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[UPDATED] PM slams latest UNC covid claims – Trinidad and Tobago Newsday


Dr Keith Rowley
Dr Keith Rowley

THE Prime Minister is questioning claims from the Opposition UNC about how recently reintroduced covid19 restrictions, such as the closure of beaches and no in-house dining in certain establishments, would destroy the economy. Dr Rowley, who has been in quarantine at the Prime Minister’s residence in Blenheim, Tobago since testing covid19 positive on April 6, asked this question in a post on his Facebook page.

“Please. Somebody help me! I’m trying to figure out exactly what is the latest UNC undermining strategy.”

Referring to statements made at a UNC news conference in Port of Spain on Sunday, Rowley said on the news he saw Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh “apparently stumbling to read an attack on the latest rollback of selected national activities on the day when we reported almost record levels of infection in community spread of the covid19 virus.

He said Indarsingh claimed “we should not have any of these restrictions because they will destroy the economy.” Rowley asked, “What do they think an explosion of covid19 sickness will do, protect and expand the economy?

“If we don’t do any disruption now as the UNC is demanding, will the economy be better off in a full-blown covid19 takeover eventually requiring full-scale lockdown as some countries are currently experiencing?”

Rowley said it was interesting that Indarsingh “who advocates the ‘do nothing’ to ‘protect the economy'” approach, “then says that the current unacceptable increase today should be blamed on the Government for not shutting down Tobago and elsewhere during and around Easter.”

He said from the Opposition’s statements, there seemed to be no economic consideration for Easter activities. “Incidentally,” he said, “the spike we are facing now didn’t start in Tobago. Well before Easter, the CMO’s (Chief Medical Officer’s) maps showed a progression from deep south to Caroni to the East-West corridor.”

On Indarsingh’s call for data, Rowley replied, ” The most worrisome data is an increase in hospital occupancy from five to 25 per cent in the last couple of weeks. That trajectory is the biggest threat to the economy.”

Rowley asked whether the UNC genuinely cared about the economy or “do they just say anything or do anything that they think will undermine a national fight when common sense tells us that we should all be pulling together.”

He concluded, “Talking on both sides of an issue and from both sides of your mouth is not helpful(,) it is pitifully self-serving.”

Responding to the Prime Minister, Indarsingh said it was good to know that Rowley was well and on the mend.

“The pronouncements and the language tells me that he is on the mend as he is in his usual style of wanting to be insulting when you attempt to hold the government to account.”

He said there should have been proper leadership from the Government to ensure that the safety protocols were adhered to and enforced.

“If he did not openly encourage people to have a mass gathering and so on – the Prime Minister was the one telling everyone to go to Tobago and so on. No one is against people having a good time and contributing to the economy but you have to do it in a responsible manner and you have to ensure there is enforcement and safety protocols that are adhered to. All the reports we have seen say there was a breakdown in these things.”

Indarsingh called on the Rowley and his Cabinet to apologise to everyone who has contracted covid19 in this latest phase as well as those who have died. He said it was Rowley’s responsibility as head of the National Security Council to see that protocols were followed. (
With reporting by PAULA LINDO)

This story has been adjusted to include additional details. See original post below.

THE Prime Minister is questioning claims from the Opposition UNC about how recently reintroduced covid19 restrictions, such as the closure of beaches and no in-house dining in most eating-places would destroy the economy.

Dr Rowley, who has been in quarantine at the Prime Minister’s residence in Blenheim, Tobago since testing covid19-positive on April 6, asked this in a post on his Facebook page

“Please. Somebody help me! I’m trying to figure out exactly what is the latest UNC undermining strategy.”

Referring to statements made at a UNC news conference in Port of Spain on Sunday, Rowley said on the news he saw Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh “apparently stumbling to read an attack on the latest rollback of selected national activities on the day when we reported almost record levels of infection in community spread of the covid19 virus.

He said Indarsingh claimed “we should not have any of these restrictions because they will destroy the economy.” Rowley asked, “What do they think an explosion of covid19 sickness will do, protect and expand the economy?

“If we don’t do any disruption now as the UNC is demanding, will the economy be better off in a full-blown covid19 takeover eventually requiring full-scale lockdown as some countries are currently experiencing?”

Rowley said it was interesting that Indarsingh “who advocates the ‘do nothing’ to ‘protect the economy'” approach, “then says that the current unacceptable increase today should be blamed on the Government for not shutting down Tobago and elsewhere during and around Easter.”

He said from the Opposition’s statements, there seemed to be no economic consideration for Easter activities. “Incidentally,” h said, “the spike we are facing now didn’t start in Tobago. Well before Easter, the CMO’s (Chief Medical Officer’s) maps showed a progression from deep south to Caroni to the East-West Corridor.”

On Indarsingh’s call for data, Rowley replied, ” The most worrisome data is an increase in hospital occupancy from five to 25 per cent in the last couple of weeks. That trajectory is the biggest threat to the economy.”

Rowley asked whether the UNC genuinely cared about the economy or “do they just say anything or do anything that they think will undermine a national fight when common sense tells us that we should all be pulling together.”

He concluded, “Talking on both sides of an issue and from both sides of your mouth is not helpful (,) it is pitifully self-serving.”

Reference