While many people called for the government to use a heavy hand to deal with the COVID-19 threat, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday said his government chose to instead trust the population to do the right thing, and he said that faith was repaid.
Rowley made the statement yesterday as he spoke with employees of the Victor E Mouttet Company (VEMCO) during a visit to several manufacturers.
“Pandemic or no pandemic as long as we are a disciplined people the future of the people of Trinidad and Tobago will always be bright,” Rowley said.
“When we were threatened with the coming of this virus many people insisted that we use the heavy hand of the law to beat you into shape to force you into complying but because of the nature of the threat where you at the individual level were required to do certain things this government took the decision that we will talk to you, we will work with you, we believe in you, and once you trust the government and we trust you to do right we will work our way through this together,” Rowley said.
Rowley said so far the country has done that well.
“We trusted the people and the people have responded magnificently we didn’t have to take you into a state of emergency, we didn’t have to beat you into shape, we gave you the information, we shared with you on a daily basis, we educated you, and you are in a better position now than you ever could have been had we taken a different approach,” he said.
Rowley thanked this country’s citizens for being cooperative, and the business community for being understanding.
He said because the government kept following the advice of the healthcare professionals we were able to manage the pandemic.
Rowley said while the country has been economically disturbed “once we are alive we will make a living.”
Last Thursday this country’s entire manufacturing sector was given the all-clear to return to work as part of phase two of the phased re-opening of the economy.
Rowley said we are now “open for business.”
Apart from VEMCO the other manufacturers visited by Rowley yesterday were Caribbean Packaging Industries, Nestle, and TYE Manufacturing.
Rowley yesterday heard from the manufacturers regarding the measures they have implemented in response to COVID-19 and the strides they are making to ensure production.
Rowley was accompanied by Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon and advisor to the Prime Minister on agriculture Dr John Alleyne.