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Mayaro MP Rushton Paray

The Mayaro constituency has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic with more than 400 constituents quarantined and police monitoring constrained as well by quarantine orders.

Mayaro MP Rushton Paray told the Sunday Guardian that while the constituency has had few cases for the better part of the past year, they have not been spared by the rapidly increasing transmission rate throughout T&T recently.

“Three weeks ago, I was made aware of the runaway transmission rate in the communities which make up the Mayaro constituency. My investigations revealed the genesis of the P1 variant in Mayaro. We had a couple of hundred people in home quarantine who unfortunately were not staying put according to the orders.”

Driving around the various communities, the MP said he saw people disregarding the protocols.

“Why weren’t these people following the guidelines as outlined by the Ministry of Health? My staff came to me with an interesting trend in queries to our Hotline. They showed me over 150 queries about COVID-19. It was then I realised that they weren’t disregarding the protocols, they just did not know. The message was not reaching.”

Paray said “while the Government was basking in the glory of the Oxford Report hubris set in. When the numbers were low, it was because of their leadership, but as the numbers increased, the citizens became the enemy!”

He said he was of the firm belief, though, that Central Government cannot win this battle alone. Paray said he would not allow Mayaro to fall into a crisis, so he decided to go on the offensive.

The plan

*He will be setting up an action task force to deal with the rapidly rising COVID-19 cases in that constituency.

“I reached out to the chairman of the Mayaro/Rio Claro Regional Corporation (MRCRC) and the CEO to discuss how local government can play an active role in the war as it stands. We created a Virtual War Room and I invited the head of our district police, health, social services, the business community and NGOs to discuss what in their minds were challenges and where the political and local government resources can help.”

The following measures have been executed in the last two weeks:

1. Public education–A constituency-wide messaging via mike was executed going into every community and encouraging citizens to follow the protocols. Each councillor used his/her voices on the recorded message on this public education drive. It is ongoing for 21 days.

2. The corporation offered the services of the Municipal Police Resources to augment the TTPS Emergency Response Unit to assist with quarantine monitoring, but unfortunately, they have not received approvals from the Ministry of Health. However, the Municipal Police has been assisting with general policing to maintain crowd control at the business and markets.

3. The Disaster Management Unit has ramped up sanitising at all public spaces with the donation of disinfectant. They are supporting the sanitizing of the police/fire assets as well.

4. The Task Force was able to access donations of KN95 masks, surgical masks and bulk/ personal sanitizers for frontline staff with health, police and fire. “We needed to see a reduction in the quarantine of our frontline team to ensure we are around to support our people in need.”

5. Over the coming week they will be launching the Task Force website for outreach to people needing assistance and those willing to assist.

6. A PR campaign using social media will be launched encouraging COVID-19 safety in the homes and workplaces. Members of the Community will be featured on those videos, blogs etc.

“Until we can reach herd immunity with a robust vaccination plan, compression of transmission is the only action at this time. We will do our part for as long as we can, and I encourage the Government to relook their strategy, look at our model, and lend us some support. Put it in all 41 constituencies.”

You can access the Action Task Force website at covid.mayaroconstituency.org

Should you wish to lend support to MP Paray and the team at Mayaro, please visit the website.

People were careless–Toco/Grande MP

Sangre Grande showed the highest density of COVID-19 cases during the epidemiological period April 25 and May 8 in the country. The map produced by the GIS Unit of the Ministry of Health’s Epidemiology Division on May 14, 2021, showed over 50 confirmed cases within the limits of Sangre Grande.

According to MP for the Toco/Sangre Grande constituency Roger Munroe, the people were not following the Public Health Regulations while others did not believe that COVID-19 was real. “People were just irresponsible in their behaviour,” he said.

“Some people were not following the guidelines given by the Ministry of Health. They just ignore these restrictions and continue to live the regular way.”

Munroe said people were “simply careless” as they were seen without face masks despite the Ministry of Health’s appeal to wear them. Some were not social distancing and were gathering in groups of more than five, he said, while others were breaching the State of Emergency.

He said some people failed to show love to their families by their action. “They continue to congregate in numbers irrespective that COVID health regulations have become effective. It was like a no-care attitude for some.” Munroe believes that this can be responsible for the rapid spread of COVID-19 in Toco/Sangre Grande.

The MP said he has not received any statistics as it pertains to COVID-19, but he is aware that many frontline workers like police and those in health care have contracted the virus and are doing well.

He expressed condolences to the family of people who succumbed to COVID-19 and wished all those hospitalised a speedy recovery.

The plan

*He is pleading with the people to obey all health regulations set out by the ministry. “Please stay indoors if we are to get rid of this deadly COVID-19 pandemic,” he urged.

*He advised that this State of Emergency is not an infringement on people’s rights but the action of a responsible government to protect and save lives. He is appealing to his constituents and others to adhere to the State of Emergency regulations from 9 pm to 5 am daily.

Ragbir blames porous borders, illegal immigrants and ignorant, irresponsible locals

Dr Rai Ragbir, MP for Cumuto/Manzanilla has blamed the explosion of COVID-19 cases on the porous borders, the unchecked status of illegal immigrants and the irresponsible and selfish behaviour of people who take everything for a joke and have no concern for the health and safety of themselves and others.

Ragbir said most people in rural communities are not adhering to the Public Health Regulations which include wearing a face mask, social distancing, washing and sanitizing hands.

“This is a proven fact in Eastern Division where week after week people are issued with public health tickets that cost them $1000, which they prefer to pay instead of buying a face mask that cost as low as $5. This shows their ignorance and irresponsibility.

“Some are boldfaced and will gather in more than five when asked by law not to do so. They just want to continue their regular lifestyle when a pandemic is having an impact on lives. Some disregard the call to cooperate in this fight against COVID-19, failing to realise it is for their own good and health. Yet they persist to be lawless and break every health regulation.

“Today the State of Emergency is in effect, but people feel they are above the law and do their own thing by breaching the SoE regulation. So many have been arrested and charge for this breach of SoE and I pray that this type of delinquent behaviour will stop immediately.”

Dr Ragbir said people are lax in following health protocols and the payment for that is COVID-19.

He said the Sangre Grande Hospital and outlying Health Centres are overwhelmed with patients and many people are in home quarantine, “so people need to try their best to avoid this situation.”

The plan

*He has been encouraging his patients and constituents to take the vaccine but said some are very concerned about taking the Sinopharm vaccine that comes from China where the virus started. He reminded all that on May 7 the World Health Organization approved the use of the vaccine making it safe for use.

*He is advising people to take the vaccine that is available and WHO approved and do not wait on the US vaccine. Friends and family living abroad, especially those in the US and Canada have taken the vaccine and are all well and healthy.

*He suggested that the Minister of Health provide an update on COVID-19 to every MP so that they can assist by advising and communicating with their constituents to avoid the spread of the virus.

*He has taken steps to ensure that his constituents are well informed on the COVID-19 virus by way of visits to their homes, billboards, social media and indoor meetings with all health regulations observed.

*He made a special appeal to his constituents and by extension T&T to obey all Public Health Regulations and reminded people that if they get the vaccine they will live.

AG: People are not understanding the pandemic’s effects, how easily it is transmitted

Attorney General and PNM MP for San Fernando West Faris Al-Rawi explained why he thinks there has been a rise in cases not only in the La Romaine area which partially falls under his constituency but nationwide.

“I think that there is a combination of measures. There is a great amount of COVID-19 fatigue. As in other countries, people would not have had an understanding of the logistics of getting vaccines. It takes time to hit your country and distribute it. People are not understanding the pandemic’s effects, in terms of how easily the transmission is.”

Although he did not speak specifically about the incident in March where he did not wear a mask at a game show and was involved in arm wrestling, he said he too has made errors like the rest of the population, but the country needs to learn from its mistakes and move on in combatting the disease.

“These are very hard times and we are all tired. We have all let our guards down from time to time. I could be a poster boy for that on at least on one occasion.”

The plan

*The Government is doing its very best to find every source for vaccines and we will get through. Once we bring those numbers down so that the rolling numbers of daily infections drop significantly, we can get back to some degree of normalcy.”

*He said he has been working 24 hours providing food relief for those hard hit, salary relief and other items for his constituents. He also advised his constituents and the wider nation to follow the health protocols.