The Lady of Perpetual Help, Harris Promenade, San Fernando.

Photo: Dexter Philip

Open letter to Minister Terrence Deyalsingh:

Ay, caramba! A daily newspaper on Wednesday reported Minister Deyalsingh as stating “...the bulk of people who seem to be vaccine-hesitant are of the Christian faith”.

The newspaper also reported him as saying, “With the way the Bible and the teachings of the Bible have been interpreted or misinterpreted... there are many such pastors doing that both in Trinidad and Tobago.”

This highly respected minister has continually emphasised the importance of looking at the science, trusting the experts and relying on the data as he has guided us through the pandemic. However, in confidently informing the public of his conclusions as to the source of vaccine hesitancy, why did he not inform us of the total number of persons of our 1.4 million population who were surveyed, the date of the survey and the catchment area covered?

I am vaccinated, I was never approached to be surveyed. No one I know was surveyed; they are vaccinated.

Of those who were surveyed, how many were Muslim, Hindu, Orisa, Bahai, Rastafarian, atheist, agnostic, or other religions, or professed no religious belief at all? And of those who were Christian, how many of them were led by pastors, and how many of them were led by priests?

What was the ratio? What were the differentials? Where was the data, minister? Where were the graphs and numbers to support your statement that “the bulk of people who are vaccine-hesitant are of the Christian faith”?

Further, is Minister Deyalsingh an expert in matters of theology so that he can lecture and correct pastors on what is a correct or incorrect interpretation of the Holy Bible? If so, Sir, let us know.

Unsupported statements are reckless and can incite hate and division. Remember the reported incidents of violence which erupted against Asians in the United States after then-president Trump referred to the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus”.

Our national media briefing is a trusted platform which the citizenry relies on for objective information. It must not be wrongly used to advance any other agenda than one which serves the national interest. If Minister Deyalsingh has no data, no statistics and possesses no relevant expertise, then I shudder to think what his statements were based upon. We are citizens of a land where every creed finds an equal place, Minister. God bless our nation.

Jamie Pierre

via e-mail


It saddens me to write what I am about to, but it’s a harsh reality that we must face and fight, or, if we are the unpatriotic cowards many believe we are, then we might consider joining millions of others across the world who abandon all hope in their native lands and become refugees, moving like nomads anywhere the wind and fellow refugees take them.

The prime minister’s attempt to frame the issues leading to the collapse of the Police Service Commission and subsequent events as political “janjhat and ra-ra” is sadly ­misguided.

On August 12, an unnamed high-level visitor to President’s House made an intervention that stopped the delivery to the Parliament of the Police Service Commission’s (PolSC) merit list of candidates for Police Commissioner.

The inept handling of the affairs of the Police Service Commission and, more particularly, the imbroglio surrounding the office of Commissioner of Police leading to its eventual collapse have created an ongoing crisis that seems to have no end.

It is quite unseemly for the President to propose names of persons for appointment to the Police Service Commission without responding to the call from large sections of civil society for an explanation of the comess that occurred over the last several weeks.