As the Nation – and party-goers, especially –anxiously await the end of the State of Emergency (SOE) and curfew restrictions, Prime Minister Gaston Browne is hinting that they might not be lifted after all.
The Cabinet, on November 24, agreed that December 23 would be the date on which both the SOE and curfew would be removed, after one year and nine months’ imposition.
Information Minister Melford Nicholas said, earlier, that the Lower House would convene this Thursday, December 2, to amend the Regulations accordingly.
However, during a radio outing on Saturday, Browne said that lifting the curfew will be impacted by the new COVID-19 variant – the Omicron (pronounced oh-my-cron)– which is believed to be more transmissible and carries an increased risk of re-infection.
He believes the discovery of the new variant is reason for citizens and residents to move with some level of alacrity to protect themselves, and this should be done for the benefit of the entire community.
Browne claims the SOE and curfew were put in place to manage the spread and escalation of the virus, which is currently at an all-time low, along with deaths and hospitalizations. However, he says the situation is fluid, and could change in a couple of weeks.
The Prime Minister says the policy decision to lift the SOE and curfew still stands; however, it could be reviewed and reversed depending on any significant spread of the new variant.
He adds that this is dependent on whether or not there is any vaccine escape, which is the real danger.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s apparent uncertainty is not going down well in some quarters. Several residents tell REAL News they think that Browne enjoys playing god and wielding power over their lives – “to keep us guessing,” as one woman puts it.
“The business people should speak out. They would have based their projections on the lifting of the restrictions,” she states.
She says this flip-flop on the SOE is an indication that the public should not trust Browne’s hint at early polls, either. “That man is diabolic! That’s why elections are not coming when we expect,” she warns.