Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley 

PRIME Minister Dr Keith Rowley has accused the Opposition Leader of shamelessly trying to “tief” credit for two Covid-19 field hospitals donated by the government of the United States.

In a post yesterday on his Facebook account, “Dr Keith Rowley”, the PM said Kamla Persad-Bissessar and the United National Congress (UNC) were also disrespecting the intelligence of the population.

“The real problem with the UNC saying the field hospitals are a result of their intervention is that they actually expect to get people to believe that it could be done in two days,” Rowley said.

“This is the reason why they resort to the naked lie, in the hope of getting political credit. They are not only barren of ideas, but they will ‘tief’ some credit if they think the opportunity arises.”

He said the “two field hospitals that were generously donated by the United States government are the result of an agreement we made with the US government dating back to September 2020”.

The field hospitals arrived in Trinidad and Tobago last month, Rowley said.

One of the field units has been set up at the Couva Hospital and Multi-Training Facility, with the second going up at the Jean Pierre Complex, Port of Spain.

Rowley said on TTT’s Now Morning Show on Wed­nesday that the development was not indicative that Co­vid-19 infections were “out of control”, but meant T&T was receiving help from the US to expand its treatment capabilities.

The units pro­vide an ad­ditional 40 beds each, and include in­tensive care (ICU) and high-dependency units (HDU), bringing much-needed relief to the parallel health­care system set up to treat Covid-19 patients.

“That system has for the past fortnight been close to capacity as the country witnesses a surge in new daily infections—and deaths—with health officials warning repeatedly that the parallel system could easily become overwhelmed.

The UNC on Wednesday thanked the US for the units and suggested in a news release that the donation was as a result of a call made on Monday night by Persad-Bissessar.

The Opposition statement quoted the former prime minister as having said, “So, you come to blame. But you have no plans. How are you going to increase bed space? Because you are telling us that we are going to have a shortage of bed space as we go along. What you doing? Do you have a plan?”

The release said Persad-­Bissessar had further said: “Can I make a suggestion? Can we write to the US or ask the US or other developed countries? They can help us with the mobile hospital units that they have. We saw it (in) the height of the pandemic in the developed countries, that they were using these mobile units because we can’t build a hospital between now and tomorrow and next week if (there is) this bed shortage. And, already, you’re telling us it’s filled to capacity.”

According to the UNC, Persad-Bissessar’s suggestion was “yet another bold, innovative solution” that could be added to the long list of solutions she has offered in order to save the country.

That release also recalled Persad-Bissessar’s letter of appeal to India Prime Minister Narendra Modi last January, appealing for a donation of Covid-19 vaccines to save T&T from a crisis.

Shameless Kamla

However, Rowley asser­t­ed that “the Opposition Lea­d­er was passing outside the Couva Hospital and Multi-Training Facility and saw the field hospital going up”.

He recalled in his Facebook post that mention was made previously of the need to expand bed capacity for less severe Covid-19 cases by Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram.

“This after we spoke about expanding bed space for patients who require a lower level of patient care as Dr Parasram mentioned last week,” Rowley posted.

“She discovered what it was and that it came from the US. She then went on her platform and, as she did with her infamous letter to Prime Minister Modi, made a call to the Government to ask the US for a field hospital (after she saw it in Couva), then framed a press release to give herself credit for bringing it about.

“How shameless and disrespectful of the intelligence of citizens in this country,” said the PM.

Rowley then added: “It is being asked, is there anything they wouldn’t steal?”


Three Opposition MPs are calling on the Government and the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) to have a heart and stop disconnecting the water supply of errant customers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Barataria/San Juan MP Saddam Hosein yesterday wrote to WASA’s executive director Lennox Sealey urging him to suspend the drive and display humanity as people are suffering and strapped for cash in the pandemic given the lockdowns.

The same UNC people calling on the Government to instruct WASA to hold its hand on debt collection are the same ones who complain in the Parliament and elsewhere that they constituents are not getting water.

“You cannot have it both ways. You cannot have your cake and eat it,” Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales said yesterday, as he responded to calls from several UNC MPs to grant a moratorium on the payment of water rates and stop its disconnection drive during the pandemic because people are under pressure.

Smooth sailing.

Braving inclement weather, Barataria resident Kenneth Campbell, 84, boasted he had gotten his second Sinopharm vaccine at Barataria Health Centre yesterday.

While awaiting his driver, Campbell, father of late forest ranger Keith Campbell (who was killed in the line of duty in 2016), said: “The first vaccine, I got was from a man. I did not feel it. The second vaccine was from a woman, and I felt it. It went well.”

Starting Wednesday and yesterday, he was among thousands of elderly citizens (age 65 and up) who got vaccines under the Health Ministry’s “Triple E System—the Elderly Express Experience.”

Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith is reminding citizens that patrols will be out prior to and during the enforcement of this weekend’s extended curfew.

In a media release issued yesterday, Griffith noted the actions and comments of “social media trained law enforcement experts”, who appeared to be questioning the rationale in implementing roadblocks throughout the country.

Time is critical if you are searching for a missing loved one.

Kelvin Ballantyne had been missing for about three months from his Tobago home before his family members in Trinidad were informed that he had disappeared.

Kelvin, also known as “Redman”, is described by his sister, Cindy Noel, as “one of the most well-known people in Lambeau, and maybe even across the island because of his job as an electrician”.