Trinidad and Tobago: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s contraction to COVID-19 has shown that the government’s COVID measures are not working, says Rudy Indarsingh, MP of the United National Congress.
The opposition did not issue an official statement yesterday that Rowley had tested positive for COVID-19 and was in isolation. Some senior UNC MPs declined to comment, while a few simply wished him well.
But Indarsingh told local media: “His illness showed that he did not know what the COVID protocols really should be and that he showed a high level of indiscretion and discipline.”
“One would assume that the government’s COVID-19 plans would have made us, especially him, safer from COVID-19, but that is obviously not the case. Despite the fact that our borders were still closed, Prime Minister COVID-19 contracted. This indicates that continued border closure is not a foolproof measure and is still economically, socially and politically counterproductive,” Indarsingh said.
“Cabinet members, OPM staff and others in his Trinidad household, as well as in Tobago, must now be quarantined and tested. Primary and secondary contacts must be found quickly.”
Indarsingh added: “His illness also comes on the heels of a situation where his attorney general has been seen fraternizing with people without a mask. Therefore, the prime minister’s situation is not a lesson for T&T, but for all his colleagues.
“It is also noteworthy that Dr Rowley was not in the Caroni or Victoria districts but was in Tobago where two police officers recently tested positive. Along with the recent influx of people there during the Easter weekend, there are now legitimate concerns about the spread of viruses in Tobago.”
“We just have to remember what happened with the THA election in January, where PNM supporters are seen dancing without social distance or masks.”
“We now need to seriously consider whether Dr Rowley’s leadership is indeed effective and whether his government is relevant to the COVID struggle and its evolving dynamics.”
Indarsingh, as well as MPs from the opposition, Dr Lackram Bodoe, Barry Padarath and others said they would take the COVID vaccine when people in the front line and people at risk were vaccinated and according to supplies entering T&T. UNC MP Dave Tancoo said this is more or less the party’s position.
“We will ensure that those who need it get the vaccine urgently before we go for it,” Tancoo said.
Other UN officials said UN leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar had taken a similar position. They could not say whether the fact that Rowley (71) contracted the virus would ask her to change her position on when she would take the vaccine. Persad-Bissessar has managed her health issues over the years and sources added that she continues to pay attention to her health “just like everyone else does.”