under the Prime Minister’s direction, Members of the Cabinet, the COVID-19 Czar, the Chief Medical Officer, other health professionals, ancillary services and government teams, have been working tirelessly on our behalf.

“We must comply with their instructions, guidance and advice. Keep physical distances from others and observe strict sanitary practices.  Obey the law.  Keep the curfew.  Stay indoors. To do otherwise, would be to undermine their hard work, and put ourselves and our families in jeopardy ….  By our actions, let us keep our country safe and protected,” she urged.

The Governor General noted that the country, like the world, was in troubled and uncharted waters.  Dealing with the unknown, she said, makes citizens uncertain, anxious and fearful, and encouraged persons not to let such feelings overwhelm or paralyze them.  She indicated that this nation had faced difficult circumstances and global crises in the past and doing so made Barbadians stronger.

“COVID-19 is pushing us to once again value human life, companionship, friends, relatives, neighbours, the sense of community and quiet time; to be grateful for what we have.  Barbadians are compassionate, resilient, strong and tenacious,” she stated.

Dame Sandra said this was a time for caring and sharing as there would be hardship for many Barbadians.  She underscored, therefore, the importance of people keeping the Bajan spirit alive of looking out for, and sharing with each other.

Governor General Dame Sandra Mason. (FP)

“In it, lies our past success and our current survival …. We must, therefore, ensure that we make the difference for those who are in need; for the old, for the vulnerable, and for the physically or mentally challenged.  This is not a time for profiteering, panic buying, or hoarding as this will prevent other Barbadians from getting necessary supplies.  We are better than that.  The cruelty of the times can only be combatted with kindness to each other,” she insisted.

Human beings, she pointed out, were social creatures and craved companionship and conversation.  She suggested that staying inside would be difficult, but stressed it was the only way to “flatten the curve” and defeat the spread of the disease.

Dame Sandra said: “We must now practise social distancing while still maintaining social interaction.  During this time at home, we can utilize the technology to reconnect with friends or relatives whom we have not seen or spoken to for a long time. We can play games or learn new skills.  International universities are offering free online classes; famous artistes are giving online concerts; and places of worship are open online.  We can also use this period to be productive, creative and innovative.”

She encouraged Barbadians to keep Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, who underwent a successful medical procedure this weekend, in their prayers.  She proffered the view that Ms. Mottley has demonstrated “exemplary and surefooted leadership” in this situation.

In addition, Dame Sandra thanked all Barbadians working on the front lines of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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