Pandemic Playbook – Only at the Precipice, Do People Change – ENCORE

When the going gets tough, the tough gets going – Old Adage

We have all heard that expression and knows what it means; but here is a different angle:

When things get critical, we cannot sit still or maintain the status quo.

Things have always been critical in the Caribbean, but right now, conditions are even more acute than our normal critical. The world is enduring the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic – every societal engine is shattered.

  • Our revenues are curtailed because the tourism-only economy is shattered.
  • Economic activities in the private sector are shattered due to the fact that there is no money.
  • Governments cannot function.
  • Public Health deliveries are imperiled … and overwhelmed.

Each Caribbean member-state, one after another, is suffering this disposition:

(Click to Enlarge)

In a research report by the University of the West Indies entitled “COVID-19 containment in the Caribbean: The experience of small island developing states” it related the intersection of Public Health measures and economic motivations. The May 25, 2020 report provides this summary:

Tourism is a dominant revenue stream for many Caribbean SIDS, with their reliance on international arrivals, particularly from Europe and North America. Governments were aware that border controls and closures would have severe economic effects. Weighed against this was the known fragility of regional health systems, and governments were keen to avoid their health systems being overwhelmed by a sharp increase in hospitalisations. Using the date of first confirmed case in each country as our indicator, Caribbean SIDS generally implemented NPIs (Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions) earlier than our chosen comparator countries. For movements into a country, the Caribbean on average implemented controls 23 days before their comparator counterparts. For control of movement within countries, the Caribbean implemented controls 36 days before comparators, and for control of gatherings the Caribbean on average implemented controls 30 days before comparator countries.

This report reveals the critical disposition of the Caribbean region; this is the dreaded precipice that the movement behind the 2013 book Go Lean…Caribbean have always been on alert for. This actuality aligns with the observation that it is only at the precipice that people are willing to change.

The COVID-19 pandemic is creating the Perfect Storm to finally forge change in the region. This actuality forces us to compose a Pandemic Playbook. We need that now.

This commentary continues the Teaching Series for the month of August 2020 on the subject of Pandemic Playbooks – the need for them and the deficiency there of in the Caribbean. This is entry 4-of-6 from the movement behind the Go Lean book. The other commentaries in the series are cataloged as follows:

  1. Pandemic Playbook: Worldwide Leadership – Plan ==> Actual
  2. Pandemic PlaybookCaribbean Inadequacies – Missing the Bubble Opportunities
  3. Pandemic PlaybookBahamas Example – ‘Too Little Too Late’
  4. Pandemic Playbook: Only at the Precipice – ENCORE
  5. Pandemic PlaybookTo Be or Not To Be – COVID Vaccine
  6. Pandemic Playbook: Success – Looks like New Zealand

The theme of Forging Change at the Precipice is very familiar to the Go Lean movement. In fact, there was an April 21, 2014 blog-commentary that featured almost the same title:

‘Only at the precipice, do they change’

Who is the “they”?

The target audience we want to change include the people and institutions (i.e. governments, banks, schools, etc.) of the region. We need both Top-Down and Bottoms-Up change.

See how this urgent-emergent crisis can finally usher in the reforms and transformations that Caribbean society have always needed.  Let’s revisit that previous blog-commentary here-now:


Go Lean Commentary – ‘Only at the precipice, do they change’

Keanu Nanu

“Life imitating Art”; “Art imitating life”.

This is more than a cliché; it is also factual for describing how people finally get the will to change.

The movie The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) – demonstrates “Art imitating Life” – is a remake of the classic 1951 sci-fi film of the same name; see Trailer VIDEO in the Appendix below. These films are about an alien visitor and his giant robot counterpart who visit Earth.

The character Professor Jacob Barnhardt, in the 2008 version, was played by John Cleese, the English actor of some repute, known for his start with the Mighty Python players.

The counter character in this dialogue, Klaatu, was played by American mega-star Keanu Reeves.

The storyline proceeds that the character Klaatu is a spokesman that preceded the robot sent to destroy human life on earth. And thus this quotation from the Movie Dialogue:

Professor Barnhardt: There must be alternatives. You must have some technology that could solve our problem.

Klaatu: Your problem is not technology. The problem is you. You lack the will to change.

Professor Barnhardt: Then help us change.

Klaatu: I cannot change your nature. You treat the world as you treat each other.

Professor Barnhardt: But every civilization reaches a crisis point eventually.

Klaatu: Most of them don’t make it.

Professor Barnhardt: Yours did. How?

Klaatu: Our sun was dying. We had to evolve in order to survive.

Professor Barnhardt: So it was only when your world was threatened with destruction that you became what you are now.

Klaatu: Yes.

Professor Barnhardt: Well that’s where we are. You say we’re on the brink of destruction and you’re right. But it’s only on the brink that people find the will to change. Only at the precipice do we evolve. This is our moment. Don’t take it from us. We are close to an answer.

(Source: Internet Movie Database – Movie: The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008). Retrieved 04/21/2014 –

This foregoing dialogue from the movie The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) is symbolic of the crisis facing the Caribbean. The problem in the Caribbean is not technology, but rather the will to change. This is a consistent theme in the book Go Lean … Caribbean, it asserts that the changes necessary to preserve Caribbean heritage, culture and economies must first be preceded by an evolution in the community ethos. This pronouncement is as follows from Page 20:

The people of the Caribbean must change their feelings about elements of their society – elements that are in place and elements missing. This is referred to as “Community Ethos”, defined as:

    “the fundamental character or spirit of a culture; the underlying sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices of a group or society; dominant assumptions of a people or period.

This book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), a technocratic agency seen as the Caribbean’s best hope to avert the current path of disaster, human flight and brain drain, and grant the Caribbean a meaningful future for its youth.

This movie dialogue synchronizes with the exact details of the book. On Page 21, Go Lean presents a series of community ethos that must be adapted to forge change in the Caribbean. In addition, there are specific advocacies to:

  • Impact the Future (Page 26)
  • Impact Turn-Around (Page 33)
  • Impact the Greater Good (Page 37)
  • Grow the Economy (Page 151)
  • Preserve Caribbean Heritage (Page 218)

As a roadmap, this book provides the turn-by-turn guidance to optimize the Caribbean economy, security apparatus and governing engines.

With the assessment that many Caribbean states have lost more than 50% of their population to foreign shores (Pages 18 & 303), the region is now at that “precipice”.

“It is only at the precipice, do they change!”

Now is the time to lean-in to this roadmap for change, the book Go Lean … Caribbean, and the Caribbean Union Trade Federation. Our society/civilization is at the crisis point.

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


Appendix VIDEO – The Day The Earth Stood Still 2008 Official Trailer  –

Published on Aug 5, 2012 – A remake of the 1951 classic sci-fi film about an alien visitor and his giant robot counterpart who visit Earth.
Keanu Reeves & Jennifer Connelly…
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