Government must work with all stakeholders to formulate a better plan than lockdowns and prayers.
That’s according to Opposition leader, Kamla Perad-Bissessar.
Following the Prime Minister’s press briefing on Saturday, Persad-Bissessar said “The latest monotonous ramble of Keith Rowley again emphasises that he has no plan to effectively lift our nation from this crisis – -exacerbated by his poor leadership.”
“It is unreal that Rowley came today (Saturday) to bouf, to continue his obsession of attacking the Opposition Leader and to sadly offer no comfort or any assurances of any hope for a brighter day ahead.”
Instead, she said, “the country is told that the “lockdown” will continue for another six weeks until July 4. Further, there is a motion on the Order Paper of the House of Representatives in the Prime Minister’s name, to extend the State of Emergency for three months.”
This, according to Perad-Bissessar is a red flag – “evidence that the only solution this Government has to fight this virus is to shut everything down and pray that it will all go away.”
She asked “What is going to happen to the hundreds of thousands of employees working in businesses deemed non-essential? The Government must make it clear to those whose livelihoods are now on the brink as to what the plan is for reopening their business. The economy is already in a precarious state, and with no concrete plans from the Government, we are facing a bleak future.”
She said “Businesspeople, employers and employees all need to know how they will be able to sustain themselves and their families. Will they even be able to recover from the Government’s mismanagement of this situation?
“While they set no clear goals or targets, hundreds of thousands of citizens remain without work, without income and without even the most basic items to care for their families, including food and medicine.”
The UNC Leader said “The only way to beat this pandemic is through vaccination…and it is alarming that this Government is projecting to have a mere 10% of the population vaccinated by August 31 – over three months from now.”
She said “At this rate, Trinidad and Tobago may never see “normalcy” until an election bell is rung again and the Rowley Government can boast they spent five years fighting Covid.”
She pointed out there are many countries in the world that are now dumping expired vaccines and she is calling on the Prime Minister, who is also CARICOM chairman, to use his good office to send an international SOS and have any unused vaccines sent our way.
In Ontario, Canada the Government is yet to make a decision about what it’s going to do with the up to 50,000 doses of AstraZeneca that have gone unused since injections were halted, noted Persad-Bissessar. She said that country also has another 30,000 doses sitting in Ontario pharmacies set to expire at the end of May.
She said the Prime Minister should have a virtual meeting with all our Foreign Ambassadors and diplomats, including our Canadian counterpart here in Trinidad and appeal to them to have any vaccines sent to Trinidad and Tobago.
Persad-Bissessar also returned to the issue of our closed borders.
She said “While we continue to be locked in, most Caribbean islands have reopened to international tourism, with protocols in place to protect visitors and residents against Covid-19.”
“Most Caribbean islands have plans in place to treat vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers and returning nationals. Their economies are slowly breathing again while ours is being strangled. What plans are there to treat suffering businesses, hunger, unemployment, abuse etc?”
She said the Prime Minister displayed a disturbing lack of empathy for the citizens of this nation who must bear the brunt of his Government’s incompetence, while the PM and his Cabinet, are comfortable collecting full pay.
She said “The Opposition reiterates the call for the Keith Rowley Government to recognise that it has failed, our country is in peril and egos should be put aside and all stakeholders should be embraced to work together to create a clear plan to save this country not just from Covid but economic and social ruin.”