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Editorial - THE POLITICS OF THE PANDEMIC IN ELECTION SEASON: REALITY VERSUS RHETORIC

Editorial 24 Feb, 2021 Follow News

Editorial - THE POLITICS OF THE PANDEMIC IN ELECTION SEASON: REALITY VERSUS RHETORIC

From Cayman to elsewhere in the Caribbean and beyond, there is a deepening and palpable degree of anxiety over how best to balance - or at best tip the balance - in the debate over public health and economic survival.

This issue has come to dominate the political agenda and has been evident in election campaigns in the midst of the pandemic.

The outcomes are also speaking volumes; with a tendency to favour the tried and proven over the untested on the one hand, while on the other, the wholesale discarding of the failed.

How well governments have so far managed the crisis, is the deciding yardstick by which their overall stewardship and political survival are measured and determined.

As evidence elsewhere has shown the two are intertwined.

Management of the pandemic is by extension management of the economy. The health over wealth/lives over livelihoods debate has now morphed into a single multi-faceted political hydra.

The challenge of keeping the public safe, reducing mortality rates, testing, tracing, quarantining and vaccinating must work in tandem with a clear roadmap of getting economies back on track.

Arguably many economies will need to run on different tracks emerging from the pandemic as it’s already becoming clear that some ‘pillars’ of the economy will take a long time for confidence to be rebuilt and systems put in place to safely handle their return.

Case in point; cruise tourism which pre-pandemic was on an unprecedented growth spurt.

Some countries are cautiously dipping their toes back into the tourism waters with a calculated risk ringfenced by hordes of ‘lifeguards of protocols’.

In some countries in the region, border openings have been linked to an upsurge in COVID-19 cases adding further strain to already stretched health and other resources.

But it’s widely accepted that the longer this continued state of COVID-induced limbo continues, the more difficult it will be to recover as economic inertia sets in.

This is where astute, careful and experienced political, management and leadership skills are required.

This pandemic has given real-life meaning to what might have been the previously abstract concept of ‘a new world order’.

The world as we knew it has become discombobulated from the effects of COVID-19.

This is indeed a new and different world and its impact is local and it's where - and why - leaders and innovators are most needed.

Judging from the pattern across the Caribbean and elsewhere, the voters are taking no prisoners. It’s their lives and livelihoods that are at stake… and at risk.

While the jab might do the job, are the politicians up to the challenge of the task at hand?

It’s a huge job. Solutions are needed, not rhetoric and distractions.


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