Column: We Need To Protect The Vulnerable

March 24, 2020 | 1 Comment

[Opinion column written by Shadow Minister of National Security Ben Smith]

This is the time for the community to pull together. We must think of – and help – the vulnerable, the sick, the elderly and all those who will be most impacted by this crisis.

We must think of our front facing workers who will be called upon to put themselves in harm’s way – our police and firefighters, the health workers who we will depend on when the sickness escalates, as it surely will, customs officers, the prison officers who will maintain our prison facilities while knowing the potential risks, the Regiment and those keeping our essential services going.

To all those people: thank you in advance for your dedication and selflessness and for all the hard work that will be necessary to get our community through this crisis over the coming weeks and months.

As well as the sick and elderly, there is another vulnerable group – our small to medium sized business which employ thousands of Bermudians. They were suffering prior to this crisis and could collapse under the strain being imposed by the necessary drastic measures to stop the virus spreading.

We are already seeing the right kind of behavior from many of our larger businesses such as Belco and the communication companies. The banks are stepping up and some landlords are helping tenants who may not be able to work, or small businesses who will be without revenue.

But we cannot have landlords with no mortgages left demanding full rents with the hope that Government will step in to help pay. Small to medium sized business deserve landlords’ support so they can weather the storm and help their workers to survive. People with privileges and deep pockets should help – as I said, this is the time for the community to pull together.

Pull together we must. This is not an opportunity to break the rules – break the law – and create even more anxiety. We can’t have an increase in crime because people see the opportunity with businesses closed, offices shuttered or homes empty because people have left to support loved ones elsewhere.

There are some in our community who never truly embrace the idea that we are all in this together and this, almost like never before, is the time to help family, friends and neighbours. Not selfishly disrupt.

A huge thank you to all that have already heard the call to action but to the others that think it is business as usual please have this be the wake-up call: we need to be able to depend on one another, we are all in this together.

- Ben Smith

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  1. Katerina Smith says:

    Well said.

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