Indarsingh: Trinidad and Tobago stuck in state of emergency soap opera

Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh speaking with police officers outside Parliament on March 5, 2021. File photo/Jeff Mayers -
Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh speaking with police officers outside Parliament on March 5, 2021. File photo/Jeff Mayers -

COUVA South MP Rudranath Indarsingh said the Government has trapped TT in a never-ending covid19 soap opera that has left many people wondering what is its real agenda. Indarsingh made this statement in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, as the first Opposition MP to respond to debate on a motion to extend the state of emergency (SoE) by three months.

The SoE took effect from midnight on May 15. Without parliamentary approval, the SoE would have remained in effect until May 29. The House sat on May 24 and approved a three-month extension from May 29 to August 29.

Section 10(1) of the Constitution, gives the Government the power to use its 22-19 majority in the House to extend the SoE by another three months.Once the motion is passed by the House, the SoE will be extended until November 29.

Section 10(2) of the Constitution states that further extensions beyond this one, will require three-fifth majority support of the House and the Senate.

In response to the Prime Minister, who opened the debate on the motion, Indarsingh said the SoE reminded him of the drama fans of tv soap operas like The Young and the Restless and the Bold and the Beautiful have come to expect daily. Referring to news conferences that Dr Rowley has held to update the population about covid19 over the last year and a half, Indarsingh said those events and the SoE could either be described as "As of Midnight Tonight.." or "The Bold and the Bold-Faced," starring Rowley and an assortment of government ministers.

He said Rowley failed in his earlier contribution to educate the population as to why the SoE should be extended until November.

"What is the real agenda?" Indarsingh scoffed at Rowley's statement about Government being transparent with the public about covid19.

"I want to reflect on what happened to Akash Samaroo of CNC3 and one Urvashi Tewari (Roopnarine) of TV6."

Indarsingh claimed Government intimidated the media.

"They don't want a fair and balanced press in their press conferences. They did not want objective reporters. That is why the Prime Minister can come hear and tell the country that he was exhausted."

Indarsingh reiterated the UNC's call for a covid19 commission of inquiry to show that Government is being fully transparent about managing covid19.

Dismissing Rowley's statements about different sectors of the economy being allowed to reopen on a phased basis as more people are vaccinated, Indarsingh said Government had butchered small and medium businesses in TT under the SoE.

He accused Government of trying to suppress trade unions and civil society groups under the SoE.

"Information has come to me. Sources on the ground are telling me through the grapevine, the Government is preparing legislation or regulations to make vaccination mandatory in the workplace."

Acting leader of government business, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, appealed to Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George three times that Indarsingh violated House Standing Order 48 (1), which deals with relevance of a topic to a debate. After twice, warning Indarsingh that his claims about workplace vaccination had nothing to with the debate and that she would not warn him a third time, Indarsingh heeded her advice.


"Indarsingh: Trinidad and Tobago stuck in state of emergency soap opera"

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