Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by this author are their own and do not represent the official position of the Barbados Today.
by Donna Every
No-one can dispute that COVID-19 has done more than marches, protests, lobbying and legislation to equalize people all across the globe. Presidents and paupers have had it, millionaires and their minions, athletes, celebrities, men and women, old and young and people from every ethnicity. It does not discriminate.
Here in Barbados, it has been no different and, in our case, we have another equalizer called Harrison Point.
The Prime Minister, in one of her calming and reassuring speeches, assured all Barbadians that if, God forbid, she tests positive for COVID, she would also have to go to Harrison Point. Everyone has to go there even if they leave after a few days and go to one of the approved isolation hotels.
There has been a lot of talk and controversary about Harrison Point, both from visitors and locals so I want to take a few minutes to address some of these issues.
My husband tested positive for Covid last week (seems so much longer) and he was picked up and taken to Harrison Point the day after he got his results.
I’m still waiting for my results. Just to clarify, he was not on the bus crawl or part of the West Coast cluster, he contracted it on a work site.
I have to add here that he and the person who infected him dropped their guards and were not wearing their masks when they had a fifteen-minute conversation in close proximity to each other. That is all it took! Bajans, masks work. Wear your masks.
Thankfully we had some advice about what to pack to take to Harrison Point so he went armed with snacks, coffee, sugar, milk and his own toiletries etc. For those of you who know my husband, he can make the best out of any situation, so he had a positive experience at Harrison Point.
He knew quite a lot of people there (doctors and patients) and he also made friends with the two men who shared the room with him. They exchanged information and have begun to communicate via WhatsApp and plan to have a souse lime as soon as they can.
He shared his snacks, coffee and milk with those who did not have and I believe his presence helped to make the stay at Harrison Point a positive experience for those he came into contact with. But that’s just the kind of man that he is, and I am very fortunate to have him as my husband.
Just in case you think this his experience was a off-one case, I have since heard about the experiences of two ladies who stayed at Harrison point as well. Here is what one of them said: “I spent a short time at Harrison Point.
The facility is very impressive and lunch was decent too. I was in tertiary, the block where you are asymptomatic. There is an outdoor area with picnic benches and it was very breezy.”
The other lady, who was not completely asymptomatic, had this to say: “I am hopefully leaving Harrison Point tomorrow. Harrison Point Quarantine Centre is also another huge favour that God showed. A world class quarantine centre in little Barbados with extremely professional caring nurses and doctors.”
Obviously, everything is not perfect and there are some improvements that can be made but in general, we are blessed to have such a facility and the staff to run it.
COVID has also been an equalizer for many businesses and it is only the ones that are able to be flexible and respond to the changes that will survive. It has forced many businesses to find new ways to deliver their products and services and, in some cases, discontinue those than will not work in this environment.
Barbados, as a nation, should be no different. As I said in another article, Think Like A Start-up, this is an opportune time to look at what we have “in our house” and use it to earn revenue in new ways.
This week I read an article by a Barbados-born economist, Carlos Forte, living in Canada who said: “It may also be necessary to implement a moratorium on travellers staying for less than six weeks…”
This is consistent with my thoughts that it does not make sense to go after short stay visitors at this time because there will be a temptation to shorten their quarantine period which will continue to put the population at risk.
If they are only coming for a week, a day or two (or more) in quarantine makes a big difference to their experience.
Once we get this spike in cases under control, we should not only continue to actively promote the Welcome Stamp initiative, but we should begin to encourage the entire population to look at what they have “in their house” and to develop business ideas that can reduce our reliance on short stay visitors and if they can earn foreign exchange, all the better. I recently took something that I already had, historical research for my book Vaucluse, and created a virtual tour Vaucluse Goes Virtual.
The tour is free but I hope that it will keep Barbados top of mind for visitors and friends of Barbados who can’t make it to Barbados right now, while at the same time creating curiosity and (hopefully) new sales for the book so that I can contribute a little foreign exchange to the coffers.
Barbados is ours. Let’s do our part to promote it and speak well of it because we don’t know how far our voices travel with social media and who those voices may influence. They may be potential long stay visitors or investors who are making choices about where to travel, live or do business. Let’s make sure they choose Barbados.
Donna Every is an author, trainer and international speaker. Contact her at [email protected] or take her Vaucluse Goes Virtual tour at www.donnaevery.com/vaucluse