I wished to become a British and live in the country that once colonized a quarter of the globe when I read the statement of their prime minister — Boris Johnson — about the so-called ‘Great Freedom Day’ in terms of restrictions related to coronavirus, which will be lifted on July 19. Therefore, it is no longer mandatory to wear a mask in public places starting from that day … Johnson also announced that the fourth stage of the roadmap to get out of corona restrictions include the end of work from home and restrictions on gatherings.
He also unveiled the plan to cancel quarantine for those coming from countries on the orange list of travel restrictions, if they are fully vaccinated.
In Kuwait, the more restrictions that our Minister of Health — the young Sheikh — invents, the higher the number of infections and deaths.
A-Qabas daily reported on Tuesday that the infection rate has increased. Kuwait recorded the highest number of new corona cases on Monday — 1,977; increasing the total number of cases to 365,649 in a country whose population is almost four million citizens and expatriates, while the number of those who died reached 2,029 and the number of those confined in intensive care units and other wards reached 18,514.
If decision-makers only respected themselves, their names, and their professional and political reputation from the beginning of the crisis till date; they would have gathered whatever belongs to them — papers, documents and personal items — and went home after submitting their resignation, because they failed in their jobs and the decisions they took are considered unprecedented failures.
Instead, they continue to make us feel embarrassed and a failure daily. So, God, how did they take the decision to reward frontliners? What we understand and what logic states is that frontline work during the corona pandemic means direct contact with the crowd. Thus, we were surprised when the beneficiaries include whoever is working in the 16 entities which submitted lists of employees eligible for this reward according to the standards of their senior officials.
We will mention some of them. For example, the ‘Office of the Civil Service Commission Chairman’, ‘Kuwait Anti-Corruption Authority’, ‘Ministry of Oil’, ‘Direct Investment Promotion Authority’, ‘Secretariat General of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development’, ‘Secretariat General of Awqaf’… and other similar bodies whose employees have no direct contact with the public; and the public does not even know their locations.
How will these employees receive millions out of the KD600 million earmarked for this purpose by the government which told us some time ago that it would not be able to pay salaries after some months?!
Can you blame me if, for the first time in my life, I wished that I am not a Kuwaiti considering our failed official decisions?
By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli
Former Minister of Oil