AZP News

Only If Virus Out of Control, Then Elections Will be Postponed

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PRIME Minister Dr Keith Rowley has dismissed any notion of postponing the August 10 General Elections, due to the recent spike in Covid-19 cases.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley

As of Thursday morning, Trinidad and Tobago has 197 cases of Covid-19.

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With the increase, two groups – Peoples’ Empowerment Party (PEP) and Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) – wrote to President Paula-Mae Weekes calling for the postponement of the elections.

During a media conference on Wednesday, Dr Rowley said, “The threshold for postponing the elections is a situation that the virus is out of control or is likely to be out of control in TT. That threshold is not met and is not anywhere near us.”

In his response to reporters, he said, “The numbers you have mentioned, I tried to explain a while ago the number by itself is not the whole question, where those numbers came from, all that increase between 139 to where we’re at, we have been able to identify most of those and the ones we haven’t identified are under active investigation.”

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He insisted, “We’re not seeing a large amount of people coming and presenting with Covid-19 symptoms and the proof of the pudding is in the eating. If we were underplaying those numbers and people were ragingly sick out there, they will show up at the hospital and at their doctors office. That’s not happening so that’s why we’re saying we are confident that we have a good handle on it.”

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“But we’re not going to expose ourselves to it, to a situation where it could get out of control and then there’ll be a genuine case for the election to be postponed. We are not there yet and we don’t expect to be there in how many hours that election is away,” Rowley said.

He assured, “The model says that once we follow the protocol that the EBC (Elections and Boundaries Commission) has set out and that we set out for the nation, the activity of polling is not any extraordinary activity.”
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In shifting focus to voters, Rowley said, “We haven’t lost one person yet from our senior citizens’ home. I would be very surprised if anybody goes to those homes to take out anybody to carry them to a polling station.”
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“I expect that we’ll conduct this election without them and the reason being nobody wants to trample on their rights in the constitution but because they are so exposed, this is the pandemic election,” he added.
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