The United National Congress (UNC) has sought to distance itself from media reports which suggest that Caroni Central MP and former Planning Minister, Dr Bhoe Tewarie, was blocked by the party from serving on the Map to Recovery Committee.
In a release issued by UNC Deputy Political Leader and Member of Parliament for Pointe-a-Pierre, Dr David Lee, the UNC deputy leader states that Dr Tewarie was free to serve on the Committee, but in his own capacity as a private citizen, and not as a representative of the UNC.
Dr Lee says the party took this position because no formal invitation was extended to the UNC, to participate in the Committee in a bipartisan manner.
The full text of the statement by Dr Lee, follows…
UNC DEPUTY LEADER LEE – SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT, DR TEWARIE WAS NOT BLOCKED.
As Deputy Political Leader of the United National Congress I have taken note of media reports which stated that the Member of Parliament for Caroni Central, Dr Tewarie, was blocked by the United National Congress from serving on the Map to Recovery Committee.
On behalf of the United National Congress, I would like to set the record straight by informing the public that such actions never occurred.
It must be noted that while a request for the services of Dr Tewarie was submitted to the Leader of the Opposition, it was for Dr Tewarie to serve, as Minister Le Hunte publicly stated on Tuesday, “in his individual capacity”.
Despite the Leader of the Opposition’s public calls over the past weeks for the establishment of a bipartisan committee to manage the country’s handling of COVID-19, at no point in Mr Le Hunte’s emailed request was such invitation extended to the United National Congress.
It was on this premise that we responded to Minister Le Hunte informing him that “while it is clear that you can invite anyone to join your committee, in the circumstances, they will not be representing the views of the UNC, as no such representatives have been requested of the UNC”.
In our response the United National Congress never stopped, prevented nor informed the Government that Dr Tewarie could not be a member of the Map to Recovery Committee.
Further, the Opposition, in the absence of being invited to take part within the committee’s deliberations still saw it as our national duty to share our National Economic Transformation Master Plan 2020 to 2025 within our response in an effort to contribute to returning our nation to the path of growth and development.
As a result, besides developing our own team to consistently monitor and refine our plans to address the ongoing crisis, the Opposition Leader has instructed Dr Tewarie to file a Private Motion for the upcoming Private Members’ Day in Parliament calling for the Opposition’s proposals to be considered by the Government and for a genuine Bipartisan team be developed.
It is clear that this narrative by the Government is an attempt to distract the population from their haphazard approach in addressing the economic woes facing our nation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a population, we must remain focused on keeping the Government accountable at a time when they are boasting that they have spent billions on COVID-19 relief, yet thousands of citizens continue to be heavily burdened by the prevailing conditions.
The United National Congress will remain vigilant on the actions of this Government as we have seen that many of the promises made to cushion our population in this crisis are yet to materialize.
UNC Deputy Political Leader
Member of Parliament for Pointe a Pierre