MINISTER of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds on Wednesday stepped in to quash fake news on social media which had alleged a cessation of the ongoing reopening of Trinidad and Tobago's borders.
The erroneous announcement, also shared several times via WhatsApp, alleged that the borders have been shut again because of the prevalence of a deadly new strain of covid19. It said the borders would, therefore, not be opened until 2022.
The statement purported to cite Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Roshan Parasram addressing a sitting of the Local Authorities, Service Commissions and Statutory Authorities Joint Select Committee on Wednesday. The Parliament is now in recess and, as a result, there was no such meeting on Wednesday.
Newsday counted six spelling/grammatical errors in the bogus announcement, including three in its title, Phase Reopening of T&T Borders Cancel Due to New Strain of Covid19: T&T Borders Could Possible Remain Closed until 2022.
Hinds told Newsday, "I am not aware of any such development. As Parliament is on recess, any quotation purportedly coming from Dr Roshan Parasram where he purportedly spoke from the Parliament is very likely to be the garbage that it sounds like to me.
“This is one of the downsides of social media, helpful and entertaining as it may be. It allows miscreants to pour misguided information into the public domain so as to traumatise people." He said some countries are seeking to curb "this kind of madness" on social media.
"It sounds like all fake garbage to me and I want the public to seek information from the official channels."
Asked if he had heard anything about border closures in his role as line minister, Hinds said no.
"The last meeting this team had was Saturday. We collaborate with each other in different ways. As far as I'm aware there has been no development along those lines that I'm aware of or can support or comment favourably upon."