Gopeesingh wants police action on covid19 deaths

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Former education minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh speaks at the Office of the Opposition Leader in Port of Spain on Sunday. – Ayanna Kinsale

Former education minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh is calling on acting Commissioner of Police Mc Donald Jacob to investigate claims of negligence by “many” covid19 patients. He said heads must roll.

Gopeesingh was speaking at a news conference on Sunday at the Office of the Opposition Leader in Port of Spain.

“You must set up a team to investigate what went wrong and how many people died needlessly and carelessly. That is a crime committed upon the citizens of TT.

“I asked the Director of Public Prosecutions to work with the commissioner of police. People must be held accountable for their deaths.”

TT has recorded a total of 4,132 covid19-related deaths as at Sunday.

Gopeesingh accused the government of failing to save people’s lives by not correcting the wrongs in the health system.

He referred to a Cabinet-appointed committee’s findings on the factors contributing to clinical outcomes of covid19 patients in TT. The committee was chaired by Prof Terence Seemungal and was tasked with investigating covid19 management in TT.

The 105-page report, dated February 14, was delivered to the government on February 15.

“Government refused to implement the findings and recommendations in the Seemungal report.

“Nineteen recommendations were made, and none has been implemented, and this was laid in Parliament six months ago.

He charged that the report “points to criminal negligence.”

The report, Gopeesingh said, shows that 95 per cent of the patients who went into the ICU died.

The former Caroni East MP also accused the government of hiding information.

He repeatedly criticised the Prime Minister, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, and CEO of the North Central Regional Health Authority Davlin Thomas for their handling of covid19.

On August 23, Dr Rowley promised to instruct the Finance Minister to make a special payment to health workers in the next budget.

Gopeesingh said the statement is “political gimmickry,” considering the country is set to go to the local government election in the next few months.

The announcement came on the heels of the protests by the trade union movement over outstanding wage negotiations.

The opposition, Gopeesingh said, knows the statement would not be fulfilled.

He charged that the last national survey of non-communicable diseases was done in 2011 under the Kamla Persad-Bissessar administration.

Gopeesingh said many patients find themselves in a position where they do not have access to medication.

“Patients with cancer have been dying from lack of chemotherapeutic agents to get the chemotherapy.”

He called for a general election now, saying the only alternative government is the UNC.