PDP deputy: Jamaica travel ban an 'eye-opener'

PDP deputy leader Farley Augustine  - Assembly Legislature
PDP deputy leader Farley Augustine - Assembly Legislature

THA Assemblyman Farley Augustine is calling on all leaders throughout Trinidad and Tobago to use their influence to remind people about the absolute need to be very careful as covid19 infections soar.

At a virtual news conference on Thursday, Augustine said the covid19 situation is “nowhere where we hope we should be as a country.”

Last week, Health Secretary Tracy Davidson-Celestine said bed capacity for covid19 patients was at 65 per cent. On Friday, principal medical officer Dr Maryam Abdool-Richards outlined the gravity of the situation in Trinidad. She said the bed capacity at the Caura hospital was 98 per cent full, 75 per cent at Couva hospital, almost 100 per cent at Augustus Long hospital and 60 per cent at the Arima hospital.

Augustine said the situation requires urgent attention.

“I believe it is responsible for all of us as leaders to use whatever platforms we have, to remind Tobagonians and remind people across the nation of the absolute need to be very careful in your interactions.”

Earlier in the day, the THA Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development announced nine new covid19 cases on the island. A press release said these cases took the active total on the island to 61 as four persons were discharged. The division has sent 4,509 samples to the Tobago Regional Health Authority and other local sites for testing. Of the samples, 260 came back positive. Deaths remain at two.

Augustine said: “We need to remind everyone that there is a need to be safe and persons should observe the protocols and even the restrictions that have been put in place. It has become necessary, unfortunately.

"It has become maybe ironic that countries like Jamaica would now shun us and not want any of our citizens to arrive on their shores, but this should be an eye-opener that we need to take this matter much more seriously than we are.”

Additionally, he addressed the Government's delivery of relief support for vulnerable citizens.

He said within his district, he had assisted well over 150 residents to complete and submit the application forms. However, he said those who received help "were in the insignificant minority.

“In other words, a vast majority of those who we would have assisted in applying, and we would have sent through their e-mails and would have done everything that was required, did not receive the assistance that they applied for.”

Augustine said a restaurant owner in Castara who had to close because of the lockdown applied for state support, but was denied it.

“She never received any of the grant funding, but she was only able to reopen a month ago, and after struggling to get back on her feet and only reopening a month ago, she now has to shut down the restaurant again just after a month. And we’re finding a lot of those stories, and so what has to happen in this round is that we have to find those among us who applied and never got through, and this second bout of lockdowns and restrictions would hit them extremely hard. We have to find them and ensure that they get the relief for which they’ve applied.”

Speaking at the post-executive council news conference on Wednesday, THA Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis said he was aware that many people have not received assistance since the initial lockdown. He also mentioned the THA’s decision to pump some $25 million into relief initiatives to assist vulnerable Tobagonians during the latest covid19 restrictions.


"PDP deputy: Jamaica travel ban an 'eye-opener'"

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