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 Commentary: My Covid-19 Twilight Zone

Commentary: My Covid-19 Twilight Zone

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By Alicia Chamely

PRIME Minister Keith Rowley, sensing the tension brewing among his people, decided to placate his people with an oh so charming Facebook post introducing the nation to his newest dog… aww.

Naturally, my first instinct was to leave a snarky reply asking if he had paid for the dog or was it a gift.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley posted this photo on his Facebook page on Thursday with the words ‘Introducing Haze’ and a dog emoji

Luckily, Jesus laid a hand and, by some divine intervention, I choose to take the high road and just steups with dissatisfaction.

Forgive me, but I have genuinely had enough of this vaccine twilight zone we are currently trapped in and, our PM really hasn’t done much other than further aggravate the already aggravated public.

The high and mighty approach that has been taken by Dr Rowley may work in parliamentary squabbles and on election platforms, but when it comes to the health and safety of our nation it is simply not cutting it.

A new high point in absurdity came this week when ANSA CEO Anthony Sabga III, who had previously vowed to purchase vaccinations for 6,000 plus ANSA employees and their families, revealed he had been approached by the Government on February 18th requesting assistance in procuring the Pfizer vaccine.

Sabga said ANSA had no issues purchasing 351,000 doses of the vaccine for the Government at the cost of US$8.4 million.

He asked however the Government ensure the foreign exchange needed was made available, and that the purchase be credited against their taxes for the financial year 2021.

This is totally reasonable!

I saw someone saying why couldn’t ANSA just use their own US reserves, and I instantly had the urge to slam my head into my desk.

Let me break this down for that genius, and all other smarty pants’ who may think the same. The US currently owned by ANSA is for their business operations. It is used to purchase materials and equipment they need for their subsidiaries to, you know, stay operational and keep people employed.

See that icy cold Stag beer you plan on drinking, how do you think ANSA purchased the hops needed for the brewing process? With marbles? No clown with US dollars.

Furthermore, this was a big ask from the Government and I do not see an issue with ANSA asking for tax credits, its simple business.

Now the country’s greatest pet owner apparently didn’t like this, and as we know he seems to have a serve allergy to humble pie.

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So Rowley took to puffing up his chest on one of his Conversations With The Prime Minister segments, and patted himself on the back a number of times for turning down a “major conglomerate.”

Dude! If a large organisation can secure vaccines because they can offer suppliers a more competitive price and are willing to purchase them for the government why deny them?

I do not know how much more times this needs to be said, but the government is not in the position to refuse help.

Naturally our minister of health got caught in between this show down of words; first denying the ANSA deal, then flipping his switch and saying the ministry is currently working with both ANSA and the Supermarket Association of T&T to ensure we get the vaccines we need.

But alas! Get ready to be excited people, because remember those 337,000 Astra Zenica vaccines from COVAX that our Government put a $10 million down payment on in September 2020, turns out they are finally on their way.

Not all of them, because you know it’s a big conspiracy against smaller nations getting vaccines, but a total of 33,600! Yipee we are saved!

Oh even better news? Turns out the High Commissioner of India got so fed of our squabbling and pettiness, that he broke down and the Government of India will now be “gifting” us with 40,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. But wait a minute, India has now stopped exporting Covid-19 vaccines because they need it for their own people.

It is important to remember we didn’t beg for this gift, we just did what Trinis do best and caused such a commotion that the other party would do anything to shut us up.

And alas the Government of China has promised a donation of 100,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine, which has yet to be approved by the World Health Organization.

Erm, didn’t our PM and doting dog daddy, say he would only accept WHO approved vaccines. I guess in this instance he felt beggars couldn’t be choosers.

What bothered me the most of all this week in the never ending saga of Covid-19 and the fight for vaccines is that the government seemed almost insulted by the business community’s offer to help.

Large business organisations are constantly vilified in our national narrative, and it seems every time they try to step up to help they get shot down.

The fact is if ANSA, Massy and the lot wanted to, they could get the vaccines themselves for their staff.

So when one of these organisations is willing to help with something absolutely needed, the government should shake their hands, shed some tears and do what is best of the people they were elected to serve.


While we continue to turn blue from holding our breath, waiting for vaccines, I would like to remind people that Covid-19 is still a thing. This recent spike does not bode well for us. Remember the days of lockdown? So let’s just hold our tails for a while longer. I really want to go to the beach for Easter and if they close it because of a pack of dummies spreading Covid, I’m going to blow.

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