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 Commentary: Callous To Remove SoE

File photo: Officers on patrol during curfew hours in May. AZP News/Azlan Mohammed

Commentary: Callous To Remove SoE

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By Neil Gosine

WE are experiencing another Covid-19 upsurge as 22 people lost their lives on Saturday in one of the highest daily figures for deaths since the pandemic started last year.

May 18 recorded 23 deaths, the highest daily figure thus far in Trinidad and Tobago.

The Delta is one of the most transmissible variants and is spreading like wildfire. Yet amidst this outbreak and call from the health experts to adhere to Covid-19 protocols, the Dr Keith Rowley-led Government sees it fit to end the State of Emergency (SoE) early so they can campaign for an election in Tobago.

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While the death toll from Covid-19 now stands close to 1,900, the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election will be held on December 6. The prime minister has decided he cannot run an effective campaign during a SoE in Tobago as the SoE was supposed to end at the end of this month.

He went ahead against expert advice and moved up the date to November 17 so that they can facilitate campaigning. In a blatant disregard of the rising death figures and positive tested cases way above what we have seen when we were forced into a total lockdown for the last two years, the Government has shown its true colours and real priority. It’s clear that they do not put the country’s safety first, instead they are only interested in their own self-interest, they are only concerned about their own wealth, their own well-being and attaining power at any cost.

Covid-19 experts and epidemiologists insist that this is a bad move as T&T death rate is still going up and means that our handling of this epidemic is not effective. Our Ministry of Health has been warning that ICUs are almost at full capacity. Therefore if we continue down this road there will be a total disaster, a total breakdown of our parallel healthcare system.

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A minister of health says that he is “deathly afraid” that citizens will start partying again once the curfew is lifted, yet the Government for expediency and without care of human life has made another callous decision to remove the SoE earlier even when its own Minster of Health Terrance Deyalsingh is apparently saying the opposite.

This just shows that he’s obviously putting up a show for the publicity and the hypocrisy of his administration.

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We must all understand that while they are lifting the SoE in reality it’s just a ploy to campaign and have their will enforced on the public as it does not mean that the threat of Covid-19 is less.

The Government has spent more than $5 billion on Covid-19 in the last two years without proper accounting for these funds and in this THA campaign expect another superspreader, another surge in late December as campaigning in the streets, dancing and walkabouts are prominent during this period.

It’s a pappyshow as cases tend to rise after massive gatherings and just as what occurred in the 2020 elections, these activities put a large number of people at risk and open them up to infections especially when they move through the areas campaigning. More people are gathering together to eat, drink, socialise without physical distancing during these campaigns. This puts us at risk and the whole economy of Tobago at risk if there is a surge In Covid-19 cases.

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Don’t get me wrong, I do not support any more lockdowns as our lives and livelihoods are at risk and our economy has taken a massive hit and will be totally destroyed if we have another lockdown.

However, anyone with eyes to see can clearly see the hypocrisy and total disregard for T&T citizens once it comes to this Government and its insatiable desire to win the election and specifically the THA elections at any cost.

I really hope we can afford the price after the rivalry, the hype, and after the exposure that these dangerous behaviours bring during an election. I pray that we do not end up worse than before where many of our loved ones are lost. Where there is another infectious outbreak and we are left in desperate need of hope for better leadership.

(Neil Gosine is an insurance executive, the North East Regional Coordinator of the United National Congress and a former chairman of NP. The comments and opinions expressed by him in this column are not necessarily those of AZPNews.com, a division of Complete Image Limited.)

 

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