National Security Minister Stuart Young said yesterday there was no evidence the first immigration worker to become Covid-positive contracted the virus at work.
The minister was responding to an urgent question in the Senate from Opposition Senator Wade Mark.
Young said from day one frontline workers in the Immigration Department who have to interact with the public were provided with PPE (personal protective equipment) and there was daily sanitising of their areas on an as needed basis.
“There is no evidence that the virus was contracted by the initial immigration worker in the line of duty and at work,” he said.
Young said he wanted to take the opportunity to thank the immigration workers who have been frontline workers from day one when the Government began dealing with the pandemic.
He said immigration officers have been doing yeoman service, adding that throughout the pandemic the Ministry of National Security had been guided by the public health experts.
“Once any immigration officer tests positive, the whole shift—those who have contact as a result of contact tracing, (those) who were in proximity (to the person)— are sent on quarantine.
“It was one (who), initially, tested positive and others as a result of testing were then picked up, and tested positive, and the shift was sent on quarantine,” he said.
Young said with respect to testing, the ministry continued to be guided by the Ministry of Health, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and his team.
He said the provisions and protocols for testing remain the same in that persons are tested once they present any symptoms or as a result of contact tracing. He said on occasion the primary contacts are tested.
Young thanked the Airports Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (AATT) for the sanitising it did over all of the immigration areas at Piarco International Airport following the initial Covid case in Immigration.
Minister suggests coroner’s inquest
Young also suggested a coroner’s inquest could be a useful mechanism for probing the unfortunate death of 30-year-old Ornella Greaves, the pregnant mother of five who was killed while recording protests near the Beetham Highway on June 30, 2020.
Witnesses had initially claimed Greaves had been killed by shots fired by police officers but Police Commissioner Gary Griffith had stated no footage was found to indicate police officers were near the scene of the shooting.
At the time, the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) had stated it was conducting its own investigations into the incident.
Responding to Mark for an update, Young noted yesterday there was a procedure in law, “the coroner’s inquest, perhaps [it] is an appropriate channel to be used in these circumstances”.
Young said there was an ongoing police investigation. He said a PCA investigation would only be held if there is a suspicion that the police were involved.
He said it was initially thought there might have been police involvement but thereafter there was no evidence that the stray bullet (which killed Greaves) came from the police and that the police who were at the scene at the time came there as a result of something else.
Asked whether the coroner’s inquest was his (Young’s) preferred course in order to get to the bottom of this matter, the minister said: “It is not for me to make the suggestion or otherwise. There is a procedure in law and it is available in circumstances such as this.
“My personal belief is that it is not used as frequently as it should be and it may be appropriate in the current circumstances that a coroner’s inquest be launched to investigate this particular unfortunate incident.”