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Dear Editor: Prime Minister is feeling strain of bungled public sector vaccination drive

“[…] The Prime Minister was forced to concede defeat on his ‘mandatory/safe zones’ initiatives for the public sector. Not only was that completely bungled by his Attorney General-turned-Minister of Labour, recently turned Minister of Marine Affairs, but the labour movements called his bluff. 

“He now has to move his deadline of 17 January back to some time in February. We all know what happens when he has to reschedule. Ask Watson Duke and Farley Augustine in Tobago…”

The following Letter to the Editor on Government’s struggle to implement a Public Service and Public Sector Vaccination Programme was submitted to Wired868 by Rae Samuel of Balmain:

Photo: A Riot police tearga canister spits out its unfriendly contents.

The events at the Queen’s Park Savannah on Sunday could be expressed through the coarse vernacular of which our PM has grown so fond. The old saying ‘yuh arse is grass’ became ‘tear-gas in everybody arse’.

Demonstrators on a peaceful Sunday, armed with nothing more than a desire to express a different point of view on the Covid situation as well as cell phones and placards, were tear-gassed by the police. 

The fact that there were children in the march, which attests to the level of threat the marchers represented, meant nothing to the squadrons of heavily-armed police, who alternate between traffic stops and chasing car thieves along our roadways.

Do/will they ever tear gas ‘Scoon-ers’ belonging to relatives of cabinet ministers, who by their playbook represent an even greater health threat? We may live to see the day—along with the face of God.

Efforts will be made to scapegoat the police who did this. Let us not be fooled. A tear gas canister and the mask to protect against it are not simply extra bullets, batons or handcuffs. This is another level and authorisation must come from the highest levels based on an evaluation of the situation. 

Photo: A protester is arrested by police at the Queen’s Park Savannah on 16 January 2022.
(Copyright Rhianna McKenzie)

Even Gary Looney would not have dared go so far on his own.

The day before, in a rambling and at times incoherent media briefing which once again was anything but brief, the Prime Minister was forced to concede defeat on his ‘mandatory/safe zones’ initiatives for the Public Sector. 

Not only was that completely bungled by his Attorney General-turned-Minister of Labour, recently turned Minister of Marine Affairs, but the labour movements called his bluff. He now has to move his deadline of 17 January back to some time in February.

We all know what happens when he has to reschedule. Ask Watson Duke and Farley Augustine in Tobago.

Politics, governance, leadership is never just about an individual but the personality of the leader can impact the outcome of events in a significant way. The PNM under Dr Keith Rowley is under strain in events big and small.

Consider the appointment process to select a police commissioner, the cut-tail received in the Tobago House of Assembly elections, boat party and other social events taken under advisement from senior cabinet officials, the failed ‘quasi-safe zone’ policy in the public service offices…

Photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley (left) and Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi.
(Copyright Office of the Attorney General)

Heck, the Prime Minister and his party seem to be having a political Covid crisis of their own.

Yet he and, by extension, his party remain trapped in their history and culture. Cheated on his ‘mandatory vaccination’ campaign, he appoints a team to investigate the state of the health services. 

Would he have us believe that he has never heard the cries of the Trinidad and Tobago Registered Nurses Association? Or, as one comrade succinctly put it, he has only to ask any Trinbagonian, who has had cause to seek any kind of medical treatment at a public health facility.

I see a bad moon rising. I see trouble on the way and I see the ‘ground’ rising.

The old order is passing. 

As Fidel Castro told us, ‘new forms of struggle will emerge, new leadership will emerge’.

And the Good Book tells us ‘fret not thyself because of evildoers’.

It is a wonderful time to be alive.

About Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor
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