Member of Parliament for Oropouche East Dr Roodal MoonilalPhoto/T&T Parliament
By Sue-Ann Wayow
THE entire situation involving the non-receipt of Covid-19 vaccines in Trinidad and Tobago is one of a Covid-19 dictatorship led by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
On Monday night, during the United National Congress (UNC) virtual meeting, Dr Roodal Moonilal and other speakers continued to lament the lack of the vaccines with Dr Moonilal challenging Dr Rowley to take a vaccine manufactured in China first to assure the population of its efficacy.
Dr Moonilal said, “He (Dr Rowley) is developing… one of the first Covid-19 dictators in this country.”
The PNM was using the pandemic to justify “raiding the Heritage and Stabalisation Fund, trampling on constitutional rights and freedoms, a multitude of failures in the health sector, education sector and energy sector and the failed management of the economy, he added.
“The vaccine fiasco is but one element of a Covid dictatorship,” he said.
Listing out statistics from other countries, Dr Moonilal said the vaccine programme was conveniently measured by the New York Times as vaccines per 100 people per country with the United States receiving 38 per 100, the United Kingdom, 45 per 100 and Trinidad and Tobago only one per hundred.
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar also criticised Dr Rowley for not efficiently doing his part in securing vaccines and spent most of her speech reading from correspondence especially between ANSA McAL and the Ministry of Health, details of which were published in a press release by ANSA on Monday.
Dr Moonilal said, “Tonight, I challenge PM Rowley to take the Chinese vaccine first!”
He added that there were no proper procurement processes for the Chinese vaccinations.
Dr Moonilal said Dr Rowley continued his blame game, complaining that rich countries were hoarding vaccines when other Caribbean Community (Caricom), the organisation he chairs were receiving supplies.
Dr Moonilal said, “When pressed on the vaccine arrival in Parliament last week Rowley says he don’t know when they coming but soon we will have a flow of vaccine – he cannot give us a flow of water in the tap he wants to give a flow of vaccine.”
Speaking about the procurement of vaccines by the private sector, Dr Moonilal said the inability by the Government to already secure vaccines has forced private citizens to step up to the task that was Government’s responsibility.
Members of Parliament Dr Lackram Bodoe, Ravi Ratiram and Khadijah Ameen and UNC activist Kareem Baird also spoke on Monday night.