The Virus

For me, the virus is elemental.

Nearly everything for the past few months, even before the virus, has been, for me, “elemental “.

Barbados’ Prime Minister, Mia Mottley, has had her share of an elemental lashing. What with Bajan rogues and vagabonds doing away with each other, personal illness, the expected political shenanigans that a government has to face, and the region’s problems and individual islands seeming misbehaviour, all that was left to occur was….The Virus.

It took a while to get there, but it did.

Today, May 30, marks a week exactly of no new cases.

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On March 16 the first 2 cases of Covid-19 were positively identified, and the main local hospital, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, was where those affected would be treated.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley now had another unique challenge that she and her people had to face. She has been cussed (balled out) of course, but on the whole her countrymen have expressed appreciation for her Government’s constancy in not bailing out. In not buckling and passing the buck.

Here are a couple videos featuring the woman of the hour, The Honourable Mia, regarding….

The Virus.

And,

Finally,

From a visitor to BARBADOS :

SoFyah H MaYers posted this following bit about her experience of having the Virus in Barbados….

(copied from the Facebook Barbados page, posted on 21 April at 03:15)

I wrote this before I got the double negative!

Barbados. What can I say?

I have had a relationship with Barbados since 1989 when I started flying in and staying at Kingsway Apartments in Maxwell Coast Rd, long before Bougainvillea was built, when droves of people walked up and down that road.
I met and stayed friends with many people after coming over twice in that first year and I came back several times over the coming year as my love for the island was so strong. On one occasion I took unpaid leave from my job as a nurse as I had no leave left, but I had to come back. You were like a magnet to me.

I had a break for a few years due to personal issues and returned full of expectation to see my favourite island. There had been changes but the people are always the same, open, honest and friendly. Many of my original friends are now too old to travel or have passed away, but a few still remain and I have made new friends over recent years.

This trip was to celebrate my approaching 60th Birthday with my dear friend from way back in ‘89, Patricia who has lived here for many years. She is now getting older and was thinking about this being her last winter in Barbados, so I was also thinking that it may also be my last visit with Pat still being here. Little did I know what was to come.

I arrived on March 16th and tested positive for Covid-19 on 21st, with Pat testing Positive a few days later. I was immediately placed in quarantine at Paragon Base with Pat arriving two days later. Shocked and bewildered, we wondered why, when and how we had both been struck down by this virus. Were we going to die? Could we get well?? All we had was hope.

The staff team at Paragon have been absolutely astounding. Working in makeshift surroundings they have put together an effective field hospital for the treatment and isolation of Covid-19 patients and have gone the extra mile to help patients feel as well as they possibly can. There is an atmosphere of love, compassion and care by a team of staff who committed to this project without thought for their own safety, simply to make sure that we had the treatment that we deserve. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to every one of them for “holding me” throughout this very difficult and frightening experience. I am in your debt forever. Thank you.

I have been in isolation now for 28days and today got another negative test result! I have retested this afternoon and tomorrow I may walk free from this place. A place that has kept me safe and looked after me at my most vulnerable.

The other patients who were here with me were also an amazing bunch and I thank them all for their kindness throughout this period. It reminded me of something powerful that my friend George O Dowd put in a letter that he wrote to me when he was in Pentonville Prison several years ago. He was a year into recovery and was determined not to use any chemicals in prison and he wrote “I see my Higher Power in the smile of a Stranger” which resonates so strongly with my experience in Quarantine. There were so many unspoken looks from others, smiles and nods of understanding that helped to dissipate fear.

There was a particular patient, a young 21yr old local boy called Andrew who I connected with as he is the same age as my Grandaughter Toni.
He was fairly quiet to begin with, but as we began to settle in he was a constant source of humour and laughter. Every time we expected a negative result and it came back positive, we were devastated! After a few minutes to re-group, he would approach me and say “Never mind Mike, we will have fish and chips tomorrow and test negative!” Which would cause us both to laugh our heads off. I also tried to keep a little eye out for him as he went into Paragon before me but kept getting positives.

I also got to know Andrews Mother Maria via Social Media and we had many conversations via messenger about how we were managing etc. she was incredibly kind and sent me in a mixed bag of treats and drinks to help me get through the experience. She also said that she would help to find me somewhere to stay when I got out. To say she is a woman of her word is an understatement. When she knew I may be leaving soon, she put out a message to her friends on social media explaining my situation and asking if anyone could help with accommodation. Both she and I were shocked and overwhelmed by the response. Over 100 people messaged her to offer a range of accommodation across the island, free of charge. I was completely bowled over by the complete generosity of Barbados people and have accepted the offer of a beachfront property, near Oistins, on the south coast which is absolutely stunning. Immense gratitude to Sam Taylor for his generosity. I am also in your debt.

So, as I write this, I am awaiting the green light to leave tomorrow, then to move into self-isolation as per the Barbados Curfew. I will be alone, but will have some outside space where I can sit and enjoy the atmosphere of this beautiful place until flights to the UK resume. I am beginning to realize the enormity of my experience over the last few weeks and the “trauma” that I will have to process in therapy on my return to the UK.

The positive from this story is that Barbados has reminded me what a special place she is and what a special, generous people live here. I didn’t think it was possible but I love you more than I did. I have to say that, part of that renewed love had come from listening to and observing Mia Amor Mottley, your amazing Prime Minister. Rarely in recent years have I seen a politician connect so well with the population. She has the ability to come through the screen and talk to you individually. She is strong and dependable and honest. Not things that you hear associated with politicians nowadays! She has her finger on the pulse and knows exactly what she is doing which instills confidence and makes people feel safe. I am extremely impressed by her energy and wisdom and I believe she will pull Barbados through this crisis and will herself, be the change that people need. I salute you Madam Prime Minister and I salute you Barbados. You may just have saved my life and helped me to beat Coronavirus.

From the bottom of my heart, I Thank You All.”

Just goes to show, a little love goes a long way.