Mon | May 25, 2020

JaRistotle | The good, the bad and the dumb

Published:Thursday | April 9, 2020 | 12:05 AM

AS I sit here contemplating the COVID-19 pandemic that has beset us here, there and everywhere, I can’t help but think of the many stories I have heard about good, bad and dumb people. We have countless numbers of good people – dedicated professionals on the front line putting themselves at risk for the sake of others – and then there are those who purposely and selfishly ignore the much-espoused preventive measures, and those who are too dumb to care.

To date, I have been quite supportive of our Government’s efforts to contain the spread of the virus. The communication has been first-rate, although sometimes ‘late’, and I can see that their efforts are focused in the right areas. It ain’t easy to govern in times like this – and it is not as if our other usual problems have gone to ground. Controlling crime, alleviating poverty, and stimulating commerce still occupy our leaders’ daily agendas.

That said, there is one major area of concern where their approach is, in my view, less than satisfactory: how they are handling the thousand-plus individuals who, having been allowed entry into the island from hotspots across Europe and the US, have failed to adhere to self-quarantining and reporting prescriptions.

What a pile of crock this has turned out to be! Did our leaders really expect compliance? If they did, then clearly, they don’t know their fellow Jamaicans: largely undisciplined, oblivious to the implications, and too ignorant to compromise.

Up to press time, we have recorded some 63 positive cases, of which 11 are under investigation. We can expect that the numbers are going to increase, particularly in the community-spread category. Why? Because unless the potential ‘index cases’, those thousand-plus non-conformists, stop gallivanting all over the place, needlessly endangering others, and turn themselves in, the spread may well be unprecedented and unmanageable.


Just think, assuming that one person can infect another 100 persons, then if a mere 100 of the scoundrels are infected, they could trigger a 10,000-person outbreak. Bad and dumb would undermine every possible effort of the good. Dog woulda nyam wi supper!

We should also consider the ‘under investigation’ grouping. As the instances of non-reporting and socialising continue, contact tracing will become far more difficult, if not impossible. Under such circumstances, the back-tracing for new cases is likely to be pointless. Put another way, the viral spread may become so widespread that anywhere yuh tun, macka must juk yuh.

Alas, the horse done gone through di gate, and we can only hope that the scoundrels were infection-free. Notwithstanding, we have to round them up. In this regard, I see where the police have been encouraging the public to turn them in. Question is, who am I gonna turn in? I don’t know who the jackasses are.


I raised the question of public disclosure last week, and am now advocating for this to be implemented. Our immigration and customs agencies have the information pertinent to the quarantine dodgers: publicise their particulars. They are lawbreakers, public enemies who pose a clear and present danger to the country.

As an incentive, the authorities should also appeal to the greedy nature of people in general and offer a bounty for information leading to the arrest of these lawbreakers: do whatever it takes.

The Government needs to get serious and stop wasting time treating bad and dumb like mature people. Name, picture, address and the bounty. Problem well on the way to being solved. And if dem turn up with dem lawyer, quarantine the lawyer tuh.

Bad and dumb are dangerous, and could be standing beside you right now. You deserve to know who these hazards are.

Send feedback to