Réagissant suite au ‘lockdown’ total qui a pris effet depuis hier soir, le leader du PTr, Navin Ramgoolam, a une fois de plus adressé un message au Premier ministre, Pravind Jugnauth.
Il y déplore notamment le manque de transparence, d’incoherence et de l’absence d’un ‘preparedness plan’.
Voici l’intégralité de sa lettre ouverte:
“Dear Prime Minister,
I am having to write to you again as the people of our beloved country are confused and distressed due to a lack of transparency, incoherence and the absence of a clearly thought out preparedness plan.
Plans cannot be abruptly changed every 24 to 48 hours. A clear example is your decision to close all supermarkets immediately without informing the public (just when they have or about to receive their wages) as to how they will be able to procure basic food stuffs . This is a very serious mistake which can have dire consequences. People need to be certain that they and their closed ones will not go without food and medicine. You must as a matter of urgency re assess your contingency plan.
My purpose remains the making of constructive proposals to collectively fight this invisible enemy and save this nation from further trauma.
I refer you to my letter of 15th March; my press conference of 17th March and my most recent letter of March 22 which all raised the alarm bells of the crisis to come and executive decisions required, most of which you ignored or failed to act in time. Your stubbornness to take immediate actions have resulted in putting our nation in distress.
There is still time to reduce human suffering and misery through effective leadership as per some of the points below. I have contained my thoughts to strict emergency matters.
1. Your denial of the presence of this disease , your threat to arrest people daring to raise the debate and the alarm, your inconsistency around dates, cases, numbers and your alleged surprise on receiving critical information while being live on MBC during your last two press conferences looks more like a telenovela serial…. this is not what is expected of a head of government at a time of national crisis. It is crucial for the people to have trust in the government at such times of national crisis and fight this enemy with determination.
2. We clearly need the help of friendly nations , including medical professionals. I have personally spoken to some of our fellow citizens who are working abroad and willing to help us. You have ignored their plea so far; I urge you to do so as they are on the front line in the countries they are working to fight this pandemic. You asked a recently defeated candidate with no experience in disaster management to brief the nation as to the medical supplies and equipment we have ordered from abroad. As I emphasised, this should have been done a long long time ago through our diplomatic channels.
Our hospitals still face an acute shortage of basic protective gear. And we still have no idea as to the date, time, quantity and which medical supplies we are seeking. We have apparently now some contaminated medical staffs & doctors! You talk of a “war” but it seems you have left our soldiers unclothed and unfed. The police as well as our medical personnel , attendants as well as all those working in hospitals and private clinics need to have masks, gloves and protective equipment as a matter of urgency. Otherwise you are sending them to the slaughter house.
It is unconscionable not to have done so and this must be remedied as a matter of urgency. Can you please be explicit in what is coming and what is not coming so we can re-group as a nation and fire fight accordingly.
3. The containment plan was not well thought out and was applied late in a haphazard way
We closed our borders far too late.
We closed our schools , universities and other institutions far too late .
Furthermore the logistics, communication and transparency that need to accompany a lockdown are not present.
Whilst we desparately need a lockdown to contain this pandemic spreading further, people need food and the essentials of the economy need to function. You are failing at managing the practical aspects of these critical matters.
Have you looked at consolidating supplies of farmers and other distributors with supermarkets and delivery through our logistics companies under economic lockdown, use of postal service services – basically methods that stop people spreading the virus as after our hospitals, our supermarkets are going to become the next frontier.
Why can’t the supermarkets catalogue their products online and have either phone or e- orders or orders through postal office or community centres around the island in a strict house to house manner under Police or SMF supervision. Same for household gas delivery.
Banks should be able to organise management of things that are so obviously not working! organise mobile cash points, sanitised after each use and accelerate the use of digital money. I think the time has come for a much more active management of things that are clearly not working.
The invisible enemy here is contact and spread – the last few days have shown your government is not handling this matter with the organisation and seriousness it deserves.
These measures will definitely help our Police forces to have a much more organised lockdown without putting our frontline police officers at risk & in confrontation with an already much stressed population.
5. The lack of financial support and compassion shown to people in the “informal” sector by your Finance Minister is a shocking disdain to a large segment of this population whose economic activities had to be stopped because your government’s failure to act in time on closing frontiers, sourcing medical supplies and organisation of internal affairs around this pandemic.
6. Many people take non home loan credit from non bank financial institutions, car / equipment leasing companies as well as banks. Interest rates are lower and getting lower worldwide. Can the government consider bridging the cost of funding of these financial institutions and mandate that ALL credit payments be suspended for 3 months. This will go a long way towards alleviating immediate fears of repossession in a segment of the community that is already hard hit by the economic crisis.
Let me conclude with the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – “If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion and strength without sight.”