Opposition Leader, Kamla Persad-Bissessar SC MP. (Image courtesy UNC)

The Opposition Leader is calling on the Rowley Administration to do more to secure this country’s borders, following the revelation that the Brazilian COVID-19 variant came to these shores via a migrant.

In a strongly worded release issued today, Kamla Persad-Bissessar SC MP says Government must get down to the business of protecting this country properly, instead of playing politics.

She reminded Government of several initiatives proposed by the Opposition, including the setting up a Ministry of Defense, to “focus on border protection, the illegal entry of weapons, drugs, and human trafficking”. 

The full text of the Opposition Leader’s statement, follows…

Opposition Leader to Government: Tell the truth for once, lives are depending on it

The Minister of Health’s revelation in the Senate under questioning on Tuesday that the Brazilian variant got into Trinidad and Tobago via a migrant shows clearly that this Government has failed to secure our borders.

Our borders have been closed for well over a year, yet cases are now rising, and Minister Deyalsingh and newly appointed National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds were at pains last week trying to deny that the P1 variant entered the country because of our porous borders.

In their haste to cover up and deflect from the issue, they warned journalists who were asking pertinent questions of the potential to fuel xenophobia. Precious time was lost while the Government chose to deflect from this serious issue, and now we are seeing more cases of the P1 variant in various parts of the country.

Citizens of Trinidad and Tobago are concerned with what measures are being taken to protect them, as it is clear that this Rowley-led administration is doing nothing to secure our borders.

Apart from illegal migrants coming into the country, we are seeing large shipments of illegal weapons and ammunition getting in through legal ports of entry, which is alarming.

Several months ago, the United National Congress put forward several plans to deal with border security.

We proposed the formation of a Ministry of Defence which would focus on border protection, the illegal entry of weapons, drugs, and human trafficking. 

We proposed the use of drones, helicopters, and full use of the Coast Guard vessels for 24/7 patrolling of the nation’s borders, creating an impenetrable security system around our country to protect it from all illegal activity. 

Had the Government placed the interests of the population ahead of their own narrow interests, our country would not be in the situation it is in today.

It has been just about a week since the Prime Minister shuffled his deck and replaced his number one failure, Stuart Young, with another, Fitzgerald Hinds, as a result the trend of incompetence continues.

It is now imperative that the Government steps up and does its job of protecting the people of this country. Lives are at stake.  Our country’s economic future is at stake.

I call on the Government to stop playing politics and games and get down to the serious business of getting this security crisis under control.

Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, MP
Opposition Leader of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

28 April 2021