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Despite Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley rebuking the Opposition’s claim that he could have infected his Cabinet colleagues during last month’s parliamentary sitting, Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal believes parliamentarians are now at a greater risk of spreading COVID-19. Moonilal spoke to reporters yesterday at the Pointe-a-Pierre Golf Club Course before teeing off at the Soroptomist International, Esperance, Powershots Tournaments of Champions.
He played on a team with former education minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh, who recovered from the virus last year, former CEPEP chairman Adesh Deonarine and Kurt Ramlal. Describing last week as “tough” with the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rising quickly, Moonilal said the Opposition made a serious statement by boycotting the Parliament on Friday for the debate on the Anti-Gang Bill.
As a result of the Opposition’s no-show, the Government was able to pass the Bill in the Senate. However, Moonilal said the Opposition believes there was now a real risk that parliamentarians may transmit COVID-19 in a greater frequency than ordinary citizens. “When the Prime Minister tested positive, there was absolutely no indication that any Cabinet member who was involved in any meetings or so on with him isolated or self quarantined for any period of time. We thought that was a very serious matter, particularly Ministers Stuart Young and Terrence Deyalsingh, who were photographed and videotaped with him at a news conference, within 10 days, I believe, of him testing positive,” Moonilal said. The former minister of Housing and Urban Development said his United National Congress party has not received proper disclosure.
He said that on the one hand, they read that Rowley went for an MRI scan. Later on, they learned that the equipment was not working. “The long and short is that if you cannot tell the truth when you are ill, you cannot tell the truth when you are well. If you cannot disclose properly when you are ill and unwell, it is unlikely we will have disclosure if you are in good health.” The next sitting of Parliament is tomorrow when Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi should move the second reading of the Electronic Payments into and out of Court (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
Asked whether the Opposition would attend, Moonilal said the party would examine how much time passed since Rowley’s last entered the Parliament.
They will also check who else should be in quarantine or isolation because they had contact with Rowley. “Those decisions we will make in the coming days. I am in full support of the position of the Opposition Leader. It is contemptuous that ministers who pass a law will not uphold the law in that they will not self-quarantine or isolate.” Moonilal said the Ministry of Health calls on ordinary people in offices or schools to isolate themselves if they have been in touch with a positive COVID-19 patient.