PM’s illness shows Govt’s COVID plans not working—UNC

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s COVID-19 illness has shown that Government’s COVID measures aren’t working, says United National Congress MP Rudy Indarsingh.

The Opposition didn’t issue an official statement following word yesterday that Rowley had tested positive for COVID-19 and was in isolation. Some senior UNC MPs declined to comment on it. A few simply wished him well.

But Indarsingh told Guardian Media, “His illness has demonstrated that he hasn’t known what the COVID protocols should really have been and that he’s displayed a high level of indiscretion and indiscipline.

“One would have assumed that the Government’s COVID-19 plans would have made us, especially him, safer from COVID-19, but obviously that’s not the case. Also, despite our borders remaining closed, the Prime Minister contracted COVID-19. This suggests continued border closure isn’t a fool-proof measure and continues to be economically, socially and politically counter-productive,” Indarsingh said.

“Cabinet members, OPM staff and others in his Trinidad household, as well as in Tobago, now need to be quarantined and tested. Primary and secondary contacts must be found quickly.”

Indarsingh added, “His illness also comes on the heels of a situation where his Attorney General was seen fraternising with people without a mask. So the PM’s situation is a lesson not to T&T but all his colleagues.

“It’s also noteworthy that Dr Rowley was neither in the Caroni nor Victoria districts, but was in Tobago where two police officers recently tested positive. Coupled with the recent influx of persons there over the Easter weekend, there are now legitimate concerns regarding virus spread in Tobago.

“We just have to recall what occurred with the January THA election where PNM supporters were seen dancing with no social distancing or masks.

“We must now seriously consider whether Dr Rowley’s leadership is indeed effective and whether his Government’s relevant in the COVID fight and its evolving dynamics.”

Indarsingh, as well as Opposition MPs Dr Lackram Bodoe, Barry Padarath and others said they’ll take the COVID vaccine when frontline and at-risk people have gotten vaccinated and according to supplies entering T&T. UNC MP Dave Tancoo said this was more or less the party’s position.

“We’ll ensure that those who need it urgently get the vaccine before we go for it,” Tancoo said.

Other UNC officials said that UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar had articulated a similar position. They couldn’t say if the fact that Rowley, 71, had contracted the virus, would prompt her to change her position on when she would take the vaccine. Persad-Bissessar has managed her health issues over the years and sources added that she continues to pay attention to her health “just like everyone else is doing.”