The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association’s Home of Football facility in Couva, which was offered to Government to house recovering COVID-19 patients, is expected to be ready in a couple of weeks.
Prime Minister Keith Rowley, who spoke on the development at yesterday’s post-Cabinet media briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, said Government had accepted the offer, which was made at no cost to the state.
The building was shut down by then newly-appointed TTFA president Williams Wallace soon after being commissioned last November. Wallace was quoted back then as saying there were pending approvals and also no property insurance for the million-dollar facility. Rowley was among those who’d attended the building’s launch prior to the closure.
Speaking about the issue of standards of care offered to people required to be quarantined yesterday, Rowley added, “In T&T, our default position is to take the line that something’s bad. You don’t normally say it’s good.”
He said Government was doing well in providing accommodation for people who need this.
“We’re looking for accommodation of good standard. I know not all will agree the accommodation is up to everybody’s tastes, as some may have different tastes.”
In the event such (quarantine) rooms are required, he said the Home of Football was being offered. Government and FIFA had an arrangement for this location whereby Government was approached by the world football body for public land for the structure and FIFA made funding available for its construction.
Describing the structure as excellent, Rowley said it can hold up to 72 people.
“This is as good as any accommodation as you can get in T&T,” he said.
Rowley said a few things still have to be done to the building in order for it to house patients. However, he said the private sector has come forward to do the outfitting to make it comfortable and supply appliances et cetera.
“I’m happy people are chipping in this way,” he added.
Meanwhile, on the issue of more T&T nationals wanting to come home, Rowley said there were many outside, hopefully sheltering in place. But he reiterated that if T&T’s doors weren’t closed at this time, the best-laid plans against the virus could come undone.
“I understand the pain of separation, of not being home. When I spent my first year on campus (overseas), for Christmas, I made sure my door was locked and I cried the whole day,” the PM said.
“I know the feeling of watching TV and seeing coffins in New York being covered temporarily to cope with the death rate. I know my daughter is (in New York ) and I feel that every morning and night. I’ve been to a funeral to see my favourite brother buried – so when people seeking office say Government doesn’t care I take that as par for the course for those who on the wrong course.”
Rowley also hit critics who’ve said Government was “hiding” information on the crisis. He said it was the same people who claimed people had drowned in the 2018 Greenvale flooding and made other wrong accusations. He said the same people were also passing a slur on hardworking health workers – whom he thanked – when those people said information Government was giving on the issue was untrue.