Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby Dolly says mask wearing is essential and she only removed her mask for a photo opportunity in front of the new "I love Maracas" sign.
The Minister, who is also the Member of Parliament for St Ann's East told the Express via WhatsApp that she held her constituency day yesterday at the Maracas Bay RC Church and decided to take a photo in front the sign as it is part of her constituency.
Gadsby-Dolly said she always wears her mask and pointed out that when the photo was taken she was standing alone.
She also noted that when she met her constituents she wore her mask.
The Minister reiterated the importance of mask wearing.
Gadsby Dolly has received criticism from some members of the public for posing without a face mask.
The photograph of the Minister was posted to her Facebook page and sparked several criticisms.
The post accompanying the photo stated "And.... we're here! SAE Office Day in Maracas Bay today!! #LifeIsBetterInSAE #SAEProud".
Some members of the public suggested that the Minister may have just removed her mask for the photo.
But, others were not forgiving and some called for the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service to take action as was done with "beach boaster" Samantha Ramischand.
"No mask. What a wonderful example for the nation’s children" stated one comment.
"Yes she’s there for a specific reason and she didn’t decide to just make today a beach day but why did she remove her mask for the picture? If any citizen of T&T goes by the Maracas sign and removes their mask just for a picture and a police officer sees them, they WILL BE TICKETED. Why isn’t she leading by example? Why wasn’t the post "SAE Office Day in Maracas Bay today!! Remember to do your part and wear your mask to help fight the spread of covid19!!"?" stated another.
"The beach is a public place. Terrance Deyalsingh please note that Mrs. Dolly is in a public place without a mask. Mr. Griffith since equality was begged of you. Like the Ramischand woman hope that Mrs. Dolly electronic devices and other items are taken for investigation. Since the pnm administration begging for equality. What's good for the goose is blasted good for the gander" another criticised.
One person even lent some advice stating "Madam Minister the picture is not telling the correct narrative and this is way you are being bashed. Even though you are in the constituency that you have been elected to represent. No mask and you are on the beach! It is not looking right!".
Some came to the defence of the Minister.
"This is part of her constituency and I am sure the minister simply took off the mask to take the picture, there is no one around her. No need to fuss people" stated a post.
"I believe this area falls under her constituency. So she's probably doing some site visit down there atm. She didnt just get up and decide I'll make my office on the beach today.
Yes she took of her mask to take the picture in public, which is in poor judgment. But let's not jump down throat, I'm sure she put it right back on after" added another.
Later in the day, photos of Gadsby-Dolly were posted on her Facebook page wearing a mask and meeting constituents.
"Happy to be among my constituents today at Maracas Bay. A privilege to serve them. Beautiful scenery, beautiful people. #SAEProud, #LifeIsBetterInStAnnsEast" the post stated.