Since the world changed in March 2020, one woman in particular has never deviated from her mission—to lead from the front and do everything in her power to protect Bermuda’s citizens from the devastating consequences of COVID-19.
It has been a journey that our Minister of Health, the Hon. Kim Wilson, a lawyer by profession, could never have imagined when she dreamed of a political career as a child. “I always wanted to participate in public service and help shape policy that would improve the lives of members of the community,” she says. But nothing prepared her for handling a global pandemic. Yet handle it she did, presiding over a testing regime that was the envy of many larger nations and a mass vaccine rollout, the likes of which Bermuda has never seen before.
Despite these highlights, at the time we speak, Bermuda is in the grips of the most devastating wave so far. Mere mortals faced with these numbers as well as opposition to the one weapon mankind has against this virus—the vaccine—might have been tempted to give up. “Last year, I thought once we had the vaccine then we’ll be able to breathe a little and things would be better, but no one would have predicted that people would reject the vaccines, and the variants, particularly Delta, are wreaking havoc,” she says.
What has kept her going throughout the pandemic?
“My faith, my family and my friends,” she answers. “I wouldn’t be standing if I didn’t have a strong faith. Family have kept me grounded. They’ve been there to catch me, keep the laughter and humour. They help remind me of what is important in life.” She also reserves the highest praise for her public health team, saying “I wouldn’t want to be in the trenches with anyone else.”
There have been times when she was so exhausted that she did consider quitting, but she says, “My commitment to try to help Bermuda through this dark patch allowed me to push past the exhaustion and continue the work.” That work also includes trying to “advance universal healthcare.”
She has even prayed for a sign that it’s time for her to step back, but whether it’s opening her bible to a scripture verse or receiving sudden words of encouragement and gratitude from complete strangers, all signs suggest God thinks she should stay exactly where she is. “At times like these, I think God has a sense of humour,” she laughs.