I buy and read your paper every day and I am appreciative of your team’s commitment to bring each story to us and keeping the world informed on local and international issues.
Please permit me to express the uncertainty that we as citizens have regarding the COVID-19 disease.
I watched the press conference given by WHO on March 25 (not sure if it was live or a rebroadcast) and I was taken aback by the candidness of the panel and the sobriety of the presentation and the need for authorities to lead the fight from the front.
Here in Guyana, that burden seems to rest with the citizens. While I agree that each and everyone must be in this fight, we as citizens must feel that we have the support of those in authority.
Here are some questions that we would like answers to:
1) Do we have adequate and properly trained medical and other personnel who can be deployed across the country in the event of an outbreak here?
2) Do we have appropriate and enough PPE for frontline personnel?
3) Do we have enough and the correct testing kits?
4) Do we have identified and equipped facilities across all the regions to diagnose, quarantine and treat cases? And do these facilities meet the accepted standards for quarantine facilities for a threat of this nature?
5) Are we tracking down and isolating all suspects reported via calls through the hotline numbers and testing these suspects and their immediate contacts?
6) Are the sites of suspects locked down, sanitized and quarantined?
7) Do we have systems in place to monitor recoveries to ensure that there is no resurgence?
8) How visible is the national awareness programme and is it effective? What measurements do we have?
On the trade and economic side of the coin, there has been no word on what measures will be put in place to ease the economic burden on citizens.
1) Will GRA extend the deadline for filing of Income Tax and Property Tax and other returns?
2) Would NIS waive interest and penalties for late payments?
3) Would employers who reduce business hours or close their business but still pay employees be given any relief?
4) Is there any general relief measure in place for the poor and vulnerable?
As a citizen, we need some assurance that we are not alone in this fight.