PM: Situation beyond a nightmare

A situation beyond that imagined in a nightmare.

This was the reaction of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley after he learnt of the dramatic drop in US oil prices while at the first meeting of Trinidad and Tobago’s Road Map to Recovery team yesterday.

“I also want to tell you, there’s been no time like this and even in a bad dream we couldn’t anticipate this. … I knew when I came in here the price of oil was $5 a barrel WTI. It has just gone to one dollar. Ladies and gentlemen, one dollar a barrel per oil did not exist in my adult life,” Rowley said during his address at the meeting.

The Prime Minister pointed out that according to the World Bank’s Semi-Annual Report on the Latin America and Caribbean Region, Trinidad and Tobago was more prepared for the crisis than most of its Caribbean counterparts. He, however, stressed that proper planning for life after COVID-19 needed to be thoroughly considered.

“Trinidad and Tobago must now plan for its post peak COVID-19 future within the confines of the ‘new normal,’ at least until such time that a vaccine is developed and tested, which could take between 12-18 months,” Rowley said.

“An important first step in developing the Recovery Road Map must be to clearly identify and analyse the constraints that will continue to exist for some time.”

He said a potential social and economic reboot would have to be done following a readiness assessment overseen by the Chief Medical Officer and health experts, which could state which non-essential businesses and institutions re-open first.

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