(BARBADOS TODAY) — There is enough food to go around and no need for panic shopping, Prime Minister Mia Mottley has again declared, seeking to assure Barbadians after a chaotic day of last-minute panic buying.
Mottley tonight promised Barbadians that there is enough food on the island to satisfy its growing needs.
With Barbados moving into a 24-hour shutdown from tonight, thousands of anxious shoppers flocked to supermarkets, minimarts and gas stations from as early as 6 a.m., resulting in shoppers jostled cheek-by-jowl with each other in flagrant defiance of social distancing guidelines to minimise COVID-19 viral infections.
But in a pre-recorded speech to the nation which was aired tonight, Mottley said there was no need for the rush.
While she maintained there was no shortage of food on the island, she repeated the assurance that although supermarkets would remain closed to the public, initiatives would be implemented which would allow people to purchase their goods online and collect them from the supermarket, or for deliveries to be made to households.
Acting Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw first announced the new initiatives during her speech last night.
Mottley said: “Santia gave the assurance to the country yesterday that supermarket owners had already put in place a request for them to be able to do forms of electronic commerce…but each supermarket will settle its own individual arrangement, and once that is done people will be picking up or delivering.
“That means there has to be coordination and I am aware that there are continued meetings this week and the supermarkets need some time to be able to put those arrangements in place over the next few days.”
Referring to today’s disorder she described as “exuberance”, the Prime Minister who is currently recovering from major surgery, said there was no need for people to put themselves and others at risk by irresponsible behaviour.
She said: “What we saw today is the typical Barbadian exuberance with respect to wanting to make sure they are ready for battening down and that is laudable, but in doing it we can’t forget all the other things we need to do.
“Therefore I am saying to you that when these new arrangements come out, we have more than enough food on the island so don’t stress about it.”
The Prime Minister admitted that while these were difficult times, it meant Barbadians had to come together now more than ever.
She said people needed to focus on “needs” now rather than “wants”.
Mottley said the latest restrictions were necessary if Barbados was to be successful in the fight against COVID-19.
She said: “The reality is as recommended by the public health officials, we do need to tighten and we do need to make sure we can get a grip of this thing, rather than us seeking to put measures in place that will seem as though we are cutting with a dull knife, and we all know that is the worst cut of all.
“It is going to be difficult, we are in uncharted territory. I don’t think our parents went through this…we would have to go back to grandparents and great-grandparents 100 years ago to see this kind of confusion and this kind of anxiety that the world is facing.”
Mottley said it was extremely important that the number of COVID-19 cases on the island, which now stands at 51, be reduced.
She said it was only after this happened that a sense of normalcy would return to Barbados.