“[…] Mrs Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s most recent attack on our senior public servants in the health care sector must be condemned in the strongest possible manner.
“[…] For the leader of the opposition to suggest that these medical professionals are in some form or fashion contributing to ‘premeditated, state-sanctioned murder’ is scurrilous and disgusting. It is a lie. It is dangerous in the extreme…”
The following press statement on Leader of the Opposition Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s criticism of the Ministry of Health’s top health care professionals was submitted to Wired868 by Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) political leader David Abdulah:
The Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) has on several occasions criticised the leader of the opposition for her attacks on the medical professionals in our country’s public health care system.
We have said that these attacks are wrong for two reasons: one because as public servants they cannot respond and; two because challenges to their competence as medical professionals should not come from non-medical persons, especially politicians who offer no scientific evidence in support of that challenge. This only serves to create doubt and a loss of confidence in their medical advice and work in combating the pandemic.
What is worse is that when the leader of the opposition engages in such attacks many of her supporters simply repeat these statements as if they were true, while the party’s bloggers amplify them with comments that are downright dangerous.
We have seen what that type of political behaviour caused in the United States where former US president Donald Trump used personal vilification and not a debate on policies as his means of winning popular support and weaponising a political base. We must avoid that at all costs in our country given the political divisions on ethnic lines between the parliamentary parties.
This is why Mrs Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s most recent attack on our senior public servants in the health care sector must be condemned in the strongest possible manner.
While we do not wish to give her statement any more oxygen, it is necessary to repeat it so that we do not lose sight of how dangerous her statement was.
We quote: ‘He (Dr Keith Rowley) is keeping the same failed medical team, now turned propaganda team of [Terrence] Deyalsingh, [Dr Roshan] Parasram, [Dr Maryam] Abdool-Richards, [Dr Avery] Hinds and [Dr Michelle] Trotman. These people have been in charge for over 15 months and led us into this disaster of over 600 deaths. Continuing with them in charge is deadly and amounts to premeditated, state-sanctioned murder.’
Let us ignore the inclusion of the minister of health. For the leader of the opposition to suggest that these medical professionals are in some form or fashion contributing to ‘premeditated, state-sanctioned murder’ is scurrilous and disgusting. It is a lie. It is dangerous in the extreme.
It cannot be allowed to go without a demand that Mrs Persad-Bissessar unreservedly retract her statement and apologise to these senior doctors who are the backbone of our public health response to the pandemic.
This is yet another example of how our leaders in the Parliament are failing the country in this moment of crisis. The recent statement by the minister of national security in Parliament that ‘if Covid had a face it would be the face of the UNC’ is another such example.
The extreme adversarial nature of our political culture and systems is why the MSJ proposed the Roundtable and National Assembly. In our proposals we also stated that the leader of the opposition should be briefed by our medical professionals and that the political attacks by the two parties on each other cease during this time of crisis.
We need a balanced approach to dealing with the crisis not the politics of desperation and bile.
We are increasingly concerned that instead of a national coming together to deal with the crisis we are becoming dangerously polarised as the two parties seek to use the health, economic and social crisis to win support by any means necessary even if this means destroying the country. The MSJ will do all we can to prevent such an outcome.