Amid crime spree, covid19 explosion – PM to address nation on Thurs

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley. FILE PHOTO –

THE Prime Minister will address the nation on Thursday at 8 pm.

Notice of Dr Rowley’s address was given in a statement by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) to all media houses, as well as on the OPM’s Facebook page.

Rowley’s address will be broadcast on TTT, TV6, CNC3, IETV, MCTV, Synergy TV and all major radio stations. No other information was provided about the reasons for his address to the nation.

Rowley’s address comes one week after the House of Representatives sat on November 17 to pass a motion he filed to lift the state of the emergency (SoE) from midnight that day.

The end of the SoE resulted in the end of an associated 10 pm-5 am curfew, designed to limit the movement of people in public places to reduce the spread of the virus.

At least 14 murders have been committed since the ending of the SoE which also coincided with a rise in covid19 cases and death.

In the space of eight days, between November 17 – when the SoE ended – and Wednesday, there have been a whopping 4,580 infections or 572.5 cases per day and 124 deaths or 15.5 deaths per day.

At a news conference at the Diplomatic Centre on May 15, Rowley said an SoE would be implemented from midnight that day, in response to rising covid19 cases.

President Paula-Mae Weekes, in accordance with the Constitution, subsequently issued the relevant proclamation to give effect to the SoE and for the House to sit to treat with the matter.

The House met on May 24 and extended the SoE to August 29. At a second meeting of the House on August 25, the SoE was extended until November 29.

But at a news conference at the Diplomatic Centre on November 13, Rowley announced the SoE would be lifted on November 17, 12 days before it was originally supposed to end. At that time, Rowley said the SoE had served its purpose to curb the spread of covid19 through limiting congregating and reducing physical movement, while efforts were made to acquire covid19 vaccines.

“We have done that. The SoE gave us breathing room… that and the vaccination programme.”

The Opposition claimed that Government only lifted the SoE because it could not get parliamentary support for any further extensions.

Rowley’s address also comes as campaigning for the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election on December 6 intensifies. He has publicly denied Opposition claims that the SoE was lifted because the PNM feared it would lose that election.