UNC MP: Covid poorly handled during Carnival

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

TALKING TO THE PHONE: Caroni East MP Rishad Seecharan looks directly at a cellphne which was recording him as he spoke at the UNC’s weekly Sunday press conference at the Office of the Opposition Leader in Port of Spain. PHOTO BY ROGER JACOB

THE Opposition says Government could have better managed the covid pandemic during the recently concluded Carnival celebrations.

The comments came from Caroni East MP Dr Rishad Seecharan, one of the speakers at the Opposition’s weekly Sunday press conference at the Office of the Leader of the Opposition, Port of Spain.

Seecharan and Opposition Senator Wade Mark spoke on a number of issues including the pandemic, Carnival, the eviction of residents at the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) apartment complex on Duncan Street and the closure of TT’s mission in Brussels bank account.

Seecharan said Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh should have put measures in place for Carnival. In its post-Carnival covid19 update, the ministry reported eight more deaths and 559 new cases in the week from Carnival Tuesday to last week Tuesday. There were also 396 active positive cases and 53 people being treated in hospital.

“There is a lot more that Minister Deyalsingh could do. Almost 50 per cent of our population is unvaccinated, so to the discerning foreigner who would like to travel to TT, there are hundreds of thousands of people who are unvaccinated.

“We also do not have the best drugs and equipment available for someone that would be accustomed to a high level of medical and healthcare facilities like in the US, Canada and Europe,” Seecharan said.

In January, the Prime Minister held a press conference where he said the annual festival would go on despite rising covid19 cases and called on people to take personal responsibility during the festival.

Seecharan said during Carnival, covid19 kits should have been freely distributed to anyone requesting it and free covid19 testing booths should have been set up at all Carnival hubs.

Testing should also have been free during Carnival, he said.

Seecharan said the ministry should have also set up a National Carnival covid19 hotline where people who tested positive with mild symptoms could request treatment through the hotline.

He said TT was dealing with the pandemic of the unvaccinated. He said suggestions given by the Opposition were not acted upon.

Mark, later in the press conference, also addressed a media report on the weekend which spoke to allegations of hacking of the e-mail of former prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar by an Israeli firm. He called for an immediate investigation into allegations contained in that media report.