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UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar delivers her address during the party’s Monday night virtual report.

Sascha Wilson

Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar insists that Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is managing the COVID-19 pandemic, which is now threatening to overrun the parallel public health care system, “by vaps.”

Speaking at the United National Congress Monday Night Virtual report, Persad-Bissessar said the Rowley-led administration has no plan going forward.

“Today, the Prime Minister came and announced more restrictions but again where is the plan going forward. They seem to be operating by vaps. So Thursday one thing, Saturday another, Monday another, maybe by tomorrow….maybe by Wednesday. Each day is vaps. There is no plan. There is no coherent, comprehensive plan as to how we go forward.”

Claiming that last year, Dr Roshan Parasram said the virus would not affect T&T, she said two months later the country shut down.

“So they had no plan. It is clear that the medical people had no plan, the government had no plan, because they were living in a fool’s paradise that the COVID would not affect T&T.”

She added, “You had over a year, you could not deal with the matter and you have the same people sitting down there pretending to be saviours, pretending to be the experts, pretending to be the ones to tell us we must do this, we must do that, we must do the other. How can we believe you? How can we trust you?”

Showing a photo in a daily newspaper of Rowley wearing his mask on his chin posing with a group of people and not social distancing, she accused him of not following his own protocols.

“But yet you want to bouff up everybody in this country. Bouff up the citizens of this country. Bouff them, every time you speak you bouffing. You are the number one bouffer in the land but you will not follow your own regulations and your own protocols.”

She also recalled that Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi was not wearing a mask or social distancing during a hand-wrestling event.

Noting that the parallel health care system is on the brink of collapse, she said the Government faltered in securing the vaccines.

She said the Government has not put any support system in place to protect livelihoods.

“The restrictions you announced today (Monday) will decimate micro and small business, medium businesses and of course more job losses and most concerning is the revelation by the Chief Medical Officer that he raised the current trend in March but no action was taken. Before Easter, the Prime Minister tell everybody come to Tobago, how reckless and dangerous can you be.”

She questioned what support will be given to the food businesses and street food vendors who would have spent thousands of dollars in buying supplies.

Persad-Bissessar said they should have had a plan to assist those not only affected by the virus but by this “dictatorship kind of lockdown.”

She said the Prime Minister should have put in place fiscal measures for loan deferral schemes for businesses and homeowners, adding that another measure should have been reduced bank rates for loans and debt work-out schemes for companies now deemed to fall under bank risks. The Opposition leader also suggested a renewal of SME fund accessibility, calling for a full audit, accountability and transparency on all the money spent by the Government on COVID-19. She also advised people not to open their doors to police officers who want to enter their premises under the provision of the public health ordinance because they could be criminals disguising themselves as police officers.

The Opposition leader argued that police had no authority under that provision to enter private residences.