In 1978, calypso genius Sedley Joseph, aka Penguin, sang “Telco Poops”. This clever social commentary detailed the then systemic failure of the telephone system all over Trinidad and Tobago.

Wednesday’s vaccination debacle was reminiscent of Penguin’s brilliant composition. Terrence Deyalsingh and the Ministry of Health poops!

After a sustained campaign of marketing the efficacy of non-existent vaccines, scores of hopeful seniors left their homes fo’day morning to get the Chinese jab. They had to endure long lines and marinate in the sun and rain. Many were bitterly disappointed and mortified.

Despite the profuse apolo­gies and hand-wringing from Minister Deyalsingh, his surprise and unpreparedness for the large turnout of vaccine hopefuls is disingenuous at best.

Trinidad and Tobago’s citizens have been warned ad nauseam to stay at home and let death pass by.

People are scared since they have been left for so long to ward off Covid’s offensive with only fever grass and ginger. Why the surprise? Why the lack of preparedness?

Recently, the CEO of the NCRHA (North-Central Regional Health Authority) was touted as having a master’s degree with a dissertation that focused on “improving quality” on a platform of organisational transformation processes!

Yet hundreds of our elderly left health centres on Wednesday humming, “Deyalsingh, allyuh eh worth ah poops...”.

Many citizens of this country, whose only degrees are registered on a thermometer, knew there could be a rush for vaccines, hence their reason for going early. It was their only course of action.

The same cannot be said for those who could have organised drive-through facilities to shield people from the elements while effecting mass vaccinations.

Look how someone proficient in the ABC song was able to bela­tedly advise the minister to use the alphabet to deliver vaccines. Pure genius!

One hopes that the Ministry of Health will be able to get it right soon, and unlike with the investment sector, we could do better on the “ease of getting a Covid vaccine index”.

We need to employ first-world thinking and be real to defeat Covid.

There is too much about this vaccination rollout that stinks to the high heavens.

We know that by his own admission, Dr Rowley is a “kaiso” aficionado. I hope he and the health officials give Penguin a play and understand that our Ministry of Health is too critical to not even be worth a poops!

Andrew Cross

Tacarigua

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The initiation of a Commission of Enquiry into the Government’s management of Covid-19, for which Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is so passionately clamouring, would be instructive if it presented an opportunity for the people of Trinidad and Tobago to hear from her just how she would have managed this health crisis had she been in charge.

The hush-hush arrival of a “small donation” of vials of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, flown in and apparently hand-delivered by courier to the Ministry of National Security, raises more questions than the number of vials involved.

I am repeatedly asked by various stakeholders whether Covid-19 vaccination could be made mandatory, so today I offer some initial thoughts.

This is not a clear-cut legal question and there are good arguments on both sides. There is no law, precedent or policy which governs the matter at present. Labour law, public health and human rights issues intermingle and ultimately, what is reasonable and in the majority interest would likely prevail.

I hope the Government considers giving a booster shot of the Sinopharm vaccine if supplies are available to this country. Dr Amery Browne, Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs, said T&T will receive 200,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine from China this week.

Did the staff at the health centres know only 50 persons could have been be vaccinated per day? When they realised this, did they not think to register the names and telephone numbers of the other elderly citizens already in line from 5.30 a.m. who were sent home when the vaccinations ran out?

Why would a person willingly give up their family, job and community to embark on an illegal, dangerous journey to another country?

In the case of the Venezuelans, it’s because they are generally running away from unbearable, life-threatening circumstances.