Prime Minister of Sint Maarten's pointed address to nation goes viral
As leaders across the world advise their communities to practice social distancing and remain indoors as much as possible to ward off the spread of COVID-19, they express the gravity of the situation in a variety of communication styles.
One leader's rather blunt communication style has gone viral.
Silveria Jacobs is the prime minister of Sint Maarten, a country that's technically part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, but is located on the southern part of a Caribbean island shared with Saint Martin.
In her address to the nation, Jacobs pointedly told residents to "stop moving."
American leaders: C’mon everybody, please stay inside. It’s important.— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) April 9, 2020
The Caribbean: pic.twitter.com/oopMyRT0lG
With an appropriately stern demeanor, Jacobs went on to spell out exactly what it meant to 'stop moving' by saying, "If you do not have the type of bread you like in your house, eat crackers. If you do not have bread, eat cereal, eat oats, sardines."
Jacobs told residents of the small island, which was devastated by Hurricane Irma in 2017, to treat the pandemic like a natural disaster.
"You're supposed to have a two-week supply for hurricanes, and at the beginning of this I said, 'Prepare your disaster kit as if you were for a hurricane.'"
She told people not to buy water or toilet paper but rather one to two weeks of food in the event of a full lockdown, which would mean grocery stores would close.
The prime minister said she doesn't want to order a full lockdown, so she is urging people to practice social distancing and remain home as much as possible.
"If the people of Sint Maarten do not adhere to the measures that the government of Sint Maarten is putting in place for your own safety, then I have no other choice," she said bluntly.
Jacobs is being praised for refusing to pander to, plead with, or talk down to Sint Maarten's residents but to address the situation with the seriousness it requires.
As of Friday afternoon, parts of her speech have been the recipient of over 37K likes on Twitter.