AZP News

Rowley says No Vote is Worth a Life

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

SHOULD the Covid-19 situation in Trinidad and Tobago become overwhelming, the Government will have to make the hard decision to shut back down the country in order to protect the lives of the citizens.

Dr Keith Rowley

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said no vote was worth a life and as long as borders remained closed, it was easier on the health care system in Trinidad and Tobago to manage the present Covid-19 cases.

He was speaking during a People’s National Movement (PNM) political meeting in the constituency of Toco/Sangre Grande on Thursday. It was the last of such meetings to be held before the general election on Monday.

Rowley said, “The most important thing is to stay alive.”

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The PNM’s political leader has been heavily criticised by the Opposition and other  groups for the way TT has dealt with the global health crisis with the topic of the closure of borders being a hot one during the campaign season since some TT nationals will not be allowed to return to cast their ballots.

Rowley admitted being tired as the campaigning season is coming to a close saying it has been a difficult period for all.

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“Could you imagine this election is taking place in the middle of a pandemic, in the US alone, some of our people have died, the closest part of America to us is Florida. Florida is the hardest hit part now at this point in time in America. We have had to close our borders to the United States. How many of you ever envisioned that that could ever happen?” he asked.

“We are in the middle of pandemic what if it gets away from us we may have to go into lockdown again . We are working very hard to prevent that from happening  but if it comes so far where the only response is to withdraw what do we do?”

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Rowley said he was more concerned about the re-opening of the country than its shutting down because of the potential spread of Covid-19. As at Friday morning, the country recorded 210 cases of the virus.

He said: “The best response and the only response is to be able to treat with and deal with the cases coming to us and never have it overcome our health system . As long as it does not overcome the health system of the country, then we are in a good place and in a good position. It  is where the numbers have overcome the health system that you now have  a crisis on your hand.
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“What they were asking us to do was to open the borders, increase the numbers of inflow from very heavily affected areas and that would have guaranteed us a situation where the migrants coming in would have given us the best chance to have infection overcome our health system.”

Rowley added, “It was more difficult and I was even more nervous authorising the re-opening than I was in shutting the country down because I also knew that after you begin to open up the economy you are taking a gamble with the risk you are taking. Some countries with far more resources than we have, they have opened up and they have had to shut back down immediately.”

Rowley said the situation with Covid-19 has transformed the agricultural sector with many citizens starting home gardening and showing more interest in farming. Should he become Prime Minister again, some $500 million more would be allocated  to that sector that has become increasingly important this year.

He spoke about reviving the cocoa industry especially for young people in the eastern part of the country where the soil was good for growing planting cocoa. Opportunities would include training, allocation of land and financial aid until crops were ready to be harvested.

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