by Linda Straker
- Bill already approved by House of Representatives
- After a heated debate Senate approved legislation to cancel 2021 carnival celebrations
Simon Stiell, Leader of Government Business in the Upper House of Parliament said if Grenadians continue to adopt “a false sense of comfort with the island low Covid-19 infection rate” it will be just a matter of time before there is an outbreak of coronavirus among citizens.
“For us here in Grenada, we are taking so much for granted. Many of us are taking false comfort in so far as our low infection rate here. The reality of what we face here in Grenada, is, if we continue along the path that we are venturing down it is just a matter of time before what we seeing to our south, to our east, to the north of us will be replicated right here in Grenada,” Stiell told the Senate while presenting the “Covid-19 Cancellation of Carnival August Celebrations Bill, 2021” for debate and approval during Wednesday’s session.
Pointing out that the threat of Covid-19 is very real, Stiell said that the Government’s decision to cancel carnival celebrations for 2021 might be an unpopular one among citizens, but it’s a very necessary act. “Just look around us Mr President,” said Stiell, drawing the Senate’s attention to the Covid-19 situation in Trinidad and Tobago, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts and Nevis, the United Kingdom and the USA.
Urging that citizens increase the pace at which they are becoming inoculated with the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine that is currently freely available, Stiell said that the risk of a major outbreak is very high and cancelling carnival is to protect all citizens including those are breaching public health regulations. Less than 15% of the population eligible for vaccination, are inoculated.
“We know the decision is unpopular, but we know that it’s the right thing to do and we have to do what is right, not what is popular. We will not be forgiven as a government, if we were not to take this step and have two or three days of revelry,” said Stiell. He referred to the scientific guidelines that mass gathering events are well known as super spreading opportunities for the virus which has claimed lives and or infected millions globally.
“If we were to move ahead with these celebrations there will be mass gatherings,” he told the 13-member Senate, which, after a heated debate approved the legislation to have 9 and 10 August removed from the list of banking holidays for 2021.
The Bill was already approved by the House of Representatives or Lower House of Parliament. It will not have to get the necessary stamp of approval from the Office of the Governor-General to be gazetted with a date of effect, for it to be formally recognised as the law.
Carnival celebrations were also cancelled in 2020.
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