EDITORIAL: Government’s drastic COVID-19 response welcome

Cayman Islands government coronavirus press conference
Cayman Islands government coronavirus press conference. Photo: Reshma Ragoonath

Over the last three years, we have seen Premier Alden McLaughlin make some wise calls and some not-so-wise calls, but throughout it all, he has kept walking his line.

Love him or hate him, McLaughlin is no stranger to drawing on his leadership skills in times of need. With the COVID-19 global threat, acting fast to protect Cayman – no matter if it may open him up to ridicule from those who think he’s overreacting – remains paramount.

As the emerging, uncharted waters of the coronavirus pandemic stretch out before us, we applaud government for taking action. Yes, as of Monday afternoon, there has only been one confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Cayman Islands, but we’ve seen what has happened when others were too slow to respond.

Some say McLaughlin took too long to stop the cruise ships from coming here. Certainly, that’s up for debate. After all, it was the same Costa Luminosa cruise ship that Jamaica refused to allow to call that ended up docking in Cayman the next day, carrying the man who eventually was confirmed as being the first person in Cayman with COVID-19. But the reality is that decisions made two weeks ago seem like a lifetime ago.

The situation has escalated quickly since then and, in the meantime, the premier has had to think about the thousands of Caymanians and residents involved in the hospitality industry looking for a way to put food on their own tables.

We know the decisions to close the airports for three weeks and to ban cruise ships for 60 days were not made lightly, especially as the reality of unemployment is creeping in and an almost-guaranteed recession is looming on the horizon for these verdant isles.

In the last few days, the world as we know it has changed – borders, including ours, are closing, plus how we live our daily lives and even the way we engage with our friends and loved ones have been altered.

The concept of social distancing a few days ago may have been a joke among friends. Today, it’s among the top measures to keep you safe.

To those who seem to find the time to spread fear and rumours, we ask you to wash your hands frequently instead so we can stop any bouts of unjustified hysteria.

For those who seek to criticise and throw cheap political punches, this is not the time for it.

Politics and pettiness have no place in this climate in which we find ourselves.

We appeal for both government and opposition to come together and get the job done like our lives are depending on it, because this time, they really are.

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