Front row - Minister of Agriculture Clarence Rambarath (left), Attorney General and MP for San Fernando West Faris Al Rawi (centre), together with Councillor Michael Johnson (right), pose for a photograph with farmers during the distribution of lease letters, at the Society Lodge Hall in Marabella, on Wednesday 31 March 2021. (Photo by RISHI RAGOONATH)
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Cabinet ministers have been forced to look over their Easter plans and wear their masks more frequently, ever since Attorney General Faris Al Rawi got a tongue-lashing from the Prime Minister for not wearing a mask.

Speaking at a lease distribution function at Marabella on Wednesday, Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat poked fun at his colleague.

“My colleague, Faris Al Rawi, the popular Attorney General. The man who has caused us to be wearing these masks more than ever now. Thank God I am not an arm wrestler,” Rambarat said.

He teased: “Arm wrestling?  This is what you were doing?”

“But it could happen to any one of us,” Rambharat explained on a more serious note.  “Sometimes in carrying out our public duties, you meet people.  As you know, I was in Chaguanas and sometimes people want to hug you and kiss you and do all kinds of things and in the flow, you do get carried away, but sometimes you need someone like the Prime Minister to pull you back. So, a lot of us have to relook our holiday plans and Easter plans and so on. Everybody batting in their crease like the West Indies team did yesterday.”

Meanwhile, Al-Rawi dismissed calls for his resignation from Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who said in other countries politicians who flouted COVID-19 protocols have resigned.

“Mrs Persad Bissessar has had a passion for me for 11 years now.  It’s not the first time you would hear Kamla Persad Bissessar talk about me,” he said.

He expressed regret over the incident and admitted that they should have worn masks.

“There is a material difference between being in a private event and a public event.  At that charity event, it was at the home of Voice, it was in a room where you could count eight people max.  We had engaged in Protocol but on reflection, because we were televising, we coulda worn a mask. I have already publicly said I could have taken the voluntary step in a private residence to do that,” the AG said.

He accused Persad Bissessar of creating drama.

“At the end of the day I have already said to the population I should have worn a mask in a private setting.  And all of us know that it’s true.  All of us could tell tales of being with families, or other settings or in a different place.  At the end of the day, I expect Mrs Persad Bissessar to say nothing good about me. It’s been that way for 11 years.”

On Thursday night, Al-Rawi attended the season two finale of a live game show series called Vibes with Voicey. The event was held at the home of Soca star Voice (Aaron St Louis). The show is usually streamed live on Instagram at 9.30 pm each Thursday and attracted 13,000 views on the night. Supt Roger Alexander of the North Eastern Division, a co-host of the Beyond the Tape police programme, radio personality Ancil “Blaze” Isaac, and “celebrity bodyguard’ Kevin Da Costa (known as Johnny Bravo) were in a room competing in various challenges, including arm wrestling.

Even though hand sanitization was done, none of the men wore masks and nor did they practise social distancing.