The COVID-19 Monitoring Unit is investigating a possible threat against one of its team members.
The 74-member Unit, which was established by Government to ensure compliance with the COVID-19 regulations under the Emergency Management COVID-19 Directives, has brought criminal charges against violators. In some cases, businesses have been temporarily closed.
In an interview with COVID Weekly, Ronald Chapman, director of the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit, revealed that at least one case of a suspected threat against a member of the Unit was now under investigation.
“I’ve had one of my officers who was apparently threatened. I am not sure of all the details because the matter is still being investigated . . . . I can’t say a lot at this stage,” he pointed out.
Of his own wellbeing, Chapman said he has not received any threats directly, though he has known of some statements that were made in the heat of the moment.
He added: “I have seen certain things. There were occasions when my wife has shown me stuff on social media . . . . I have had persons who were not happy with me at the time when a bar was closed down or something like that, but to say someone has directly come to me or sent a threat, I cannot say that has occurred.
“There have been come veiled comments, but I tend to think that at the time those persons were just angry that they were not able to do what they wanted. Our action did not seem fair in their eyes. But we have always said to people if you are unsure about something you can ask us a question, and we are prepared to explain.”
At the same time, Chapman made it clear that his unit receives many more compliments and words of encouragement from the public than complaints. He further noted there was a recognition that the Monitoring Unit was there to protect the public, as the country tried to manage and control COVID-19 infections.
As he addressed the current COVID-19 situation, Chapman said he was eagerly looking forward to the day when there was no need for an enforcement arm in the fight the disease.
“Our case numbers are dropping. We are now putting more structures in place to ensure we do not have any major outbreaks again like what we had last December,” the senior public officer stressed.
“I believe the situation in Barbados is getting better. We are learning a lot as we go along. People sometimes judge us too harshly . . . We must remember that none of us has been this road before.
“None of us has dealt with a global pandemic. When we were trained, this was not part of the training. And so, we have to use the best knowledge at the time to make decisions. We evaluate those decisions, and if they are good decisions, we stick with them and if they are not good decisions, we change them because none of us has seen or experienced this before,” he explained.
“I’ve had one of my officers who was apparently threatened. I am not sure of all the details because the matter is still being investigated . . . . I can’t say a lot at this stage.”
This article appears in the April 19 edition of COVID Weekly. Read the full publication here.