by Timothy Payne
Like a bat out of hell
I really can’t say, that when I heard of a virus running rampant in Wuhan, China that I expected it to be wreaking havoc in Antigua and Barbuda less than two months later.
COVID19 is a beast that knows no limitations, does not respect geographical boundaries and certainly does not carry a single bone of discrimination in its deadly body.
COVID19 kills slowly but Wuhan, Venice, New York, London and Paris – they all had barely enough body bags to keep step with its dance of death as it waltzed around the globe.
Very early in the set, many would shake their head – though with very little consternation – at information that the virus originated from someone having perhaps eaten an infected bat in Wuhan.
This apparently allowed a rare transmission from creature to human.
Then it was advanced that Orientals and Caucasians were the sitting ducks while people of colour, with the melanin in their system, were just about invincible as far as contracting the virus was concerned – so wrong!
As the virus flew about like the proverbial “bat out of hell,” biological warfare arguments started to make the rounds just a touch ahead of the 5G Genocide theory twinned with that of vaccinations and microchip implants to the world.
For a while I was Patrick of the Sponge Bob Square Pants cartoons, – thinking so much that my head had really started to hurt.
Reality check #1 : I was crying and complaining over the heaviness of the cotta (Kata) but little did I know that the real burden of the weight was yet to come.
The Corona virus (COVID19) quickly made its way across the waters and got a solid foothold in Europe, North America and by extension tourism’s gem of the Caribbean, my beloved Antigua and Barbuda.
First, it appeared as though COVID 19 had delayed its travel plants to the land of 365 beaches.
Consequently, there was no early panic and the authorities seemed to have been taking forever to close the country’s borders.
The economy, of course took priority and for a couple of weeks and at that time, it appeared that black Antiguan lives did not really matter.
It is now left to be seen whether having waited just a wee bit longer, was a masterful stroke played out of desperation.
It may however, still turn out to be one conjured up by Courtney Walsh, a most genuine rabbit, in only cricketing terms, as he endured a somewhat abusive relationship with a bat.
In the meantime, visitors, probably handing over their travel documents along with COVID 19, continued to file into their temporary paradise. During this critical time as well citizens and residents could not resist the urge to “enjoy life to the fullest, until such time.”
So they sang and they danced. They mixed and they mingled and probably matched too, at Pigeon Point beach. Others ferried over to Montserrat to Enjoy St. Patrick’s Day events on the Emerald Isle.
Then it struck like a bolt of lightning from the clear blue. That we really ought not to be taking this thing so lightly when the rest of the world, with the exception of the USA, with its hidden trump card, is screaming bloody murder.
So we now have social distancing, curfew, self -isolation and quarantine all pulled from the COVID19 associated vocabulary and thrust towards us.
True to Antiguan form, we resisted until the number of cases started to climb. Then, we each started to see ourselves on the undertaker’s table with no one being able to come take a look at the body while crying and giving the impression that they really cared.
Make no mistake, folks, the real motive for tears will be determined to be an effect of the absence of an after burial party.
This commentary, though light, is not designed to have us take COVID19 lightly.
I am more than a little bit skeptical with the even gradual easing of restrictions but those students of the Bible will remind that we have chosen the wiser one among us to lead.
Anyway the loosening of the grip is obviously a way to ease the country back into economic activity and sidestep some serious struggles over the next few months.
Still, the ounce of prevention continues to be much more desirable than the pound of cure.
To open up to not just economic activity but to a community spread of the COVID19 virus could have, pray God forbids this, devastating results.
108 square miles does not suggest that there are a lot of escape routes available.
There could be more than enough time, however, for dozens of Antiguans and Barbudans to find a high seat, draw their knees to the chest and have a go at kissing their ass goodbye.