Daly Bread: Continuing vaccine mamaguy; disgusting UNC statements and govt’s non-disclosure

The utterances of the leader of the opposition are regressing further. They descended last week into the disgusting, when she attacked the members of the public health medical team, who regularly appear at the Covid-19 Response media conferences.  

She linked them to ‘state-sanctioned murder’ because we have over 600 Covid deaths. There was also her additional insult about propaganda.

Photo: UNC political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
(via UNC)

That might be an expression of political free speech, but I disagree that these public health medical team members are purveyors of propaganda. To the contrary, two of the senior members are keeping public information as honest as they can, particularly as they have to interact with a frequently vainglorious political leadership. I refer to our trusted Dr Roshan Parasram, the chief medical officer (CMO) and Dr Avery Hinds, principal epidemiologist.

Throughout this pandemic ordeal, doctors Parasram and Hinds have kept the record straight on critical issues, such as what the government knew or ought to have known about rising infections in mid-March before it let Easter loose for incautious citizens to frolic, and about the introduction of the P 1, or Brazilian, variant from South America.

The government recently promised vaccines that it did not have in nearly sufficient enough numbers to satisfy the current demand for vaccines, which the government itself stimulated with an eye for political kudos.

In light of the prime minister’s gracious apology for the mamaguy of calling the elderly out for vaccines that did not exist in sufficient quantities, it made some sense to accept the prime minister’s apology and try to move on.

Photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley (right) addresses the media while Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh (centre) and Minister of Finance Colm Imbert look on.
(via Office of the Prime Minister)

Unfortunately, it immediately became difficult to move on. The day after the apology, a perplexing non-disclosure about the importation of some Pfizer vaccines was uncovered, following which—on the day after that (Monday last)—the CMO again made a valuable contribution to the public record.

The CMO gave a measured account of how the Pfizer vaccines arrived at the airport, apparently at or close to the time the prime minster had been speaking to us. Later that day, the minister of foreign and Caricom affairs departed from his normally careful language when seeking to defend the shipment.

The versions of this minister and the CMO whether all clearances from Customs and the Ministry of Health had been received conflicted. The CMO’s version seems be the accurate one because the shipment had to go into Customs bond on arrival and was only cleared on Wednesday last.

It is so terribly disappointing that this minister would seek to portray as ‘mischief’ the uncovering of the non-disclosure and the inevitable speculation, about for whom the vaccines were intended—which was intense because they were the Pfizer brand.

Photo: The Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.

That government response was another mamaguy. Plain and simple, the government let itself ‘get ketch’ importing Pfizer ‘on the side’. The mischief lay in the non-disclosure.

History has lessons for us. That’s probably why some old-time events are resurfacing. The sojourn of Dennis Stafford, the English criminal, who limed in Trinidad in high society while an escapee from a London prison, is one such event.  I have related this event countless times because it is a prime example of the lack of due diligence in respect of things foreign—especially of lighter shades.

I now make reference to the notorious ‘Sam Cooke show’ scam to illuminate how readily we can also be fooled by a hollow promise.

Valman Jones, a popular masquerader from the great Carnival bands of Harold Saldenha, advertised and achieved a sellout of tickets for two shows at Globe, at which the then famous early 1960’s soul singer Sam Cooke—who could woo his fans into a loving mood—was advertised to appear.  

A few days before the show, Jones reportedly made a sudden trip to Martinique and thence to London. Jones was not seen again in Trinidad for a few years.  

Photo: Famous late soul singer Sam Cooke.
(Copyright Jess Rand/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Needless to say Sam Cooke ent sing in Trinidad yet.

To the people in charge, please don’t ever again let vaccine importation and distribution become something like the Sam Cooke mamaguy. There is a vital need to engender a sustained period of public trust and confidence.  

We are not to be treated as members of some unintelligence community.

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About Martin Daly

Martin Daly
Martin G Daly SC is a prominent attorney-at-law. He is a former Independent Senator and past president of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago. He is chairman of the Pat Bishop Foundation and a steelpan music enthusiast.

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  1. I keep asking myself why am I still reading Martin Daly columns. Even just skimming through them.
    After his usual cherrypicking and gerrymandering of events in order to unload on Opposition and Government, especially Government, he padded the rest of his allotted column width with throwaway trivia.
    I must be, as they say, a glutton for punishment. But this was my last read.

  2. A war is almost impossible to win when soldiers at the rear shoot at their soldiers on the front line.

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