From his home, where he is resting in self-isolation while recovering from covid19, former deputy political leader of the United National Congress (UNC) Dr Surujrattan Rambachan is calling for an end to the politicisation of the pandemic.
Newsday spoke to Rambachan, in a telephone interview in which he criticised both the Health Minister and Opposition Leader.
“I am fed up and the country is fed up with the political back-and-forth that is taking place, especially between the Ministry of Health and the Leader of the Opposition and other members of the Opposition.
"I think it is a waste of national precious time. I think it is putting national stress upon the population.”
He said the opposition is casting fear and doubts in the minds of the population over the vaccination policy.
“If the government has a policy that they aren’t using vaccines that the WHO has not approved, then we are not going to use those vaccines. If they are going to use those vaccines the WHO approved, then that is it.
“That is a clear policy. Why are you continuing to cast doubts in the mind of the population?
"We need to vaccinate 70 per cent of the population. We are going to have a massive problem in this country that we will not be able to manage.”
Addressing Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh’s behaviour, he said while watching the ministry's press conferences, he is “nauseated” by some of the comments directed towards the Opposition.
He is appealing to all the people trying to use the pandemic to advance their political interest to stop.
“That isn’t necessary at this time. This is a time in which everyone has to unite, not in terms of politics, but in terms of saving lives. Our priorities should be on saving lives, anyone who loves Trinidad and Tobago should be saving lives, not trying to score some wild political points...
"You never know the dangers of all this until you become a victim. I have been saying this a while now: stop this political harassment.”
He said the population is being “politically battered” while people are dying. All MPs should be going into their constituency to have a vaccination drive or check in with the needs of the people there who contracted the virus.
“Get groups of professionals to help people who are home in isolation and feed back into the healthcare system. There is so much that can be done if the government and opposition unite.”
He said more people will die unnecessarily if politicising the pandemic continues.
“You would not believe this country is under nervous stress, you know. National nervous stress. People are tired, tired, tired. They are mentally stressed out.”
Rambachan said he himself is doing well at home. Though he is diabetic, he is not experiencing any severe symptoms of covid19.
He went to the Chaguanas Health Centre to be tested on Saturday and has since been in isolation. He said doctors have called him twice every day to check on him.
He has all the equipment he needs to test his vital signs at home as well as oxygen, just in case. He lauded the doctors at the health centre and also appealed to the public to take covid19 seriously.
He was recently vaccinated and does not know where he contracted the virus.