UNC leader Kamla Parsad-Bissessar great supporters from a truck during a motorcade from Movant junction yesterday.

Jesse Ramdeo

Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar says government dropped the ball in its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic before the recent uptick which has seen this country’s number of infected cases soar to over one hundred and sixty.

Responding to the rollout of measures announced by the Prime Minister yesterday to mitigate the further spread of the virus, Persad-Bissessar said the government was now being dishonest with the population.

“Well he has failed so far to handle the situation, now we are seeing they were misleading the population all along. They were not really doing the testing so they giving the lie a narrative that they properly handled it.”

Persad-Bissessar said she remained troubled over the August 10 general election voting arrangements despite assurances from the Prime Minister that the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) was not authorised to turn back people suspected of being infected with COVID-19.

The EBC’s Communications Manager, Bobbi Rogers said the EBC could not disallow anyone from exercising their franchise.

“We have worked hard to put measures in place to safeguard everyone on election day. We will be encouraging people to wear masks and to sanitize, voters who choose not to wear a mask will not be turned away. However, voters are encouraged to wear one.”

Rogers said the EBC will be sharing its COVID-19 guidelines with political parties soon and any ambiguities will be addressed.

At a meeting in Chaguanas on Thursday night, Persad-Bissessar challenged the EBC on COVID guidelines.

“I want to say the EBC cannot legally disenfranchise anyone for not having a mask. I am not saying don’t wear masks, I’m saying it should be optional.”

“The EBC does not have the power in law. Remember your powers. You want to tell us you don’t have a mask don’t come to vote. The EBC does not have that power. The wearing of the mask should be optional,” she added.

The UNC motorcade yesterday started in Morvant and proceeded along the Eastern Main Road towards Diego Martin.

Hundreds of flag-waving supporters followed large music trucks along the way.