FLASHBACK: Andrea Bharatt and her father Randolph at their Arima home following her graduation from the University of the West Indies.

Jesse Ramdeo

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is being instructed to cease and desist from using Andrea Bharatt’s name.

“Do not ever use her name in your mouth. Do not ever do it. My daughter’s name is not worthy for his mouth.”

The instruction was made by the late Andrea’s father, Randolph Bharatt, in response to Dr Rowley’s claim that the current spike in COVID-19 cases was as a result of the candlelight vigils held for the young lady who was kidnapped and murdered in February.

Speaking in the House of Representatives on Monday on a motion to extend the State of Emergency, the Prime Minister claimed the vigils were financed by the United National Congress.

“The only country, in the Caribbean, where in the middle of a pandemic, the Opposition organise gatherings of people called vigils. Thousands of people for a month, trying to exploit the death of Andrea Bharatt and you asking me how we got here?”

Speaking to Guardian Media on Tuesday, Bharatt also refuted claims by Dr Rowley that the vigils were organized by the UNC, according to him there has never been any correlation between the nationwide prayer services and vigils against crime and the political party.

“Take it from me, that have nothing to do with UNC and this man fooling people, it is just a blame game, they are doing their own thing and blaming other people for it.”

Bharatt told Guardian Media that since his daughter’s death he has tried to use his platform to help citizens and avoid the politics. He noted that only yesterday he heard Dr Rowley’s claims for himself.

Asked whether he believed the COVID-19 spike was as a result of the days of demonstrations following the discovery of Andrea’s body down a precipice in the heights of Aripo, Bharatt said the data did not support the timeline given.

“Easter was just the other day right? When the vigils took place in February right? Would it have 14 days, 30 days before anything happen? So then it clearly shows the vigils had nothing to do with the spike in COVID. The spike only happened after the Easter.”

Bharatt said he remained shocked that activities after his daughter’s tragic death were being blamed by the prime minister for the increase in COVID-19 infections and deaths.

“I wouldn’t expect a big man to blame a dead person for COVID, this man has to be out of mind.”

Meanwhile, Bharatt, who has been suffering from high blood pressure, issued a reminder of his wife’s dying words that Andrea would change the world.

A statement by the group Candle Light Movement described the prime minister’s comments as reprehensible, vile and callous.

“It is appalling, but no surprise that the PM has sought to use the name of an innocent victim of murder callously, without care or any consideration for the damage of such statements to the family, and loved ones of the victim, who he has used as a scapegoat for his government’s mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic.