Sunday 27 September, 2020

COVID-19 Czar refutes claims of issuing threats to Barbadians

COVID-19 Czar Mr Richard Carter (FILE)

COVID-19 Czar Mr Richard Carter (FILE)

COVID-19 Czar Richard Carter is refuting claims that he issues threats.

While hosted as a guest on SLAM 101.1 show ‘The Conversation’ on Tuesday (July 28,) days after issuing a final warning to put businesses on notice that if they breach protocols, closures were the next step, he stated:

“I did not make any threats. People interpreted them as threats.

"I simply said if you do not obey the law these are the consequences and we are asking people to…obey the law.”

There was much push back after his warning to businesses.

Carter went on to make his function within the government’s COVID-19 response team clear.

“I spell out the position of the Government of Barbados. I articulate that. I articulate the consequences and the penalties attached thereto. I appeal to people to observe the law and to observe basic common sense… but persons have the right to individual determination.”

He shared some of his own observances as he carried out his duty as COVID-19 Czar.

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“I have seen persons saying: ‘I am a rebel and I am not obeying any of the protocols’. I have seen persons from the very first time that we announced the requirement to stay inside and at the curfew, I saw persons on the very evening talking about their intent to flout the law. So, I leave the monitoring and the application of the consequences and the policing to the officials who are charged with that responsibility,” he explained.

When asked about instances where public officials were seen in public without masks the Czar admitted that there have been such instances but reiterated:

“There is no requirement under Barbados law for the wearing of masks in public. The wearing of masks is advised by the public health officials if you cannot maintain a physical distance of up to three feet or up to six feet.”

While asserting that he could not speak for other public officials, he added: “I can only speak for myself but I will tell you this, I am not going to go out there and put myself at risk and say: ‘I am not wearing no mask because I saw somebody not wearing one’. In other words, I am not going to subject myself to that ill logic of saying: ‘I am not going to protect myself because I saw somebody not protecting themself’.”

During ‘The Conversation’ Carter clearly outlined government’s position as it related to the observance of protocols for persons coming into the island, since the resumption of commercial flights.

He stated that everyone entering the island is required to either have a negative PCR test or have the test administered upon arrival at the airport, before being allowed entry into Barbados.

Non-nationals refusing to be tested will be refused entry into Barbados and be asked to leave the island while nationals refusing testing will immediately be transferred to a quarantine centre for the stipulated period, until that person can be cleared for entry into the island.

“I am relatively confident that the protocols that have been designed in respect of the reopening of commercial traffic, that those protocols are sound,” the Czar said of the protocols currently in place.

“Anybody who wants zero risks probably has to go and live in Antarctica which is probably the one continent where we have not seen COVID-19. There will be risks. There is no such thing as risk-free protocols or as risk-free travel,” he asserted.

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