Al-Rawi: Borough Day events cancelled to protect against covid

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Rural Development and Local Government Minister Faris Al-Rawi. –

RURAL Development and Local Government Minister Faris Al-Rawi says TT must accept the fact that notwitstanding the lifting of most public health restrictions, it is very easy for the country to still be swamped by the covid19 virus, if people and communitities are not careful and vigilant.

He said that Government decided to cancel some of the major events associated with Pt Fortin Borough Day because there is still a risk that such events could be super-spreaders of the virus.

It was announced on the weekend that regular Borough Day activities including the popular J’ouvert celebrations will no longer be held.

Speaking with Newsday on Monday, Al-Rawi told Newsday, “this is a matter several members of Cabinet discussed. The Minister of Health, me as Local Government Minister and Ag Attorney General, together with ministers in the Office of the Prime Minister and even the Prime Minister himself.”

He said the flow of data from the Ministry of Health came with caution that with the celebration coinciding with the return of children to school, it would be better to have a readjustment.

“The last thing we want is to see TT plunge, as different parts of the world are finding themselves at present, into a restriction which are brought back because of surges of a different variant or otherwise.”

Asked why a decision was taken so late – two days after Borough Day celebrations were officially launched – and after significant preparations and investments would have been made.

“You know by now that every two weeks there is an epidemiological cycling of data. This is a constant dynamism all entities of government pay attention to, and therefore, it is not uncommon for us to have constant revision every two weeks.

“This is the fluidity of the pandemic to endemic shifting.”

While events such as J’ouvert, pan extravaganza, military parade, traditional mas and all community spotlights have been cancelled, Point Fortin Mayor Saleema Thomas did not speak about whether or not privately-managed Borough Day events will continue as planned.

Asked about this, Al-Rawi said Government is trying its best to phase out the virus where they have control.

“As you know, the regulations stand. What we the Government have control over, is what the Government has control over and nothing else.

“The issue of public and private (events) stands separate. In the mayor’s release you saw that the call was made for people to try to co-operate with the whole thing. We are urging people to remember we are still in a pandemic and to manage it.”