COVID-19 & THE GOVERNMENTAL RESPONSE

I am pretty sure that I do not need to inform anyone of the current predicament we all find ourselves in. So this will not be one of those articles that focus on the general facts of our situation. Instead, I would like this to be an opinion piece. My opinion piece. An article in which we will have a look at one specific part of COVID-19 which I believe affects us all. As mere mortals, our ability to change anything in the current climate is relatively zero to no chance. So, we find ourselves, once again, blindly in the hands of so called “greater mortals”.

These greater mortals I refer to for the most part are our elected officials, members of parliament, cabinet and of course the office of the Prime Minister and the man himself. I would add to into this group of “greater mortals”, blue chip corporate giants of which we have fed their machine for a number of years. The following is my assessment of the “greater mortals” response to the pandemic COVID-19, where I believe they have done well as well as where I think they have fallen short. The next 800 words or so will focus solely on this topic.

I always feel better as a writer when I start off by focusing on the positive. It is my opinion that as a society we should always try our utmost to focus positively on any situation. Don’t let me confuse you, if you know me you will have gathered that this is not usually my natural way. However, I am far better at preaching than practicing. So getting to it, my first question. Has the Government response to COVID-19 been a positive one?

Where the decisions get made… but are they good or bad decisions?

In my opinion, from the health perspective I agree with pretty much all the decisions that have been made thus far. Also, I acknowledge, with admiration, the decisiveness nature with which they have done this. From shutting down schools, to closing all non-essential work places or retail outlets. The early implementation of mandatory quarantine for all returning travelers. Stopping flights, closing borders, in my honest opinion, they have been pretty much spot on thus far.

Also, I admire the strategy they have used for said implementations. They had a plan, a timeline of so called DEFCON style strategic levels. Which when triggered would take us into a new level of virus defense. (sorry for the US military reference here, I just find it one of the coolest sayings there is and I always wanted to use it). And with each developing situation I have firmly agreed with the measures that have been and continue to be taken.

I have been relatively impressed by the daily updates from both the Health ministry and the office of the Prime Minister. Giving out just about the right amount of information without sending the country into a total meltdown or panic. The information provided has been informative and carefully conveyed. Whilst I am not hugely in favour of politicians keeping information from us overall, in certain situations I believe it makes a lot of sense. Credit where credit is due, I think they have handled the above with aplomb.

Reality tells us however that dealing with the health aspect is truly only half of this story. There is also the small matter of economics. How it affects businesses, but in my more selfish case, how it is affecting me, the little guy. We are all suffering at the moment. I can tell you that as of today I have absolutely no income coming in. All my business interests have come to a monetary standstill. Thankfully, my wife is still employed and able to continue working from home. So my question to you is how do you think the government has responded to these particular challenges?

The economy in free fall. Time to tap into those “rainy day” reserves? We all know they exist.

It is in this aspect, in my very humble opinion where financially speaking our government has been dragging it’s heals. Sure, the majority of us are so far safe, healthy. But most of us are really and truly in the dark regarding what the next few months will mean for us financially. Who should take responsibility for this? Is it the Government, who have been collecting all our varying forms of taxes all these years? Or is that completely naive of me to say and am I economically ignorant? Is it the companies and employers who have been making large amounts of money off our hard work and custom for the longest of time? Who should bear the responsibility? I am confused.

What I know for sure at this very moment of writing is this. So far, I have not been given any guidelines on how I may get some governmental help financially in the short term. This maybe coming in a matter of hours or days, but at the time of writing I have no clarity. Another question, when they do finally offer assistance, will it be sufficient to survive the storm? Currently I have no idea what or when my next financial incoming is going to be. I could probably survive a few months, but what if it drags on longer? I will be well and truly up against it.

This is a major concern for me as I am sure it will be for many of you reading this. I am sure some help is coming, but I remain pessimistic as to the level of help that will be offered. My advice to our “greater mortals” in the odd chance that somehow one of them reads this message, is to take that number you have in your head right now, and triple it. As citizens of this nation we have always stood together. In the most part behind our governments too, both in good and bad times. Now, is the time for our government to show unequivocally that when in the middle of a crisis in return they have our backs. Don’t allow us to feel alone or isolated.

I wonder what is being discussed way up in the ivory towers?

Whilst not the point of this article, I also have a message to the corporate giants of this island. Those who have also enjoyed the huge benefits of our custom over the years. Where is your assistance in this time of great need? Again, at this time of writing, I have not received one single email telling me how any of the companies that I have paid money to loyally over many, many years are going to reward me for my custom in these drastic economic times. NOT ONE.

Where are the banks, power supplier, telephony companies, cable and internet service providers, private schools? Where are you? I am not asking for a hand out here, just a hand. I have paid hundreds of thousands to you over the years, without question and without fail. Now that the chips are down, where are you for me? Is it so difficult to take the lead and find a solution that may help your loyal customers in the short term? Is this such an outrageous idea? Maybe I am being sensitive and selfish because of my own situation and the pressure I find myself under. However, I feel that I (we) deserve some kind of reward for helping to make them greater mortals in the first place.

I cannot hide the truth. In many aspects of life at this moment in time I feel alone. Many whom I have been loyal too have abandoned me with little more than a passing thought. Is it what I deserve? Is it what we deserve? This is a moment in the history of mankind that will define us. So the questions remains, how will we be defined?

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