Column: Our Focus Is To Protect, Not To Punish

July 1, 2021 | 16 Comments

[Opinion column written by MP Jason Wade]

As a member of our community, I am acutely aware of the discontent being spread on social media and otherwise regarding the mandatory hotel quarantine for unvaccinated passengers. I get why people are upset and why they are fatigued. I get that people want to move forward with less restrictions. I also get that people don’t like the idea of some people having to abide by more restrictions than others.

As a Member of Parliament, I understand our deep and solemn responsibility to protect and ensure the safety of our entire community. These are not fly by night decisions, made to hurt or inconvenience our own people. Every decision made by Bermuda’s legislators is in the best interest of all Bermudians.

The restrictions of the past year have applied to your elected Members of Parliament and Senators. The mandatory quarantine regulations apply to us as well. The “us versus them” doesn’t apply to people like me. The Government is not enacting legislation, implementing policies or enforcing restrictions on the direction from any one person or based on any grand conspiracy theory. We have a collective responsibility.

In the past year, the Government has taken advice and guidance from local and international medical professionals, scientists and health organizations. We have had long intense discussions regarding the best decisions to protect our citizens, our country and our economy. It has not been easy.

The narrative being perpetuated by some that we take some sort of pleasure in the suffering of others is unfortunate and disheartening. We have all had to endure a massive burden – elected and unelected officials, workers, volunteers etc.

Our focus is to protect, not to punish. Vaccines have been made available for free to residents. We are thankful for the 35,000 plus Bermuda residents that have accepted this offer moving us closer to community immunity. For those who are unwilling or unable to take the vaccine, we also have the responsibility of ensuring your protection, and that is why our Government implemented the mandatory hotel quarantine regulations.

As a government, we cannot allow people to put themselves or others at risk of transmitting this highly contagious Covid-19 virus that has caused so much destruction and loss of life worldwide. We understand there is nothing ideal about this. There is nothing ideal about Covid-19. But we are learning to adjust around it. We are moving beyond it…with caution. The reality is, we cannot afford to shut the island down yet again due to any unfortunate transgressions.

There is a lot of chatter out there. We understand the angst in the community. We ask for your patience, and your cooperation. There is light at the end of the tunnel and we have a plan to move beyond the pandemic. Do not allow our plan to protect our people, to divide us, as the damage may be irreparable.

Let’s be more conscious of the words we are using, and the comments we are making. Let’s be quick to listen and slow to speak. Let’s turn down the volume a bit Bermuda, and pull back. When we feel ourselves about to write something offensive or send a forward , maybe we can step away from the computer or phone and do an alternative activity. We cannot become so consumed with hatred and frustration that we jeopardize our own health and safety.

We can do this. We will move beyond this pandemic.

- MP Jason Wade

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Comments (16)

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  1. Ringmaster says:

    Our focus is to protect not punish. Really? So why did you criminalize so many people for what was a minor infraction, namely breaking curfew? Punishment if we wanted to walk in the clear fresh air on the beach, railway trail and open spaces, areas well known to be healthier than being shut in indoors. The list goes on, and the PLP are now using fear of the Delta variant, so deadly that Britain just had tens of thousands of fans at a football match, and no outbreak.

    • Sara says:

      When did this government force anyone to be indoors? I am pretty sure people have always been allowed to exercise within a certain radius of their home on a daily basis even during strict lockdown! Not so in other countries where you couldn’t leave your yard!

    • sandgrownan says:

      On the last point, that remains to be ssen.

    • watching says:

      because breaking a curfew was against the laws that were put in place to protect the community. no one forced anyone to remain inside and as things have progressed and more things have become known, people have been able to enjoy most if not all of the freedoms we have always had, albeit with a curfew in place. Much of this is much ado about nothing.

      As for the delta variant, many countries are locking back down in preparation to mitigate its transmission.

      Why do some Bermudians seem to want others to get sick and die?

    • respectbm says:

      “That football match” was effectively a “SafeKey” event … it stated: “Access will not be granted to Wembley Stadium without a negative lateral flow test”.

      So we had to stay home a bit, have to wear masks, have to care for each other. Not so hard.

  2. watching says:

    Well said MP Wade.
    A rational and logical column.

    • Portia says:

      It’s garbage and lies and anyone with a brain knows that.

      • Joseph Geaney says:

        I have a brain. I think it’s great.
        No conspiracy.
        No power-madness.
        Government have done their best with community care at heart.
        Heck of a hard job.
        So wrong to call it garbage or anything of the sort.

  3. saud says:

    ” We cannot become so consumed with hatred and frustration that we jeopardize our own health and safety.”

    The plp are begging their British overlords to allow them to discriminate against some Bermudians.
    Your hypocrisy is noted, and laughable.

  4. Steal pulse says:

    I hope your conscious is guiding you young man. The effects of these lockdowns and vaccinations will show it’s true devastation in 2-3 years. Just look at the studies on thalidomide in the 1950’s. History has a strange way of repeating itself. Saying Im sorry won’t be enough.
    As there was denial that there was gang activity in Bermuda until the body’s started to pile up, I hope you don’t deny the rise in mental and physical health cases when they rise, and they will rise, as a result of bad decisions and policy’s Haven help us all. .

  5. SMH says:

    Literally, the people bringing in the delta variant and testing positive are vaccinated. These individuals are only required to quarantine until their day 1 test results come back and than they can go free and spread the virus because they are vaccinated? MAKE IT MAKE SENSE.

    SHOW US THE NUMBER OF POSITVE CASES OF INDIVUDALS BY VACCINATED AND UNVACCINATED, AND THE DATE THEY TESTED POSITVE. PROVE ME WRONG! I know of a few people who came back within the last few weeks who are vaccinated and tested positive for COVID on either their arrival test, day 4 test or even day 8 – for the DELTA VARIANT. One person I spoke to tested negative before arrival and had a positive arrival test. There are such things as false negatives. IF YOU REALLY CARE ABOUT PROTECTING THE UNVACCINATED, SHUT DOWN THE AIRPORTS OR HAVE EVERYONE QUARANTINE.

  6. Question says:

    “The restrictions of the past year have applied to your elected Members of Parliament and Senators. “
    But not to Burt, with his videotaped maskless champagne party in the middle of tight restrictions for the rest of us.
    Other ministers got fired for the same thing. Even the Health Minister in the UK resigned for the same thing. Anyone else here would get fined thousands of dollars. Burt calls it ‘poor optics’, and his lackeys, including this columnist, try to brush it under the table.

  7. Cleaver says:

    Excellent article MP Wade I could not agree more with what you have said. If people would listen more and talk less we could and would be in a better place. I have nothing against peoples opinions and their decisions but some are very hurtful and startling. I, for one, want to move forward and I know it’s not going to take overnight but if we work together we can achieve this goal.

  8. common sense says:

    Vaccinated people who test +ve have a very low chance of spreading it to others. If unvaccinated people cared about themselves, they would get the shot! Duh!

  9. nonsense says:

    common sense says that is not correct. a very low chance – no they are spreading it even faster! call it conspiracy all you want, but I will not wait to see. The fact remains, he spread it to everyone in his home who was vaccinated. If vaccinated was the best choice, if it protected you, why do they all have it now? that Delta variant He was allowed to take it home and spread it, makes no sense to me. But you lock up those who are not vaccinated and test negative. Real smart. They have nothing to share, but the vaccinated who are positive get to share it with family and loved ones and the Island. Lot of sense.

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