Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has fired back at Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh and Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Amery Browne, describing them as “deadbeat” ministers.
She said if these ministers were doing their job, she would not have to write India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, requesting vaccines for the people of Trinidad and Tobago.
Both Deyalsingh and Browne have chided Persad-Bissessar for her action.
“My response to both of these deadbeat ministers is that if you were only doing your job, I wouldn’t have to do it for you,” Persad-Bissessar said in a media release yesterday.
“Surely, these PNM muppets must know that I have a constitutional duty to ensure the safe welfare of our citizens, especially in times such as these when it is clear that our government has abdicated its urgent responsibility to protect our citizens,” said Persad-Bissessar.
The former prime minister again defended her move, saying it was in the interest of the people.
“I make no apologies for writing to Prime Minister Modi on behalf of all people of Trinidad and Tobago. We need to act urgently to reopen our economy, protect our health care and frontline workers, as well as return our nationals stranded abroad back home. The lives and livelihoods of our citizens are at stake. If this impotent government won’t do their jobs, I will,” she said.
Persad-Bissessar said that from day one of the pandemic, the United National Congress (UNC) asked this Government to work together to protect citizens and was ignored.
As a result, she said she cannot sit and allow citizens to exist in uncertainty as it relates to vaccinations while the Caribbean moves ahead of us.
“Only last week did Minister Deyalsingh display gross incompetence by not knowing that the Government of Barbados gifted Trinidad and Tobago 2000 Covid-19 vaccines. Minster Deyalsingh had falsely claimed these vaccines were a gift from India, which created massive embarrassment for our nation in the eyes of our Caricom neighbours,” she added.
Browne the new Dennis Moses?
Persad-Bissessar said the Health Minister had begun vaccinating front-line workers with vaccines whose origins he did not know, which was gross negligence for which he should have been fired.
“As for Minister Browne, I would like to point out to him that according to the latest news reports, five more Caribbean countries are going to receive batches of Covid-19 Vaccines as a gift from India,” she said.
Persad-Bissessar noted these countries include Antigua and Barbuda (175,000 doses), St Kitts & Nevis (20,000 doses), St Vincent and the Grenadines (40,000 doses), Suriname (50,000 doses) and St Lucia (25,000 doses). This is apart from fellow Caricom countries like Barbados (100,000 doses), Dominica (70,000 doses) and Jamaica (50,000 doses).
“How is it that our Caricom partners have all managed to source vaccine donations from India, yet Trinidad and Tobago has not had a similar arrangement?” she asked.
She said the country must ask Browne what exactly he has been doing for the past six months?
“Is Minister Browne so bad at his job he can’t arrange to collect vaccines from a nation giving them away? Is Minister Browne the new Dennis Moses?” asked Persad-Bissessar.
She said the Government cannot on one hand tell the country the Covid-19 pandemic is so severe that they need to immediately withdraw US$3 billion from the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund, and on the other hand say it’s improper to suggest Trinidad and Tobago is reeling from the pandemic.