The Opposition Leader is calling on Government to do more to secure the country’s borders, following the revelation that the Brazilian variant of covid19 came to Trinidad and Tobago via an immigrant.
The Health Minister made that statement in the Senate on Tuesday.
In a release, UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said the borders have been closed for a year, but cases are now rising.
“Minister Deyalsingh and newly appointed National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds were at pains last week trying to deny that the P1 (Brazilian) variant entered the country because of our porous borders. In their haste to cover up and deflect from the issue, they warned journalists who were asking pertinent questions of the potential to fuel xenophobia. Precious time was lost while the Government chose to deflect from this serious issue, and now we are seeing more cases of the P1 variant in various parts of the country.”
She said citizens are concerned about what measures are being taken to protect them.
In addition to illegal migrants entering the country, she said it was alarming that large shipments of illegal weapons and ammunition were entering through legal ports of entry.
She said the UNC had made several proposals to deal with border security months ago.
“We proposed the formation of a Ministry of Defence which would focus on border protection, the illegal entry of weapons, drugs, and human trafficking.
"We proposed the use of drones, helicopters, and full use of the Coast Guard vessels for 24/7 patrolling of the nation’s borders, creating an impenetrable security system around our country to protect it from all illegal activity.
"Had the Government placed the interests of the population ahead of their own narrow interests, our country would not be in the situation it is in today.”
Persad-Bissessar said it is imperative that the Government steps up and does its job of protecting the people of this country.
“Lives are at stake. Our country’s economic future is at stake. I call on the Government to stop playing politics and games and get down to the serious business of getting this security crisis under control.”