Trinidad and Tobago: UNC Member Parliament, Davendranath Tancoo, accused the Minister of Health Terrance Deyalsingh on Saturday, terming him a player of cheap theatrics.
He said that according to Health Minister Terrance Deyalsingh, he was driven to tears when he saw someone drinking alcohol in public during COVID. He was so moved that he had to pull his car aside and cry, one tear. “Citizens of this country have been crying because they have been abandoned abroad for over a year, reduced to destitution and living on the streets, forced to find food and shelter in a foreign country while their Government allows their friends, family and financiers to come and go as they wish. Did he shed a tear for them?”
Families have been crying as loved ones have been hospitalized and some have died from COVID-19 while the government fiddles with vaccine procurement, he says. “Mothers and fathers of this country have been crying to put food on their tables to feed families, unemployed with no scope or hope for employment since March last year. Many still have not received relief grants, and the Government admits that those who received the small relief grants only received them for 3 months over the last year. A few lucky ones got support for 6 months, but the Government has failed to explain why some received support for 6 months and most were restricted to 3 month support. No tears for them either!”
The fact is that tens of thousands of citizens remain in desperate need today, teetering on the brink of absolute frustration and the associated social challenges. In these circumstances, the Government’s delayed reaction in providing support to citizens in need is matched to its lagged response last year, which saw citizens waiting months for small stipends despite their immediate needs. This lack of initiative and sense of urgency on the part of the Government, when coupled with the victim-blaming and shaming engaged in by the Prime Minister and his Minister of Heath, reeks of disdain and disconnect between the Government and the taxpaying citizens they are supposed to be serving, MP Tancoo added.
It is unacceptable and highly hypocritical that the Prime Minister and Minister of Health continue to harass, harangue and insult the population for the spike in the spread of COVID when senior government officials appear to breach the very regulations with impunity.
“The Government continues to demonstrate that it has no plan in treating with the various levels of the pandemic confronting our nation. Worse, instead of engaging stakeholders, the Prime Minister somehow manages to blame the Opposition for the Government’s failures, such as their failure to secure our porous borders while locking out our own citizens.”
The Leader of the Opposition, Mrs Kamla Persad Bissessar has repeatedly reached out to the Government since the UNC first raised this crisis as a priority demanding attention in 2019. At that time, the Government repeatedly downplayed the severity of the pandemic, with both the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate “not being convinced of its urgency” when the Opposition brought motions to address the Covid issue.
Even at that time, senior Government officials, including some of those now in front of the cameras, like the Minister of Health, CMO, Dr Hinds etc., were also repeating that the virus was not a threat to the health and safety of the country.
“Mrs Bissessar has once more repeated her call for a bipartisan approach, including all stakeholders in addressing this national crisis. This people-centred approach requires political maturity from the Government and a real desire to work towards the resolution of this pandemic in T&T, and particularly, putting the lives of citizens first. The egos of the Government may be bruised by reaching out. Still, the fact is that while they play petty politics and engage in public relations gimmicks, our citizens are dying, our economy is collapsing, and the business community is being polarised into monopolies by select business houses and families. Our citizens deserve better,” said MP for Oropouche West.
“I support the repeated call by the Leader of the Opposition and the various interest groups who have demonstrated their patriotism in support of this call, for the Government to put its political games aside, and work together for the benefit of all the citizens of this country, in particular the middle and lower-income groups most affected by the restrictions implemented in response to the pandemic. The Government needs to focus on the welfare of the majority of its citizens and not just the friends, family and financiers of the ruling party. The time for action is now, MP Tancoo concluded.