“This is a time for love.”
These were the words of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley as he addressed the nation on today’s 58th anniversary of Independence amid the battle against the COVID-19 virus and discord brought about by the recent general election.
“This is not a time to lose faith, kindle racial hatred, spread fake news, undermine institutions and selfishly stoke ethnic, religious, social or geographical division, regardless of who is doing it. Just stop,” he said.
He added: “This is a time for coming together, a time for defending ourselves from visible and invisible threats, a time for being responsible, a time for being a contributor rather than an extractor, a time for being brothers and sisters and being our brother’s keeper, in short, this is a time for love.”
Dr Rowley, who has been hammering home the need for responsible behaviour to combat the virus, was confident that the country could rise to the challenge.
“We will face down the current outbreak and I have every confidence that we will surmount not only this but the very many challenges in the coming months and years ahead but there is none so immediate and as serious as COVID-19,” he said.
But he had a particular message for the youth, as infection rates rise between the ages of 25 and 35.
“I know of the thoughts and feelings of the invincibility that youth possess but now is not the time and, a pandemic is not the circumstance to wager bets on your indestructibility and those around you.
Young people take responsibility for your clips, crews and limes and become protectors for, and of each other. This is it! This is not a drill, it’s not a joke, this is not a trendy share on IG or a cool forward on what’s app. This risk is real.”
The prime minister made it clear, the worse is not yet over, and in fact, may be yet come.
“With deep sadness, international medical experts are predicting that the mounting deaths we are experiencing, worldwide, reflect just the early phase in the flurry of the COVID-19 virus. In other words, Trinidad and Tobago, like the rest of the world may yet feel its full ferociousness and we still have no idea when it is going to end.”
In that regard, he appealed for responsibility from everyone and coming together to battle the virus.
“Everyone has to be involved, because it is now a question of this country’s overall survival. Where COVID-19 is concerned, there is no “my side” and “your side,” there is only victory for all of us or defeat for all of us. We must therefore come together and win this battle together!”
“We will meet our challenges, and we, the people, will survive and prosper,” he added.
Kamla also calls for unity.