Column: Are We In A Better Position Now?

March 30, 2021

[Column written by MP Michael Dunkley]

As we head towards the Good Friday and Easter Holiday, a big holiday for all of us, one with so much tradition and meaning, we reflect on the current spike and alarming uptick on positive Covid cases.

It has now been over a year since the pandemic altered our lives so drastically. Our health is challenged, jobs have been lost, many families struggle, and our economy, poor before Covid, is on life support. We have learned lot about the virus and know what we each must do to protect ourselves. Yet, we find ourselves once again in the middle of a spike with new restrictions imposed and must ask, “Are we in a better position now than in March 2020?”

Last Saturday the Government announced further restrictions which amongst them mandated retail and grocery stores open with 20% occupancy, schools and camps closed, working from home mandatory where possible, churches closed to congregants, no indoor dining at restaurants, gyms and all indoor recreational spaces closed.

Government has often stated how well we have done through Covid but now with this spike our positive cases per capita has now risen above the world average. Premier Burt has been quoted as saying there are more positive cases because we are testing more and casting a wide net [I seem to recall a former President to our west stating the same thing much to the chagrin of many] but the fact is we have more positive cases because now we have community spread and much of the good work of rule-abiding citizens has been damaged. Despite the commendable efforts to distribute vaccines and encourage social distancing, We now must start to rebuild again.

In addition, it appears this current spike has caught the government off guard with an alarming rise in positive cases coupled with frequent changes in restrictions as the numbers rise.

Line chart showing the active cases as of last night, which now stand at 396

active cases march 29 2021, new record high covid

While we must do all we can to beat Covid, and there is a delicate balance with every decision during a massive spike in positive cases, the current restrictions are another blow to many employees, businesses and the economy.

Businesses that have followed Covid restrictions and requirements, and have seemingly not contributed to the community transmission, have been once again dealt a major blow to their operations. Many questions are asked…Why were little or no details on an unemployment benefit for those now impacted shared at the time the restrictions were announced? Why have those that have breached regulations not been held accountable for putting our community at risk? Why, since retail and grocery are allowed to open at 20% of capacity, can’t those not allowed to conduct indoor business also have safe suitable indoor capacity?

So I ask, once again, are we better off now than we were a year ago? Are local businesses, schools, and households any better off than they were when this terrible virus first struck our Island?

Unfortunately, it seems this government has adopted the practice of evading difficult topics and avoiding direct responses to simple questions. For instance, the Department of Corrections has thus far failed to provide any clarity on the extent to which Covid has impacted inmates. Let’s all hope government changes course soon, as transparency and accountability are essential to getting this virus under control.

Moving forward, I hope government will provide more detail on the specific hot spots that contributed to this current massive spike and the tightened restrictions, how long they envision them lasting and information on how those out of work through no fault of their own can be supported through this crisis.

Put simply, the people have a right to know.

- Michael Dunkley


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Comments (8)

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  1. Unbelievable says:

    Now I hope everyone who voted PLP in 2020 gets to see that that election was a power grab. One man and his party shouldn’t have that much power. It’s not how a democracy should work but we now live with a new oligarchy.

    Maybe Eva Hodgson was right after all when she said that the two party system doesn’t work anymore.

    • Imjustsaying says:

      And Burt is going all out using this pandemic to get re-elected

      • Unbelievable says:

        Uh hello….he was re-elected last October. You must be one of them “ woke” people.

  2. dunn juice says:

    Well said sir, also sounds similar to when the OBA hosted Americas cup the plp thought it was crazy trying to solicit the mega yachts. Check them out now.

  3. Here we go again says:

    I understand everything MP Michael Dunkley said, however, he didn’t offer any suggestions or what he or his party would do differently. Don’t come bashing me saying I’m a PLP supporter cause I voted for neither party. If one finds fault, they should offer suggestions. This isn’t about politics now it’s about health of Bermudians and our guest workers.

  4. Milkman says:

    Well we all know how well your are doing Mr. D! Just keep on selling them milk cartons and juices and you will continue to smash all of us of price! How about giving all of the tenants in your apartments a Holiday?

  5. Really says:

    This whole column is a complete waste of time, Dunkley. “Are we better off than we were a year ago”? Stupid! Is any country better off than a year ago? Premier Burt is not God, although he may think so. He can only make decisions based on the recommendations of the health experts. Bermuda, like all governments around the world , is between a rock and a hard place, simply trying as best it can to keep the entire community at large safe and afloat. This UK variant has proven to be far more transmissible, and watch out if the Brazilian variant lands on our shores.

    I just want to say that I applaud the work of the young Bermudians ( and old) that I see on the front lines of testing, the call center and vaccinations. They have been been extremely professional and deserve to be recognized. Thank you to the entire health team!! You are doing an outstanding job!