The Opposition Leader speaks on escalating community spread and the CDC Level 4 travel advisory.
My fellow Caymanians and Residents,
I know that there is a lot of concern throughout the country with the escalating high level of COVID-19 community spread. I hear the concern personally and receive the messages and emails.
My colleagues and I in the Opposition share that concern. We now have more than 2,100 active cases across our Islands and some 14 people in hospital. I pray that those in hospital or isolated at home recover quickly. And I also pray that the numbers hospitalised do not climb higher. It seems that so far, our high vaccination level is helping keep people from becoming very sick.
Over the past week, the New York Times has featured our Islands top of their list of places with the highest daily average of new COVID-19 cases compared to other countries. Then just this morning, we saw the Center for Disease Control move Cayman up their travel risk ranking to the top level 4 category.
These events have severe implications for our tourism business – particularly as we are poised to re-open our borders and reintroduce visitors to our Islands. We will have tourists willing to visit, but the rise in community spread of the virus, coupled with the CDC recommending travellers avoid the Islands, will temper any enthusiasm for visitors to come here.
We are used to being in the top ranking for financial services and tourism but not for COVID-19 spread. The implications to our health and the health of our economy are now at the gravest it has been since the onset of the pandemic. This is a regrettable set of events, and I remain of the view that this is down to serious mismanagement by the government.
But bemoaning the cause of our current situation will get us nowhere. What is needed now is leadership, and the Premier must now lead from the front. He and his government must take action to have firm rules in place regarding all the necessary public health protocols, and these must be enforced. This action is needed now to limit the further spread before we start to have tourists arrive here in ten days. Hopefully, it is not too late. The government’s cavalier attitude towards the pandemic must end.
As I have noted previously, the government is still working on their plan to, as they say, open safely. The fact that their preparedness planning is still not yet completed is worrying, given how close we are to their November 20th opening date. Whilst one may debate whether there is any such thing as a genuinely safe re-opening of the borders, there is little argument that one must have a properly planned border re-opening. So far, this does not seem like a planned border re-opening. Rather, it seems we are hurtling toward the November 20th date and praying for the best.
Again, I urge the Premier to show leadership and provide real evidence to the country that he and his government, as he said to us a few months back, does indeed ‘have this’ under control.
I have been trying very hard to give the Premier and the government-wide berth to get things together while still fulfilling my duty to the country to hold the Premier and the government to account. We in the Opposition will continue to be vigilant and point out where the government is going wrong. But time is running out.
I pray that God continues to bless all our people and our wonderful Cayman Islands.
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