(flashback)Minister of National Security Stuart Young during his address at the Ministry of Health office at Park Street, Port of Spain, on Saturday.  

THE Government is not locking down the country with a state of emergency at this time as a treatment to the deadly COVID-19 virus.

It is also not shutting down the inter-island ferry service between Trinidad and Tobago.

These were some of the answers provided by Government ministers yesterday at the Parliament sitting at the Red House, Port of Spain, in response to urgent questions from the Opposition.

There are now 60 COVID-19 positive cases in Trinidad and Tobago.

Opposition MP Ramona Ramdial asked whether the Government intends to implement a nationwide lockdown with full force of the law in light of the increasing number of COVID-19 patients and to prevent further spread.

National Security Minister Stuart Young said the response and all issues related to COVID-19 is a “very fluid” process.

“As we’ve said repeatedly the Government will continue to do what is responsible for Trinidad and Tobago. At this stage it is not on the front burner that we implement any nationwide lockdown but we continue to be guided most importantly by medical expert advice of the Chief Medical Officer and his staff from the Ministry of Health,” he said.

Law a last resort

Ramdial asked whether the minister can give an update with respect to marshalling those citizens who are not following any advisories being sent out by the National Security Ministry.

Young said the number-one frontrunner in handling and responding to COVID-19 is the Health Ministry.

He reminded that the CMO has the power of the Quarantine Act and the ministry has the full support of the National Security Ministry and together an inter-ministerial committee has developed a list of those persons the Health Ministry would like to ensure is quarantined.

He said it comes down to self-discipline.

“This Government is not going to be using the law unnecessarily but we will if we have to... the police are assisting the CMO and the Health Ministry with whatever they need, including patrolling outside certain homes,” he said.

Ferries sanitised

Ramdial asked Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh to advise whether all passengers on CAL flights which transported imported cases have been contacted, screened and quarantined.

Deyalsingh said they are guided by international protocols and under the aircraft general declaration there is a special consideration for managing COVID-19 cases outbreak in aviation.

He said protocol states that you contact trace persons within a one to two-metre radius of any seat where a person sits.

Ramdial asked if there were any plans to shut down the inter-island ferry service in light of news that a foreign passenger was suspected with COVID-19 on board.

In response, Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan said there is no information to suggest that any passenger foreign or local suspected of having the COVID-19 virus was allowed to travel on the ferry service.

The minister advised that the Port Authority has implemented several measures specifically related to the ferry and cargo terminal and vessels operating on the sea bridge, one of which is restrictions to persons exhibiting flu like symptoms to the terminal and vessels.

Other measures, he said, include engaging a sanitisation company to undertake steam cleaning of the vessel before and after sailings.

Ramdial asked whether the Tobago House of Assembly intended to implement testing and quarantining of passengers who enter via the seabridge.

Sinanan said he could not speak for the THA, however, “I can say that screening is done at both terminals in Trinidad and Tobago by the Port Authority.”

He added that Government received 15 thermal scanners and they will be utilised. 


When Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced a roll-back of Covid-19 restrictions on August 15, hundreds of people flocked to beaches and rivers for a “last dip”.

THE life and lifestyle of every citizen of Trinidad and Tobago is subsidised by the Government in some form—from the fuel subsidy which affects taxi fares, to electricity rates, free education, free health care, to airplane tickets to Tobago.

Subsidies and transfers have accounted for more than 50 per cent of the country’s annual budget between 2010 and 2020.

When you enter the Jeetam family’s home, the first thing you notice are the photos of their son.

In the gallery, a large collage made up of photos of happy moments in his life is pinned to the wall.

On the front door, another photo of the smiling 27-year-old hangs proudly.

In the living room, another life-size photograph of the former Fatima College pupil is positioned just behind the family’s sofa.

He is fairly new on the political block.

But when you speak to him, Symon de Nobriga is a regular type of guy, pleasant, unassuming, down to earth, fun, with an entrepreneurial spirit.

As he makes the transition from a former chairman of the Diego Martin Regional Corporation to Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Communications, he is in it to learn, to grow, and to do his part in ensuring that the public of Trinidad and Tobago receives information consistently on the decisions and activities of this Government.

There are incidents from the 1970 revolution that many in society still aren’t aware of.

This has caused a contextual gap in the issues of the day.

This was the consensus yesterday as the Bocas Lit Fest continued its online panel discussion with a forum on “The Legacies of 1970—What do the ideas of the Black Power Revolution mean for us today?”