Leo Olivero

GHA in post-Covid traumatic stress - So where’s the public inquiry?

Over four months ago, the public were first told by the government, that when the Covid health emergency was over they were committed in holding a public inquiry which would look at the way the COVID-19 pandemic was handled.

More recently, while Gibraltar and other countries have now eased lockdowns, other nations are reporting more and more new cases everyday. In fact, data for the global picture shows the pandemic is far from over and picking up again in many places.

Back on the Rock, the government continues to take all manner of decisions, based it seems, on the back of the Covid rolling seal of approval. First used in March, but came with a never-ending shelf life, it seems?

It all means, that many hundreds of Covid related decisions, first taken as far back as 5 months ago, continue to be taken without an independent public inquiry to confirm, what, how and the repercussions of all these decisions, made around preventing the spread of the virus and the protection of the population. Including, how all this was balanced with the level of health care services available and the effects on the economy.

No Immediate Intentions to Hold Covid Public Inquiry to Learn Lessons?

It is clear however, there are no immediate intentions to set out plans for an inquiry to look at the handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Fundamentality, this is a vitally important exercise, not about apportioning blame, but about “learning lessons”.

The government’s stand, is or apparently was, they would only hold a public inquiry once the pandemic was over, which as things are being set up now, is hardly going to happen anytime soon, if at all? This confirmed last week, when the Chief Minister from No 6 has already remarkable anticipated there will moving to increase the rocks posture in response to the prevalence of the virus to a ‘MAJOR INCIDENT’ within the next six weeks. All under the handy ‘Civil Contingencies Act’ that bestows all manner of wonderful powers, shorts cuts and dangerous dead ends!

Though Mr Picardo did say last week, the government were ‘better prepared now and understand the virus better’ whatever that means? The question is, ‘how does the government know this and how can anyone including Picardo, possible know, if the countless decisions taken so far, or since March, have been the correct ones or if the barrage of measures and actions introduced were proportionately appropriate, considering the Gibraltar Covid stance?

GHA Suffering Post Traumatic Covid Stress

Now, with the Coronavirus pandemic, supposedly past its first peak in Gibraltar and in most other places. It is hugely important, that now, there should be calls for increased scrutiny about how the crisis was handled. Whilst the focus continues to eventually defeat the pandemic, the questions surrounding whether the impact could have been mitigated to any extent, now need answers?

A public inquiry is the only forum able to consider if the public sector preparedness and response to the pandemic met the needs of the nation!