The Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister has regarded as “pathetic,” George Worme’s alleged refusal to enter a state quarantine facility upon his arrival at the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) on Sunday.
Speaking to this issue during a sitting of the Lower House on Wednesday, Dr Hon Clarice Modeste, said
“The individual I am told had signed the agreement to be quarantined but came here and said all kinds of things about this government and insisted on going home. Staff at the airport had to spend hours there, wasting time to convince that individual to follow the quarantine procedure.”
She added that the Police and the Chief Medical Officer had to be called in and it was only then he finally agreed to go to the specific quarantine centre.
Worme, a popular journalist closely associated to the New Today newspaper circulated a statement on social media, which stated that on arrival in Grenada on Sunday August 09 out of the USA, after being outside of Grenada for five months, his PCR test showed that he is COVID-19 free; and so he expected to be placed in self quarantine at his home rather than a state facility.
In the statement he explained, “Before arriving back in Grenada, I made an application to the relevant authorities in the Ministry of Health to be allowed to go into Self-quarantine for the required 14 days in keeping with their publicly stated protocol for returning nationals.
I made the request out of fear with regards to my own personal safety and life. It is well known that I am a journalist by profession and one who is considered as an enemy of the State of Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique by the current rulers.
I am not prepared to go into any facility to be quarantined that is selected for me by agents of this current government as I do not trust them and some members of the Security Forces and others.”
Worme added, “I am strongly protesting against going into any of these facilities since I have adequate accommodation at my home to go into self-imposed isolation for the 14 mandatory days and even longer if necessary.”
In an August 11, 2020 letter to the CMO Dr Shawn Charles chronicling this situation, Worme stated that “Given the impact of these Protocols on my constitutional right to life and liberty, I have yet to receive a reasonable, necessary and proportionate justification as to why my ‘home-quarantine’ at a vacant, well-ventilated and isolated 2-bedroom self-contained apartment is detrimental to the public health.”
The Tourism Minister told the House that returnees can quarantine in their homes once there is enough space.
“They have to have at least one room that can comfortably be used if they have more than one bathroom better yet. If not, a protocol can be given on how to use them.”
Nevertheless, Dr Curwen noted that “Persons may be unhappy having requested home quarantine and not being given but it is going to be determined by certain criteria and everyone would be subject to the criteria….”
It is still not clear as to why Worme was not allowed to use his apartment building to quarantine himself, since it can be a costly venture.
However, the Minister said “We have a breakdown of law and order and all of a sudden people could do just what they want….”
She added that no one is above the law, and if persons do not wish to abide by the quarantine rules, “they can wait in the country where they are until the right time comes. Otherwise, let us come in peacefully into our country. Let us not waste the time of other people who have other more important things to do rather than begging somebody who purported to have common sense and signed a document and then come in here and say you would not be quarantined. We have to set better examples.”
“This is very, very pathetic and I had to speak about that,” she told the House.