OROPOUCHE East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal said the Prime Minister could not use the fact that his daughter is stranded in New York to justify Government's decision to close TT's borders to prevent the spread of covid19 and abandon several TT nationals in foreign countries.
On Monday, Dr Rowley said one of his two daughters was stranded in New York, regarded as the epicentre of covid19 in the US. He also spoke about discussions with the governments of Barbados and Jamaica to bring TT students at the UWI campuses in both countries home if they wanted to return.
At a news conference at his constituency office in Debe, Moonilal said, "The Prime Minister has a reason for saying that." He added it was another issue, "whether the Prime Minister would want her back or whether she in the first place would want to come back."
Moonilal, who has a young son, said, "If my child was abroad, I would want him to stay and protect himself wherever he is." He also said Barataria/San Juan MP Dr Fuad Khan has a daughter living in London, who also could not return home.
Moonilal said Rowley's daughter had the economic means to take care of herself and would prefer to stay where she is, rather than return to TT. He claimed the same could not be said for other TT nationals, including several elderly people who could not return home.
Moonilal claimed, "Those citizens are stateless." He told reporters he received calls from some nationals who are stranded in Barbados and three of them are his constituents.
Moonilal claimed that Government refused to allow those people to return home, leaving the Barbados government to care for them. He said the Opposition Leader wrote to Barbados Prime Minister to thank her for helping them.
Moonilal also claimed that Government is now creating a narrative "where we blame persons who went on vacation, whether on cruise on land" before TT closed its borders as part of measures to combat covid19.
Moonilal alleged, "The Govermment is seeking to put blame on those persons so that the domestic population who are here will develop an animosity, a hate even in some cases, and will support Government with steps to abandon nationals throughout the world."
Referring to a group of 35 TT nationals who were in South Africa who could not return home before the borders were closed on Tuesday at midnight, Moonilal said he was consulting lawyers to see if legal action could be taken in the matter.
He also disclosed the Opposition will ask National Security Minister Stuart Young in Parliament on Wednesday to say how many people were granted exemptions to enter TT, before and after the borders were closed. Moonilal knew of one person who received such an exemption and he had no issue with that.
He also claimed there were problems in the way in which food cards announced by the Government on Monday were to be distributed.