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UNC: Lockdown is death knell for Trinidad and Tobago economy – Trinidad and Tobago Newsday


Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh (right) Photo by Angelo Marcelle
Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh (right) Photo by Angelo Marcelle

The Opposition said the latest shutdown will sound the death knell for Trinidad and Tobago’s economy. It called on Government to do more to preserve the jobs of workers in the formal economy.

Speaking at a media conference at the office of the Leader of the Opposition on Sunday, Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh said while the government has said that covid19 has crashed the economy, the Opposition maintained that it was poor economic decisions which led to the current state of the economy.

Mayaro MP Rushton Paray asked where was the data which led a three-week lockdown period.

“There has been no investigation as to where the sources of these infections have come from.”

Indarsingh said the Prime Minister had been negligent in being proactive about putting measures in place to deal with gatherings and travel over the Easter weekend.

“The spikes in covid19 cases must be placed at feet of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet, who decided not to implement any lockdown until after the Easter holidays knowing fully well of the projected heightened activity in Tobago as reports were that guesthouses and flights were booked.

“The Prime Minister stood by and played God knowing that travel to Tobago would have risk not just for Tobago but for the entire country. Our view is that they deliberately ignored dangers associated with the Easter weekend in the face of increased economic activity, and we are of the opinion that this ignoring of what was the reality was because an election in Tobago was imminent.

“Last year the government did not encourage the free-for-all during the Easter weekend, is it because the Prime Minister is obsessed with the election in Tobago and the possible outcome?”

Paray, when asked the distinction between a lockdown and restrictions, said “It’s semantics at the end of the day what terms you use, but when you have businesses who (sic) have to send home workers, they cannot keep those workers because of sales, when you have restaurants that have to give people food in brown paper bags, those are restrictions.

“While other territories are not affected by those sort of restrictions, here in TT people have to physically come out to work. How do we manage those employees in a time such as this?”

Paray said the UNC would have dealt with the lockdown differently, based on the data available. Indarsingh said consultation would have taken place with business owners, trade unions, and other stakeholders before putting measures in place.

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