Message by Her Excellency, Dame Cecile La Grenade, Governor General of Grenada, 4 September 2020.
Fellow Grenadians, 5 months ago, on 24 March 2020, our country took the drastic but necessary step to close its borders in an attempt to limit the spread of the first known case of the novel coronavirus in our country, thereby preventing an uncontrollable outbreak.
While other highly developed countries with advanced medical systems are still struggling to cope with an alarmingly high number of cases, the wisdom of the timely and decisive intervention by our government has been proven. Since 28 July we have identified no new cases of the novel coronavirus in Grenada.
Overall, our infection record of this deadly virus has been low and all 24 individuals who were infected have fully recovered. As a nation, we owe a debt of gratitude to all those who contributed to our country’s performance to date, and whose tireless and coordinated efforts proved most effective in controlling the spread of this highly contagious virus and in keeping our citisens safe.
These include the members of the Covid Committee headed by Honourable Nickolas Steele, Minister for Health, the members of the Royal Grenada Police Force who worked diligently to enforce the curfew, the doctors and nurses who were on the frontlines caring for those affected while putting their own lives at risk, grocery store and supermarket employees who had to calm anxious and agitated customers, churches that had to change the format of services, and all citizens who had to graciously accede to a new way of life … the new normal, or perhaps I should say, the new abnormal. Your generosity, willingness to lend a helping hand to the vulnerable and elderly, and general thoughtfulness and concern for others during this difficult and unprecedented period, were both evident and heartwarming.
Life during lockdown was stressful. The inability to socialise, go to the beach, shop and attend religious services affected us all. The uncertainty caused much anxiety; the loss of jobs is devastating, and the fear of contracting the virus remains real and palpable. Thankfully, many received financial support from the government, employers, individuals, churches and other organisations.
Most regrettably, children have been negatively impacted by the closure of schools, and their inability to interact with their school friends, play, and experience the many joys of a typical childhood. All students have been affected by this abnormal state of affairs and have had to adjust to the challenges of virtual learning, many without the necessary electronic devices to adequately do so.
With over a month of no new cases recorded, and cognisant of the recent loss of livelihoods and jobs in our country, systems have been put in place, tried and tested at our ports, and new safety measures have been implemented in business places and churches, as we do, slowly and carefully, return to some semblance of normality.
It is now September – the start of the new academic year for our students. I would like to say a special thanks to our teachers for rising to the occasion and adapting to the new way of teaching in the interest of students, who hold the future of our country in their hands, and to parents for getting on board with the virtual learning process.
Although today we have no known cases of Covid-19 on the island, we must not let our guard down. Vigilance must be our watchword. The absence of individuals known to be infected with Covid must not lead to complacency. The restrictive conditions are an inconvenient necessity that we will have to live with for many months to come.
As we move to reopen schools this month, let us be ever conscious of the fact that this dangerous and unpredictable virus is still circulating in the world, and that failure to adhere to established protocols could lead to a resurgence in cases, and negate the positive effects of the sacrifices made thus far, with devastating effects on our country, the economy and our people. We are not yet out of the woods. Caution must continue to be exercised.
I appeal to all citizens, including bus drivers, shopkeepers and teachers to adhere to physical distancing, to wear masks routinely and to comply with regulations, which may abruptly change in this uncertain environment and at this challenging time.
As adults, we need to set an example by exhibiting tolerance and strictly adhering to the Covid-19 mitigation protocols that have been established for the protection and benefit of us all. Let us lead by example, so that our children are always protected.
I wish all students and educators the very best and a most successful academic year.
May God continue to bless our Nation.