Kamla Persad challenges govt to release findings of COVID committee in public domain

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Opposition party – UNC leader Kamla Persad Bissessar backlashes the Trinidad and Tobago government for its mismanagement of the ongoing COVID pandemic, quoting it as a ‘disastrous and failed’. The statement comes as the committee constituted by the T&T administration to investigate the alarming soaring COVID-19 infections asks for an additional time of 3 weeks to complete their investigation.  

The COVID-19 Committee was supposed to complete the examination and present the report within the time frame of 7 days, in which it failed. Calling the government’s way of handling COVID as “nonexistent, non-functional”, the opposition leader asserted, “It is a continuation of the Rowley Government’s continued psychological assault on the grieving, traumatized, helpless families of the thousands of citizens who have tragically lost their lives to Covid-19 in the past 20 months, all victims of his administration’s criminal negligence, pervasive incompetence and dangerous mismanagement of the Coronavirus pandemic.” 

Island’s Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley, earlier announced that the COVID-19 Committee will present its report on the seventh day, but it’s been over ten days, and no report is being made public yet, the opposition noted. 

Meanwhile, Dr Tim Gopeesingh underscored along with Bissessar that they have already earlier highlighted that the timeframe of 7 days given to the committee for “extensive probe was woefully insufficient”, noting the prime minister was aware of this. “Yet, he is in an incompetent, malicious, arrogant, divisive and ignorant manner, dismissed our warnings,” Dr Gopeesingh added. 

The opposition, raising their concern over the matter, outlined that now the committee will be required more than 28 days to investigate, which means the country will continue to witness soaring daily COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and to be among the nations having high death rates.  

In the upcoming 28 days, it would take the committee to produce their report; therefore, about 400 more Covid-19 patients are at risk of dying needlessly. This is a travesty of democracy and a contravention of citizens’ Constitutional rights to safety and proper health care! It is criminal, intolerable and unacceptable!“.    

UNC raised some significant questions, according to them, which committee failed to provide adequate answers. The list of those questions is as follows: 

  • Why does T&T rank among the worst Covid-19 mortality rate in the world?
  • What are the causative and preventative factors for the dangerous, unacceptable and intolerable daily Covid-19 deaths?
  • Why is the mortality rate in the ICUs close to 100 per cent?
  • Why has the Ministry of Health refused to provide the information on mortality and morbidity in HDUs and ICUs at the various hospitals?
  • Why are Covid-19 patients not afforded the relevant and necessary drug treatments to save their lives?
  • Why is there a paucity of senior medical and nursing personnel at the forefront of the Covid-19 medical care and management?
  •  Why are there still insufficient or critical shortages of all medical, nursing and paramedical staff for Covid-19 treatment
  • Why are Covid-19 PCR test results still taking five to six days to obtain results?
  • What has the government done in helping to manage the more than 16,000 Covid positive patients at home, many of whom are left to die without any supervision and management?
  • Why is there an acute shortage of ambulances for urgent transport of Covid-19 patients?   

The opposition has further reiterated its call for a Confidential Inquiry to be made into every COVID-19 death in T&T while asking PM Rowley to immediately issue his statement about the so-far findings made by the committee. UNC also asked about the government’s strategies to implement to prevent further loss of lives among citizens.