News of police officers making more arrests for breaches of the COVID-19 regulations is encouraging. However, it tells us that we still have more to do as individuals to change harmful mindsets and habits.
In eight days from August 28 to yesterday (September 6), the country recorded 19 deaths from the virus. And it’s clear that months of persuasion and warnings have still not reached everyone.
Over the past week, police arrested 12 people for liming in groups of more than five, among them two men aged 84 and 77 who are among the high-risk category for catching the virus.
This follows arrests for breaches of quarantine, including being on beaches and hosting COVID-19 parties.
Photos and videos of police officers boarding maxi taxis to see if the limits were being observed and if masks were being worn have assured us that the authorities are working overtime to protect our lives.
But the efforts cannot stop there.
With 1,326 people quarantining at home, there is no way law enforcement officers can ensure that everyone stays in place.
Police officers cannot be everywhere, every time and certainly cannot be expected to know if the more than one million citizens who are required to wear masks are doing so.
As with every other crime, they need the eyes, ears and tips from all responsible citizens to make this work. It must be a collective effort.
In the word of Irish philosopher Edmund Burke, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
It’s no different with the present evil.
Plus, there is something in it for every one of us – the lives of our parents, husbands, wives, family, friends and those we love.
One recalls that one of the most popular superhero stories of all time started with the death of a close family member because of one man’s failure to act. When Peter Parker let a robber slip by to spite the man who didn’t give him his full wage, the robber murdered his uncle moments later.
So too, our failures to report people breaching the regulations can spell death sentences to our loved ones if those we let get away spread the virus to them.
It’s imperative everyone joins the fight by following the simple ‘See something, say something’ policy of the TTPS. Blow a whistle against COVID-19 regulation breachers by dialling 800-TIPS. It’s no less patriotic than those health workers battling COVID-19 on the frontlines.
Calypsonian Leroy ‘Black Stalin’ Calliste’s words are just as relevant today as they were in his 1988 hit We could make it if we Try: “Our country’s facing, its darkest hour, so our people need us today more than ever, but in our fight to recover, if ever you feel to surrender, it have one little thing that I want you all to remember…we could make it if we try, just a little harder.”