Column: ‘Situation Could Have Been Avoided’

April 19, 2021 | 20 Comments

vic ball OBA 2015[Opinion column written by Vic Ball]

How can you be sitting there telling me that you care, when every time I look around, the people are suffering in every way, everywhere. Bob Marley

We all feel it. There is a high level of fear, anxiety, concern and trepidation in our country. What puzzles me is why Bermudians are not angry, when they have so many reasons to be. Instead, we are complacent while staring at personal and national ruin with a level of resignation.

Our leadership seems to have convinced us that no matter how catastrophic everything looks all around us and on the horizon, this is the best Bermuda we can have.

“Our Present Situation Could Have And Should Have Been Avoided”

The truth is that our present situation could have and should have been avoided. Had our Premier and Cabinet made the correct decisions, life would have been so much different today. Allow me to tease out this thought and we can determine if our present leadership has failed time and again when decisive action is required.

By the summer of 2020, Bermuda had Covid under control. The PLP took credit for following the global script. If we remember, planes were grounded and cruise ships were docked, there was no opportunity for the virus to get here once we became Covid free. However, since then, when Bermuda needed to set out its own plan to open the country up and move forward, it has not been going well for us.

Every country had to choose the strategy that would work best for them. Will we lockdown or not, to what extent should testing be performed and how long will travelers have to quarantine before being allowed to enter our Covid free bubble? These are some of the decisions that had to be made by our leadership without a global script.

The decisions to these questions and others have resulted in our country being on lockdown for a third time in one year. Bermudians, businesses, our national economy and confidence in our country is in the worst state in my memory. Even the recent decision to close the island within 48 hours produced long lines and panic buying. We are hopeful that these last-minute social interactions do not show up as positive case and prove to be another poor decision by our leadership.

Bermudians should be angry because none of this was necessary. Our country has everything needed to be a jurisdiction where we could have controlled this virus. We should have been boasting to the world that we have little to no Covid transmissions. We should have been on the global map as an oasis of beauty, with friendly people and open for investment and visitors. Bermudians should be going to bed at night knowing that our future is safe and our collective interest is in the capable hands of our political leadership.

Premier Burt and his team seem to have us convinced that having our homes devalued, losing our jobs, businesses closing, high unemployment, shutdowns and poor leadership is the best we can hope for.

Let us review what is going on in other countries around the world for comparison. Wuhan, the place where this all started, is fully open with no masks or social restriction. Taiwan, New Zealand, Iceland, Singapore and Vietnam are among the top jurisdictions for their handling of Covid regarding positive cases compared with deaths. Bermuda, as of April 18th, has had 2123 positive cases and 18 deaths in our population of 62,278.

Singapore has had 60,808 positive cases and 30 deaths in their population of 5.69M people. If they were doing as poorly as Bermuda, they would have 193,967 positive cases and 1645 deaths when compared with our population size. We are isolated like New Zealand and Taiwan except they have many airports to allow entry and Bermuda only has one. Why are we at level four which advises tourists not to come to Bermuda?

If we look at Cayman, which is similar to us in size, isolation and population they have 525 cases and 2 deaths. I shared my research of Cayman with a Cabinet Minister in 2020 and the reasons for their success, to no avail. In Cayman, they do not social distance, they do not wear masks, their crowd size is 500 people indoors and 1000 people outdoors. They had one lockdown in the beginning and have made great decisions to keep their economy open. Why are we currently on lockdown when other countries are doing so well? Poor leadership and poor decisions have resulted in our country being on the precipice of social and economic ruin.

“Decision To Open Our Country Without A Mandatory 14-day Quarantine For All Travelers”

The decision to open our country without a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all travelers, the gold standard, is a primary reason why we are in our current crisis. Travelers are able to be out in the community after a negative pre arrival test and a negative arrival test which could come as soon as 24 hours after leaving the airport. If they test positive on day 4, 8 or 14 how many people have they been in contact with in the interim? I reject that people socializing are to blame fully when it is political leadership that provide the rules that allow people to socialize during those initial 14 days.

The Premier boasts that we have a high number of tests being performed. However, other jurisdictions that are doing much better than us only test people with symptoms. Is this because they believe, like our Premier, that “low level” positive cases do not have Covid?

“One Year Later With No End In Sight”

Bermuda, let’s face reality. The PLP has provided poor leadership of our country to date. Our constitutional rights and freedoms were suspended for two weeks to “flatten the curve” and here we are one year later with no end in sight. We gave them enormous powers to solve this dilemma but they have failed. However, it appears they enjoy having this level of control over us while we sit by and quietly watch them fail Bermuda and Bermudians.

This is why our complacency is so dangerous. It concerns me that we keep quiet and allow the PLP to fail us with disastrous, devastating results. The PLP have proven that if they are left to their own devices, they will lead us further down the path of death and economic ruin.

I am sounding the alarm again that Bermudians need to demand the PLP make the best decisions for our future and change direction away from the public health and fiscal cliff. If we remain complacent and continue to bury our heads in the sand, we will inevitably go over the cliff with irreversible, catastrophic consequences for all of us.

- Vic Ball

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Comments (20)

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  1. Sandra says:

    This is a fantastic article. WAKE UP AND STAND UP BERMUDA!!!

  2. Micro says:

    Hits on all the points so many around me ask every day. A 14 day quarantine under watch needs to be mandatory. It’s long been clear persons can’t quarantine and properly isolate at home. False negatives are real and asymptomatic persons are in the community spreading the virus.

  3. Comfortably numb says:

    Just look at the disdain displayed weekly by Mr Burt and Ms Wilson when they show up late for their news conference while Bermuda waits to hear their plans: no apology, no reason given as if they have the right to show up late every single week. Ms Wilson has a ‘crib’ sheet binder thick enough to choke a horse supplied by the Health Department yet her standard reply to queries is ‘ I don’t have that information in front of me’. Mr Burt fails to answer any difficult question and counters with ‘But what I can tell you..’ . interspersed with more ‘ums’ and ‘errs’ than Randy Horton ever managed.
    Why people have any faith in this pair is beyond me.

    • Wow says:

      Even the diehard loyalists are starting to lose faith. I predict his downfall soon. Perhaps next Sunday nights’ “state of the union” address is actually going to be his resignation.

  4. sage says:

    “Never let a politician, grant you a favor,
    they will aways want to, control you forever…” Bob Marley.

  5. Howard says:

    Oh yes, spot on article that the P.L.P failed us. Had the 14 day quarantine still be in place the covid cases, hospitalizations and Death wouldn’t have happened. If people want to leave for a trip fine go but know when you come back its quarantine 14 days when you come back and the like for those coming to Bermuda.
    I’m disgusted with how they are handling it.

  6. Otrwele says:

    truth! pre arrival test mean nothing! This is exactly where are infections are coming from. Don’t blame the party goers. They have nothing to do with it. Your government is just using them as an excuse to cover their poor decision making and thus creating a clear statement to divide the country between the haves and have nots. This goverments arrogance starting from the top is the entire reason we’re in this sh$t. Not the people of this country

    • Mom says:

      Party goers breaking the rules took infection and passed to 100’s. The rules were clear there. We saw it in November with two breaches and again with breaches last month. People, not airplanes which open our economy, are the ones who are to blame. It doesn’t matter what a government does if people don’t behave as if they are part off a community. Note that Bermuda is using a 14 day rules as an extra safeguard to catch those who have it when 10 days is CDC guidelines which even Cayman has adopted that. Cayman though, Mr Ball would have us believe is wide open. But did anyone miss the teenager jailed for two months in December for breaking quarantine? Nor that violators can now face up to 2 years in prison and 10,000 in fines. https://onemileatatime.com/american-teen-jailed-violating-quarantine/
      Perhaps enforcing harsher penalties for those who cannot follow the few basic rules that had us open and enjoying our lives and families with low covid numbers should apply. Have or have not.

  7. sandgrownan says:

    He’s right you know.

  8. Unity over Politics says:

    The Cayman has only done a third of the tests we have, and higher vaccination rates. Taiwan and Wuhan and New Zealand rely less on travel and were able to lockdown with tighter restrictions. On top of that the populations Complied with the restrictions. If you want Bermuda to follow that example, then you should lead the push for cellular device tracking or an app like WeHealth. New Zealand is facing a homelessness crisis due to their Covid19 response and the people on the lower half of their economy are suffering while the rich get richer. I understand that as opposition, you have to maximize your political gain from this pandemic, but an article painting half a picture doesn’t help anyone. Transmission from locals who travel is probably the biggest threat, yet people are still flying and mixing indiscriminately with their house members. We can try to blame on visitors but the numbers don’t tell that story. You have all the resources at your fingertips to find out if the government is benefitting from the number of tests, but instead of finding out, you elected to fabricate a conspiracy. To claim that the premier and team “enjoy” having this control over us is dishonest at best. I think they would enjoy having a fully functioning economy even more. All this to say, I agree with the title of your article. The Situation could have been avoided, if we were actually united in this fight as a country instead of using a deadly pandemic as a means to push political/personal agendas.

    Hopefully your next Op Ed will detail what your party would have done differently.

  9. lion says:

    I said it before and I’ll say it again…. You can’t let the fox into the chicken coup, then blame the chickens for getting eaten. This gov needs to take some responsibility for their poor decisions. When asked in a previous press conference, the Premiere gave some pore a$$ excuse for nor making 14 day quarantine mandatory. When you put profit over lives then lives are lost.

  10. Hear hear says:

    Well said Vic. Bermuda needs to stand up. But how can we when Burt has co-opted the police, military and courts against the populous.

    The PLP has starved the people of work then forced huge fines on us just to live our lives.

    Will you be the one who leads the charge against them? I know there a many who would follow!

  11. Ivor says:

    I disagree. 14 day quarantine and you will have zero tourists. I believe if the elderly population got the vaccine they have been offered for some time now then the hospitals would have far less admissions and people in ICU. With 35% of the elderly refusing to be vaccinated this problem will be with us for the long haul. It would also be helpful if Government could come up with protocols for all the different sizes of business we have as far as social distancing and mask wearing. One shoe is not fitting all. They could start with their own departments and fine workers for not following the rules. I have seen large groups of government workers not wearing masks or social distancing, their supervisors included. They spread the disease and get to stay home with full pay whilst some workers are earning nothing during this lockdown period.

  12. Anonymous says:

    He is absolutely right. They pat themselves on the back for following the playbook of other countries, but the moment they have to make their own decisions we’re all messed up. I only hope and pray Bermuda votes these idiots out of office in the next election.

    PLP must love Covid, now they have something to blame for their complete ineptitude with regards to the economy on.

  13. Adrianne says:

    You hit the nail right on the head and spoke the WHOLE TRUTH thank you Sir.

  14. Lone_Wolf says:

    It doesn’t matter what this government does. They were voted in based on race and not what they can actually achieve. Just accept it because it makes no difference at all to complain about it anymore. Bermuda deserves everything it gets because you get what you vote for.

  15. Ms.boo says:

    Well said… we all need to open our eyes and take action. ASAP.

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