A woman who recently boasted about gathering on her private beach in a viral video was yesterday called a “reckless” individual and one “worshipping at the altar of stupidity” by Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh.                                                                                                                                                           

That woman is Samantha Ramischand, daughter of attorney Odai Ramischand.

The minister let loose a severe tongue lashing at the woman for threatening his and the livelihoods of “every single worker” in the country and went on to tell her on national television, “you characterise the worst of young people in Trinidad and Tobago”.

Deyalsingh’s big bouff was delivered after he had already stated that he would not use the words he wanted to but later on stated: “Those young persons who worship at the altar of denial, and I promised myself I wouldn’t say it but I am going to say it now, those who worship at the altar of stupidity that will crash this system.”

He asked the woman not to be a “cheerleader” for such a thing and said:

“As characterised by that most reckless post by that young lady, you represent a clear and present threat to my livelihood, to the livelihoods of every single worker in Trinidad and Tobago and I pull no punches as I close... that you characterise the worst of young people in Trinidad and Tobago.”

Deyalsingh was speaking at yesterday’s live virtual Covid-19 news conference, where he addressed a social media video posted at the weekend by the woman from a location appearing to be a beach. The video was posted after Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced the closure, again, of beaches, rivers and related recreational areas to help slow the spread of Covid-19. A gathering beyond the five-person limit imposed by the regulations appeared to be taking place in the video.

Ramischand told viewers the beach was “private” property that she and her family were “fortunate” to have access to it. Saying she did not owe anyone an explanation, mock-cried about any fellow citizens lamenting their lack of a private beach.

The video sparked a few parodies but also caused offence and outrage, as to the flouting of the law. There were calls for clarity as to how the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) was determining where it applied and how. Government and the TTPS were asked to clarify public versus private spaces in the context of pandemic health regulations, while some quarters cried discrimination and said people of less financial standing were being charged.

The TTPS has since asked for the public’s help identifying the woman and has noted that there is no such thing as a private beach.

Hospital at home

Spending some time chastising the young woman in the video, Deyalsingh again referred to the impact on health workers when people act irresponsibly and spread the highly-contagious coronavirus.

In addition to the physical facilities quickly becoming overburdened, which he noted has happened in bigger countries with strong health systems, there are hazards to the health workforce, on which he places optimum value. He dissected the woman’s claims that she and her relatives were not endangering anyone as they knew each other’s whereabouts and pointed out where that notion was flawed.

The minister said he wanted to emphasise his point through the use of his words and questioned whether the young woman would not find herself under the care of “my” health care workers, using the facilities of those places.

He further asked: “Are you going to build an ICU at your house? I am talking directly to that young lady and all of those who worship at the altar of denial.”

And added: “When you get ill, whose hospitals are you going to? Whose healthcare workers are going to take care of you, your own? You have oxygen in your house? Do you have a heart monitor in your house? You have a ventilator in your house? You have an IV set up in your house?”

He again cited global trends where young adults in the sizeable 25 to 49-year age band are driving the second wave of Covid-19, adding that some seemed undaunted by the measures in place. Appealing to that demographic to stop seeking loopholes in the regulations, Deyalsingh said he understood that the health restrictions were a burden on socialising.

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