Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley

A letter to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley—

Dear Mr Prime Minister,

The purpose of this letter is to openly and publicly appeal to you to take urgent steps to effectively address the current public health disaster engulfing our nation.

And, be assured, I am not referring to the distracting and controversial issues of safe and/or quasi-safe zones, or the many illogical and unscientific restrictions your Government has imposed on the people.

I am specifically appealing to you about the unacceptable daily deaths of innocent and seemingly hapless Trinbagonians.

I have exhausted myself cursing, openly and silently, many senior medical practitioners, so-called epidemiological experts, medi­cal experts of every hue and cry, in particular, the Medical Association of Trinidad and Tobago and all those who, apparently, have lost their voices and shamelessly betrayed their professional oaths, and have opted to remain dumb or dumbstruck as the unprecedented daily death toll soars.

Mr Prime Minister, all those so-called professionals, though undesirable, can get away with their indifference or sacrifice their professional integrity at the altar of personal selfishness or political expediency.

But not you, Mr Prime Minister. The buck stops with you.

The state of Delhi in India has a population of approximately 22 million. It is landlocked, with millions of its citizens living in overcrowded slums and breathing heavily polluted air on a daily basis.

Yet the Delhi State Health Bulletin—Co­vid-­19 records the following—(Bulletin No 671) on January 3, 2022, there was one death; on January 4 (Bulletin No 671), three deaths; on January 5 (Bulletin No 672), eight deaths. Prior to January 3, no deaths were recorded for many months in Delhi.

Our country, with 1.3 million people, surrounded by sea, clean air and lit by abundant sunlight, for the same period, has recorded the following: (a) January 1—14 deaths; (b) January 2—31; (c) January 3—22; (d) January 4—15.

For the month of December 2021, the total deaths numbered 711. An average of 23 deaths per day! As I write to you (7/1/22), Delhi has recorded six deaths; and Trinidad and Tobago, 19.

The reason for the current increase in deaths in Delhi is linked to the current spike in Covid-19 infections, yet check the daily death rate.

Mr Prime Minister, I am confident you will agree something is fundamentally wrong with respect to the manner in which your Govern­ment is dealing with the prevention and treatment of infected persons.

It appears as if your Government accepts that a daily average of 20 lives being lost to the pandemic is normal, unavoidable and is business as usual.

We are bombarded and distracted by whether or not persons are vaccinated, and the effects thereof, while the central issue of the prevention and treatment of the disease is deliberately swept below the carpet of incompetence.

While you remain relatively silent and appear impotent in the face of the alarming death rate, you remain duty-bound to take urgent, immediate and drastic steps.

Mr Prime Minister, you cannot expect to have your present Covid-19 team continue doing the same thing over and over, every day, and get different results. You of all people know this very well.

One recognises that this specific virus is a highly unusual one, but the entire globe is battling this very deadly virus. And our death rate, whether it is the highest per capita or per million, which is a fundamental difference—it is plainly unacceptable.

All the evidence suggests your Covid-19 team has failed miserably, and its failure may have resulted in avoidable deaths.

In my humble view, the minimum that ought to be done at this juncture is for you as PM to call an urgent and open national consultation with all stakeholders, including the ordinary citizens who have first-hand information of their pain, suffering and experiences at our health facilities.

And this consultation must not be managed by your Ministry of Health, including the minister—but an indepen­dent and respected panel.

The other matter of equal importance is the need to seek foreign assistance. This is nothing new to us as a country. At the slightest excuse, and on many occasions ill-advisedly, we have rushed to pay millions of dollars in legal opinions or representation from so-called foreign lawyers in the UK, or hired foreign policemen to assist in solving crimes committed here.

Mr PM, activate your embassies/high com­missions and seek help. Begin with India and China, which have controlled their death and infection rates effectively, and in record time.

Mr Prime Minister, I am taking the unusual step in publicly reaching out to you because I am of the view that these are unusual times and enough is enough.

Both as a citizen and someone who publicly supported you in your campaign to become PM in 2015, I feel I can take this liberty. Mr Prime Minister, how many more must die?

Dave Persad

attorney, and former

high commissioner to India

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