A Nevispages.com weekly feature by Curtis Morton Sr.
The way I see it, we have to be very careful about how we operate as individuals within our small community.
On Wednesday, as I was walking along the road, in Charlestown, not troubling anybody, an acquaintance of mine, called me over. What she revealed to me was shocking:
‘Curtis, they calling you name all over. All in the churches, they cursing you.”
‘Why?’ I asked.
‘They say you going around harassing people to put on they masks and you all not harassing the beach bars them like that!’
Well I newa!
Now, let us put her pronouncements into perspective.
Some time ago, I was approached about becoming a member of the Covid-19 compliance task force. When I was told that it involved ensuring that the COVID -19 regulations were observed by ALL, I immediately recognized the fact that it was not going to be an easy task.
I discussed it with my close family members and they were all hesitant to give me the green light. However, I eventually accepted the invitation to serve my country, despite the fact that it is a voluntary assignment and may invite a lot of verbal abuse.
When I reviewed my work life, I have basically held job assignments that involved some form of enforcement. I started with a temporary assignment at the Treasury and my job assignment was to check packages to examine and evaluate their contents. I got some WUD from some people too!
Then as a Public Health Inspector for umpteen years, my basic role was to check all sorts of premises, to ensure that proper health standards were maintained. I got some WUD for that too!
Then I went to Social Security and my first assignment as an Inspector, saw me checking business owners (employers and self-employed persons), to ensure that they made their legally required payments into the Social Security fund. I got some serious WUD from some people too!
However, I loved all of those jobs. Really loved them, because the people who gave the WUD, still had to eventually accede to the law of the land. Also, those who gave the WUD, were generally in the minority.
Some who started on the path of havoc, usually ended up respecting me for my efforts, even if they did not necessarily agree with my instructions.
So, I eventually accepted the challenge to be a part of the compliance team.
And OH—I have received some WUD too!
However, persons who know me well would know that once I take on an assignment, I would do my utmost to carry out the required duties, using my discretion wherever possible.
One of the things that persons who I have approached would have to admit, is that I have remained my usual polite self, through it all.
Even when I am ‘off duty’, there is no way that I would enter, for example, a supermarket and see persons openly not wearing masks and say absolutely nothing.
I would usually approach the guilty person and say very quietly, without keeping a show: “Good morning/evening (as the case may be), please put on your mask.’
Most persons would hastily put on their masks, but I have also received some serious CUT EYE, sometimes.
In company with other members of the team, I have visited not only churches, but beach bars, supermarkets and virtually all other business entities on the island and the message has been the same:
“Try your utmost to observe the protocols; stay safe and ensure that the people with whom you make contact are safe as well.
Practise the basics, which include, social distancing; wearing of masks, sanitizing hands, washing hands regularly with liquid soap and running water; practising safe coughing and sneezing etiquette and such like.
To their credit, the churches have adhered more to the required disciplines and they should be proud of that fact, rather than compare themselves with the delinquencies observed in the worldly areas, such as the five in one and all such crazy activities that have been unfortunately allowed.
The churches must also note that they can be corrupted by the world in a real way.
Let us use this for instance:
I once passed by a church and the Pastor told me that one of the young ladies on the front bench that Sunday morning, had worked until early that same morning, at one of the beach bars.
Now, who knows who she would have interacted with, among the dozens of patrons for the night?
Another for instance: Somebody indicated that they attended the Five in one and left there in time to head straight to church, just making a quick change of clothing.
Well I newa!
So, imagine that person shaking hands in church with the brethren, after spending a whole night out in five in one!
So, my message has been polite but clear: Protect yourselves and those around you. Stay safe!
I can’t issue tickets. I am just encouraging and pleading with people to do the right thing.
Of course, if necessary I can call the superintendent to close down a place if they refuse to adhere to the protocols, but that is not my aim.
My message is simple: What you practise now, is exactly what you will do when the borders are opened, so treat everyone coming into your space as if they have the coronavirus!
So, if I am going to continue getting WUD for that—then so be it!
The fact is, as a trained Public Health Inspector, even if I was removed from the compliance team, I would still ask delinquents, to do the right thing.
I think it is my civic duty-come hell or high water!
I consulted with my friend GOOGLE, to get some encouraging quotations: “Caring about what people say is useless. Most people don’t even know what they think of themselves.”
“People who do not understand your silence will never understand your words.”
“Whoever is trying to bring you down, is already below you.’
“We are very good lawyers for our own mistakes, but even better judges for the mistakes of others.”
“Life’s too short to do the things you hate, just to win the approval of others.”
“They don’t have to like you and you don’t have to care.”
“Only fools let compliments get to their heads and criticisms get to their hearts.”
“Tell the negative committee that meets inside your head, to sit down and shut up!”
So, my response to the young lady was simply: “Okay, maybe one day, they will find something good to say…”
One thing I can say to all of the naysayers who will find all kinds of logical reasons not to wear the required masks and observe the protocols, is that once you contract the coronavirus, life won’t be easy and it can lead to death.
Just ask someone who has been quarantined about their experience. It’s not easy. Ask someone about taking the COVID-19 test. It’s not easy. Some of our cricketers, recently underwent up to 7 or 8 tests before they were finally allowed to be home with their loved ones.
You think it’s easy? You think this thing is a joke? Ok Then……
I also find consolation in the most important book of all—the holy bible:
“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”
“His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.”
The beautiful thing about the whole situation is that only God will judge my words and actions and once I know that I am doing the right thing, the words of the naysayers, really are like blades of grass in the wind. So, by God’s grace, I will persist with doing the right thing, for love of country and my fellow men and because God would be pleased with my efforts.
That’s the way I see it. How do you see it?