Gopeesingh: Government managing pandemic poorly

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Dr Tim Gopeesingh –

Temporary opposition senator Dr Tim Gopeesingh heavily criticised the Minister of Health and the medical team designated to manage the covid19 pandemic, saying it has been gross negligence and mismanagement.

He was speaking in the Senate on Tuesday afternoon in the debate for the Appropriation Bill 2022 where he called for immediate resignations or dismissals.

Gopeesingh said Health Minister Terrance Deyalsingh and the government used the medical advisory team to falsely push a narrative that the pandemic was being handled successfully and accused that it was used a propaganda machine for the general 2020 elections.

He said, “There are shortages of appropriate pharmaceuticals and lab agents, acute shortages of test kits, deliberate under testing to suit the People’s National Movement (PNM) agenda and hoodwinking the population for election purposes in August, giving the false impression that they had fantastic management of the pandemic but with dangerous, misleading covid19 propaganda.”

Gopeesingh claimed a lack of equipment, underemployment, unemployment and victimisation in the health sector continued to remain high, without any intervention for safety or job security.

He added that the medical advisory team inclusive of the Chief Medical Officer, must also resign or be fired.

“Sixteen hundred unfortunate citizens have lost their lives from covid19. This government has spent nearly $42 billion on health in the last six years, and in this pandemic more than $5 billion. We are forty-ninth in the world in death per population.

“With such gross irresponsibility and bewildering incompetency and serious mismanagement and that type of behaviour and attitude, I call for the immediate resignation of Deyalsingh or be fired,” Gopeesingh said.

He called for a confidential commission of inquiry into the covid19 deaths, which he said would provide information into management of the pandemic and bring closure to the victims’ families.

“Confidential, so we would know where we are going wrong. It’s almost 20 months into this pandemic and we still don’t know what is happening. Hundreds of grieving families have unanswered questions surrounding the deaths of their loved ones.”

Government senator Dr Muhammed Yunus Ibrahim countered Gopeesingh’s claims and defended the medical advisory team, saying they were working with an evolving medical dilemma, like the rest of the world.

Ibrahim said, “To come down on them (medical advisory team) in such a manner is to breathe havoc, doubt and lack of competence which undermines the man on the street thinking of who is responsible for their lives.

“Regrettably for everybody in this world, every nation, every state covid19 caught everyone with their pants down. Everything in the medical field was turned upside down because they were now faced with supply and demand issues.”