AS he defended the Government’s decision to continue to have closed borders “because the virus is still raging”, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has taken issue with nationals who want the borders opened.
“I know that they are nationals who believe that it (the Covid-19 pandemic) done, it pass and it gone because we have escaped the worst so far,” he said at a Tobago House of Assembly election public People’s National Movement meeting in Mt Pleasant, Tobago, on Thursday night.
Referring to advocates demanding the return of the open border policy, he said: “There are those telling us ‘open the border, open the border’. I don’t want to believe that what they really want is for the virus to get the better of us so they could say the Government failed to manage it,” he said.
He added, “When you are Prime Minister you are a lonely man because there are decisions that only you have to make and when you make them you have to make them in the best interest of the people who expect you to make them.”
The Prime Minister said the virus could be ravaging if it spreads quickly in a small population.
He said the impact on a big population would be less.
“A big population could afford to lose 4,000 people a day...But picture losing 40 people a week or month in Tobago and see what you are going to be facing. My decision is to prevent that from happening insofar as I am able to,” he said.
The Prime Minister said if in order to protect Tobago’s population, it had come to a point where he had to close the borders between Trinidad and Tobago “so that those of you in Tobago would not be exposed to a virus in Trinidad” it would have been a decision he would have made. Fortunately, it did not come to that point, he noted.
“When the country recorded its first confirmation of the virus, there were Opposition members who said that (I) allowed the virus to come to Trinidad and Tobago. The next thing you will hear from them is that we caused the virus. We had a president saying that. They will repeat that just now.
“You are a sensible people and all I am asking you to do is to pay careful attention to who is managing your affairs, how your interests are being served and what good decisions are as against any decisions,” the Prime Minister said.
Tobago not following any Pied Piper
Rowley warned Tobagonians about people who believed that management of Tobago affairs merely required that they talk loud, talk about how intelligent they are so that the people would follow them in any nonsense they say.
“But you have demonstrated in Tobago that you are not following any Pied Piper,” he said.
He said the PNM was about solving problems and the party could engage anyone or any party on the issues of policies and programmes for the development of Tobago.
He said all the PNM candidates were prepared for the job at hand.
He said there were those who wanted to bad-talk the PNM and talk about what the PNM didn’t do but who had no success to show.
“They never mind a goat. They never plant an ochro...Many of them never manage a fowl coop, but they want to run to Tobago because they say so,” he said.
Directing his comments at the Opposition, he said: “They must know they place and find they class.”
He said he had every confidence that the average person in Tobago, that the vast majority of the people in Tobago were right-thinking and sensible people and that, come Monday, they know how to vote and whom to vote for.