Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley with his family

flashback, 2016: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley with his wife, Sharon, centre, daughters Sonel, right, and Tonya, Lucas (grandson) and Kareem (son-in-law) at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s.

—Photo: Office of the Prime Minister

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said yesterday that his daughter Sonel, who was granted an exemption to return home for the Christmas holiday, received no preferential treatment.

In fact, he said she was in the last batch of persons who came to Trinidad and Tobago for Christmas.

Categorically denying she jumped the queue, he said: “No, it wasn’t the head of the line, it was the end of the iguana tail. She came home on the last flight that could have brought her home in time for Christmas. No favours,” he said.

Addressing a question on the issue at yesterday’s post-Cabinet news conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, the Prime Minister said: “I’m a citizen of this country. I am proud of this country and I love this country, it is the only country I have. But sometimes, the beha­viour of some of our own people, it’s simply just disgusting. And I, for one, I’m not prepared to be guided by their level of behaviour.

“Everybody knows from day one—and I have said it from this platform—I am a father of a daughter who lives in New York, in the middle of New York when New York was the centre of the worst of Covid.

“And I lived with that every night and every day as I managed Trinidad and Tobago’s affairs, and it is not a talk, it is a feeling, and I am insulted at this stage for some nameless, faceless social media creature to be causing you (the reporter) to be talking to me about my daughter getting to the head of the line.

“No, it wasn’t the head of the line, it was the end of the iguana tail.... She desperately wanted to come home to her family during the year and had to stay right there in New York). I watched the numbers (going up in New York) and she was in New York taking the train, ta­king the Uber, mixing with people in the hospitals, and I am saying there but for the grace of God go I.

“And she has come home to this country among the last.... I saw her yesterday close up for the first time. So all those who feel they have a story with that, you all are on your own with that.”

The Prime Minister had earlier extended his “sympathy” to all those who were unable to have their family with them for Christmas.


Trinidad and Tobago is now at the height of the spike.

That spike, says Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Roshan Parasram, is T&T’s deadliest third wave of Covid-19.

He predicts that it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

Trinidad and Tobago is now under a state of emergency.

A curfew is also in effect, requiring citizens to stay in their homes between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., with exceptions made for essential workers.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced the measures yesterday, one day after the business community called for an state of emergency and curfew to be implemented in an effort to bring the Covid-19 case count under control.

The parallel healthcare system is at near capacity, even as hundreds of new Covid-19 cases are being reported daily.

Speaking at a news conference yesterday, Dr Maryam Abdool-Richards, Principal Medical Officer, Institutions, noted that more people are being admitted to hospital daily than those being discharged.

Young people are most hesitant about taking the Covid-19 vaccine, while those aged 65 and older are more likely than any other age group to express interest in getting it.

This is according to data of a 2021 Consumer Economic Study (CES) conducted by Market Facts & Opinions (2000) Ltd (MFO) over the period April 14 to May 3, 2021.

Respondents were asked to indicate their perceptions of the Covid-19 vaccine, and whether they were prepared to be vaccinated.