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.
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?”