WHILE Trinidad and Tobago cannot afford another lockdown, it will not beg for Covid-19 vaccines.
This was the comments made by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley at the Conversations with the Prime Minister programme that was televised on Thursday evening.
He said funding a second lockdown was out of the question.
The prime minister said, “And if you think if we getting back into that situation means we will find the resources to fund it again, I’m putting this country on notice. The resources are not available.”
Dr Rowley therefore called on citizens to adhere to the Covid-19 guidelines to keep the infection rate low.
He said, “We have pretty much used up what little wiggle room we had to fund support in the way that it was funded last year.”
Dr Rowley said the country could not find the money to give 50,000 to 60,000 people with (Covid-19 relief) cheques as was done in the past.
He said, “Remember what happened in May in April and March of last year? Somebody has to fund that.
“Because if there is no money to pay for lockdown, because a lot of people will not be going to jobs, a lot of businesses won’t be able to carry their staff and pay them for coming to work.”
Dr Rowley said T&T will not go “begging” for Covid-19 vaccines as gifts.
He reiterated the statements by Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh who said that T&T will only use vaccines that were approved by World Health Organization (WHO).
Dr Rowley referred to statements by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar that the Government did not position itself to receive a portion of 500,000 vaccines that India sent to the region.
The prime minister said, “When you go to somebody asking for a gift, you’re begging.
“I have been accused of not moving to get T&T’s share of some 500,000 vaccines from the Government of India.
“A lot of people in this country either, by ancestry or by political persuasion, have taken it upon themselves to be mouthpieces for the government of India.”
Dr Rowley said his Government was accused of all manner of evil by people claiming it was not moving to get 500,000 vaccines that were available from India.
He said via communications with India, there was no confirmation of 500,000 vaccines being available and T&T was not invited to be part of any free vaccine distribution programme.