Paray: Govt downplayed covid19 for short-term gains

Mayaro MP Rushton Paray. -
Mayaro MP Rushton Paray. -

MAYARO MP Rushton Paray has claimed Government downplayed the covid19 situation.

He was contributing to debate on The Public Health (Amendment) Bill in the House on Friday.

Paray said the Attorney General presented a very important piece of legislation and all previous colleagues who contributed expressed widespread support for this legislation to control the pandemic which is affecting the entire world and getting worse in TT.

He said it was fascinating and somewhat disturbing that this was the same Government which said covid19 would not be a threat to TT. He added it was the same Health Minister who was on television saying the chances of TT getting infections was remote and non-existent.

"In successive weeks, the same minister underplayed the international pandemic and failed to prepare the country for the eventual rate of infections."

He said TT has descended from a seemingly safe position to now widespread community infections.

"One can only assume it is because of gross ineptitude in the management of this medical issue and the deliberate downplaying of the problem for short-term gains by this administration."

Paray said the legislation to penalise citizens for not wearing masks was because of the lack of Government's credibility to encourage citizens to wear masks on their own. He said he was aware of 50 jurisdictions that were able to overcome the worst of this crisis without punitive consequences. He stressed, Government would need to double the public awareness effort on wearing masks, physical distancing, respiratory etiquette and hand washing.

"Get out there and reinforce and re-energise the education campaign."

Chaguanas West MP Dinesh Rambally, in his maiden contribution, said for the past three days he had been inundated with calls and messages about covid19. He reported there was an area in Felicity with a lot of cases and it appeared the recent home-quarantining policy was not actually working.

On Deyalsingh, he said ignorance may be bliss, but on his handling of the covid19 situation he was either lacking knowledge "or you were downright reckless". He said while his public statements changed by the day the Opposition Leader was consistent in her calls for ramping up testing.

"If they ramped up testing we would never have this situation with...hundreds of cases and over 15 deaths."

Princes Town MP Barry Padarath in his contribution said Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh's contribution reminded him of a David Rudder calypso line "this is not a fete in here this is madness."

"I could not tell and he could not tell if he was coming or going."

He said the same minister who advised TT would not experience a covid19 explosion now months later after the horse had already bolted "we are here cleaning up the mess left by this administration."

Padarath said while driving to Parliament Friday he saw hundreds of people lined up at government offices wearing masks but not practising social distancing. He expressed concern a similar situation could occur with people paying their fixed penalty notices under the law.

He also said there needed to be clarity in the law and cautioned Government not to "rush legislation" as they did in the 11th Parliament and then have to return two to three days later with a miscellaneous bill.

He also took the opportunity to thank the people of his constituency that "stood strong and resilient in their support" of him. He congratulated his colleagues and the new members of Parliament.

"There is great hope in TT with many more young persons (in the Parliament)."

He recalled in the 11th Parliament he was the youngest member in the House but now that was Barataria/San Juan MP Saddam Hosein and Chaguanas East MP Vandana Mohit.


"Paray: Govt downplayed covid19 for short-term gains"

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