Home / View Point / Martin Daly / Daly Bread: Angry dus’ in we face; unvigilant Dr Rowley’s Easter own goal

Daly Bread: Angry dus’ in we face; unvigilant Dr Rowley’s Easter own goal

In the parliamentary debate held on Monday last, the boastful confirmation from the minister of transport that the air and sea bridges carried 50,000 persons between Trinidad and Tobago during the Easter week came up again.

The prime minister reportedly ‘dismissed as a distortion the opposition leader’s reference to the minister of works’ statement that approximately 50,000 visitors went to Tobago over Easter’, claiming that ‘the works minister never said 50,000 people travelled one way—the movement of persons was equally in both directions from Trinidad to Tobago and from Tobago to Trinidad’.

Photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
(via Office of the Prime Minister)

Unfortunately, it does not matter what direction the 50,000 persons travelled and whether they stayed in paid accommodation or with family or friends. The government’s eager facilitation of such a travel demand was wholly inconsistent with what the government well knew was dangerous, illustrated by the reported words of the prime minister:

‘We understood the danger that we were facing was a mixing of the population and movement of people around, in a population where the virus existed. If we did have that kind of thing going on, you have greater numbers of people infected and by extension, greater numbers of deaths.’

The deficiencies of the opposition are allowing the government to take more than the usual liberties with the intelligence of the population in its ongoing attempt—playing as much politics as the opposition—to place sole responsibility for the current runaway outbreak of the Covid-19 on the behaviour of the population, even though the government has easy access to powers to restrict our tendency to ‘laxness’.

In the debate, the prime minister also angrily tried to put the responsibility for the runaway outbreak on the opposition by asserting that the opposition ‘organised gatherings of people called vigils, thousands of people for a month, trying to exploit the death of Andrea Bharatt’.

Photo: The public responds to the death of 23-year-old Andrea Bharatt, whose body was found in the Heights of Aripo on 4 February 2021.

That unseemly move backfired. It stimulated closer inquiries into the extent of infections in early and mid-March, well before Easter. The emerging statistical information confirms a pre-Easter surge. Whatever the source of that surge, it points to the government having made a landmark error of judgment in taking its own lax approach to the Easter holiday period.

Andrea’s funeral was on February 12. It seems inconclusive whether vigils (at least one with the attorney general in attendance) contributed substantially to infections. More significantly, Dr Avery Hinds stated that ‘we began to see a steady increase from one week to the next beginning as early as the second week in March’.

I refer again to my previously unanswered question arising out of the disclosures of the chief medical officer (CMO): who were the people, in response to the CMO’s concern at the increase in Covid-19 infections in early March, who ‘thought’ that the increase ‘was too small’?

The prime minister has now, as reported on Tuesday, ‘denied without fear of contradiction that anybody, advising the government from the Ministry of Health or anywhere else who was authorised to do so, had given the government any advice about any action to be taken in March, which the government did not take’.

Photo: Ministry of Health chief medical officer Dr Roshan Parasram prepares to face the media at a virtual press conference on 7 May 2020.
(Copyright Ghansham Mohammed/GhanShyam Photography/Wired868)

That denial has loopholes. It is plainly limited to advice about ‘any action to be taken in March’ and does not deny that there was an increase in infections known in early March; nor does it deny that there was concern about the multiplicative effect of those increases. Indeed, in light of Dr Hinds’ statement, such a denial seems a difficult task.

Moreover, the CMO has been careful to say recently that ‘it is the prime minister and other cabinet members who lend their advice as to what should and should not be acceded to’. So he is obviously not a person ‘authorised’ to tell the government what to do.

Clearly however, the Ministry of Health must have known of the pre-Easter surge, whatever its source, and the concern about it—but no action was taken to restrict Easter frolics. Did the government dismiss ‘the science’?

The government’s responsibility for letting Easter loose, resulting in what Dr Hinds labelled ‘the surge from congregations over Easter’ and a ‘surge upon a surge’ is becoming clearer. No more angry dus’ in we face please.

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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6 comments

  1. L. Siddhartha Orie

    It is with relief that a prominent member of society has dared express his view on this life and death matter and it is hoped that other national icons come forth in the spirit of the expression, evil reigns when good men stay quiet.
    We have lots of persons whom the average person looks up to for inspiration, guidance, and at no other time in our history your voice is more needed – especially that the opposition is there in name and not in reality and when one of them cant say Tobagonian but scrambles the letters to say “Toggobanian” instead.
    While the opposition is guilty of sleeping on the job, one feels if Kamla was in charge, we would, since February, have got enough vaccine from India, back then and by now most of, if not all of the country would have been vaccinated, and surge would have been a word unused in our lexicon.
    PNM has dropped the baton, the ball, and the opportunity we had to be a favoured country as in the past and now the country is made to pay, to suffer, to perish, because of the incompetence and ghetto arrogance of one man, a two-bit dictator.

    • Lasana Liburd

      Apart from the maths in vaccinating over one million people in four months (and the competence required for that), I’m curious about why you accuse the prime minister of ‘ghetto arrogance’? Where does the ‘ghetto’ part come from? What about the prime minister makes the word ‘ghetto’ come to mind?

    • thehandbehindthecurtain

      @orie One more thing, US federal law is quite clear if you use US dollars to commit a crime eg bribery, corruption, money laundering etc. then they can target you anywhere in the World. If you give a TT Police, Gov Minister etc. a USD500000 bribe to facilitate whatever the USA can prosecute that, to them it makes no difference that that crime happened on TT soil because their money being used in the crime makes it their business. Everybody knows that the US intelligence are spying all over the place, and leaders and the opposition are targets for sure in any country, they even spied on Angela Merkel and on the French President and his subordinates, if they can do that to their closest allies then they have no limits. What did the USA find in TT?
      Now my point is this could the UNC’s toeing of the US line be some kind of slave deal to save their backsides?
      Why is the UNC so hell bent on using even the US talking points to describe Maduro and also Rowley. What exactly is going on, it makes no sense except if the USA has something on the UNC. A deal was made?
      Allegedly of course, we wouldn’t want to accuse anybody of any wrongdoing right lmao.

  2. Firstly, you would be accused of being UNC and unpatriotic. Rowlie is using his own science and he is the only one who believes himself

  3. Luckily enough, less than 5% of the 20% of the adult population that read the newspapers read the columnists and so are not exposed to their intellectual gymnastics. To put it politely.
    Unfortunately, I am one of the 5% that stayed in school a little longer than most.