UNITED National Congress (UNC) deputy political leader David Lee has denied the party blocked Caroni Central MP Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie from serving on the Roadmap to Recovery team.
Lee said in a media statement on Thursday that he has taken note of reports that he barred Tewarie from serving on the team.
The 23-member committee, chaired by the Prime Minister, includes business and industry leaders, former public servants and politicians and tasked with creating the outline for the country’s economic rebound after the restrictions put in place to mitigate the spread of covid19 are lifted.
Lee said: "On behalf of the UNC, I would like to set the record straight by informing the public that such actions never occurred."
He said that while a request for Tewarie's services was submitted to the Leader of the Opposition, it was for Tewarie to serve, as team co-vice chairman and Public Utilities Minister Robert Le Hunte publicly stated on Tuesday, “in his individual capacity,”
Lee wrote, "Despite the Leader of the Opposition’s public calls over the past weeks for the establishment of a bipartisan committee to manage the country's handling of covid19, at no point in Mr Le Hunte’s e-mailed request was such invitation extended to the UNC. It was on this premise that we responded to Minister Le Hunte informing him that 'while it is clear that you can invite anyone to join your committee, in the circumstances, they will not be representing the views of the UNC, as no such representatives have been requested of the UNC.'"
He said the UNC response "never stopped, prevented nor informed the Government that Dr Tewarie could not be a member of the (Roadmap) to Recovery committee."
He added the Opposition,not having been invited to take part in the committee’s deliberations, still saw it as the party's national duty to share its National Economic Transformation Master Plan 2020-2025 in their response in an effort to contribute to returning the nation to the path of growth and development.
"As a result, besides developing our own team to consistently monitor and refine our plans to address the ongoing crisis, the Opposition Leader has instructed Dr Tewarie to file a private motion for the upcoming private members’ day in Parliament calling for the Opposition’s proposals to be considered by the Government and for a genuine bipartisan team be developed."
He said it was clear that this narrative by the Government was an attempt to distract the population "from their haphazard approach in addressing the economic woes facing our nation as a result of the covid19 pandemic.
"As a population, we must remain focused on keeping the Government accountable at a time when they are boasting that they have spent billions on covid19 relief yet thousands of citizens continue to be heavily burdened by the prevailing conditions. The UNC will remain vigilant on the actions of this Government as we have seen that many of the promises made to cushion our population in this crisis are yet to materialise."