Support Ebola watch
Over the past two decades or so the description of our modern world as “a global village” has been used so often it has become a cliché.
We have come to associate the term most often with matters of telecommunications, but clearly its connection to how we live today is much deeper.
The average household in Barbados, regardless of its socio-economic status, can wake up any morning to the latest news from the most remote corners of the world. Given modern technology, Timbuktu is really no farther away from us than Tunapuna.
By the same token, regional air travel headaches notwithstanding, it is possible within a matter of hours to travel from Bridgetown to London or Hong Kong and on to any of the far flung corners of the globe. In that sense we are certainly a global village.
Within our region we have seen the benefits of this ability to touch ports of entry anywhere, but we have also had to battle with some negative consequences. One of the most glaring has been the impact of pests on our agricultural sector, with our farmers and agricultural scientists being forced to use everything at their disposal to protect crops that are important to the sustenance of our economy.
One such pest whose presence has been felt literally in every corner of our island has been the giant African snail. Its arrival here has been traced to the movement of shipping containers between the French Caribbean islands and Bridgetown.
Just last month as Crop Over moved into high gear, our health authorities were going to great lengths to prevent an outbreak of the Chikungunya virus, which has been straining the health resources of a number of neighbouring territories since the early part of the year. Again, modern transportation methods made the probability of its spread quite high.
Now, like the rest of the world, local health specialists and administrators are again forced to put measures in place to reduce the chances of the deadly Ebola virus reaching our shores, and to ensure that if any cases show up the health of Barbadians is not put at risk.
This illness, which is believed to have originated in West Africa, has infected more than 1 700 and claimed more than 900 lives. Geographically we may be some distance from the West African coast, but our status as a tourist resort, for all intents and purposes, puts us no farther away than the shores of Trinidad.
Each day hundreds of planes crisscross the globe, moving people and cargo in a variety of forms, placing tremendous responsibility on those charged with the duty of surveillance at our ports to keep the unwanted out. And it is clear that that list of undesirables is growing, and can include human, vegetation, pests or some inanimate object.
In this latest situation, we implore Barbadians to give their full support to health authorities as they join counterparts across the region and wider world in trying to contain the spread of Ebola and the devastation that its unchecked movement can bring. We also commend Minister of Health John Boyce and his team for the proactive approach they have taken.