The Prime Minister on Saturday night dismissed criticism about calling the general election during a pandemic when the borders are closed and some citizens will not be allowed to vote.
He said if he did not call the election, detractors would have said he had disenfranchised the country and elections should be held.
He said many countries had elections during this time under similar circumstances because no one knew how long the situation would last. However, the main purpose of the Government was the preservation of lives.
Dr Rowley made the statement during the People Nation Movement general election 2020 “Campaign Meet Up” at the new Bagatelle Community Centre in Diego Martin.
He said their election platform was not on how much money the last government “stole” or making promises they had no intention of fulfilling. Instead, they intended to tell people the facts of the circumstances of the country, and the things the PNM accomplished. The PNM campaign was about education, truth and understanding the country as people want to know about the way forward.
That was why, as the economy was severely damaged by covid19, he brought together “some of the best talent available in the country” to use the information they had to determine what had to be done to get the country out of this difficulty, to survive, and prosper.
He said the country’s biggest difficulty, with the Government being the largest employer in the country, was maintaining the livelihoods of people. It was the Government’s policy position to ensure people survived difficult periods so every person with a permanent position in a public service retained their jobs.
He told labour unions it was not easy to keep everyone employed at this time so people on the government payroll should be thankful they had a job. He also assured that when circumstances were “right” public servants would “get whatever is due to them.”
Rowley said the country was “in big trouble” before the PNM came into power in 2015 but that they had been solving problems and managing difficult situations well. And because they were managed well, some believed the country was never in difficulty.
He said the Opposition was suggesting the PNM was to blame for what was happening in the country as if richer countries than TT were not experiencing worse under the pandemic. However he said solving problems was not a popularity contest because some real solutions would not be popular .
Using Petrotrin as an example, he said the Government had been making decisions to for the benefit of TT and had been doing more with less. He added that no one in his government was “running from the police” or has used their office “to further their own interest.”
He said discipline had the country in the “good position” it was in during the pandemic. And the former government’s indecisiveness and inaction “caused the problem of Petrotrin” so that his administration had to “write of” $6 billion in debt. The refinery would still be losing $2 billion per year which would have put the country in a worse position during the pandemic.
He said voting the UNC back into government would destroy the country’s prospects going forward.
In addition, he said under the UNC the Diego Martin constituencies only received the Carenage Health Centre and the Pt Cumana RC School. But under the PNM they received a fishing complex, a walkover over the Diego Martin Highway in La Puerta, the western savannah, the Bagatelle Community Centre, and other projects were in progress.