Persad-Bissessar urges government: Use trust, not fear, in pandemic policy

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar says while swift action is needed to control the spread of the coronarivus, she is urging the government not to use tactics of coercion against the people in its pandemic response.

Last Saturday the Prime Minister announced that all public servants will be required to be vaccinated to go to work, or they can choose to stay at home without pay.

At a media conference on Thursday, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi said the government’s “safe zone” policy for public-sector workers would remain in place even after meetings with various trade unions.

In her Christmas message on Friday, Persad-Bissessar thanked frontline workers for the selflessness and sense of duty while urging them to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

She acknowledged while there were difficulties in the rate of covid19 cases and deaths, there were also socio-economic challenges brought on by the pandemic and urged everyone to give to the less fortunate.

Noting the teachings of Jesus Christ who used love, respect and hope to amass followers, Persad-Bissessar urged the authorities to reconsider their approach to tackling the pandemic while respecting people’s decisions.

“I once again urge the government to refrain from its policy of employing fear, intimidation and coercion towards our citizens in response to this pandemic.

“Instead, the Government must win hearts and minds by utilising respect and fostering mutual trust between themselves and the people they serve. Only by doing this can we work together as one national family to overcome this pandemic.”

Amidst the challenges, she also urged the public not to forget Jesus Christ and emulate his teachings of sacrifice and service to humanity.

She also said she was confident TT would continue to weather these difficulties into the new year.

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