Author: Hon Donaldson Romeo | Date: 13 May 2020
Hon Donaldson Romeo
Box 340 Brades
11th May, 2020
Office of the Premier
Your Excellency Governor Pearce and Hon Premier Taylor,
There are many persons, especially the elderly, who have no transport to get to the Bank to obtain money, to supermarkets to buy food, to the pharmacy and hospital for medication, to the clinics for testing or treatment, to pay their utility bills or collect cooking gas, etc. The very fact that MUL, LIME and Digicel are open to collect payments carries the implication, pay up or else you are delinquent and may be disconnected. Similarly, after weeks of not being able to work, many face dwindling funds.
As a result, those who do not have a vehicle of their own must now choose between breaking social distancing requirements by begging a lift and traveling with a neighbour or friend who has a car or doing without money, food, cooking gas, paying utility and phone bills, visiting the doctor, hospital or clinic (especially the flu clinic in St Peters) and addressing other essential needs.
To survive, many feel forced to break the transportation and social distancing restrictions, although they may put their lives at risk. Even the police are often forced to turn a blind eye to those who find themselves in this predicament. In carrying out their duty in other instances, the police have reported persons for contravening this aspect of the Public Health Emergency Act.
The fact that you and the entire Cabinet have been repeatedly made are aware of this by me and others for several weeks, means that turning a blind eye has become acceptable.
Instead, we must act swiftly and decisively to appropriately address this public health matter.
The common sense action would be to either provide subsidised, affordable and safe public transport for those who have no transport or:
1. pay (contribute to) or put on hold their utility and communication bills
2. deliver medicine, cooking gas food, groceries and other basic needs to their homes
3. provide vouchers that will allow shopping for basic needs within walking distance
4. and the like.
By your own pronouncement and enactment, this is a life and death issue. So, there can be no excuse to allow this failure on the part of Government to continue. It is also an obvious duty for us all as elected representatives to act on behalf of our people, especially the elderly, to see to this matter. If we do not do so, we will be negligent and irresponsible.
Let us act together, to protect the health, safety and well-being of our people.
Don Romeo, MLA