“[…] Over the last week we have held the Jam Naked Fete and the Stink & Dutty Fete, which seemed to have got a free pass; they escaped all regulations and contributed to one of the bloodiest weekends of the decade. Murders, larceny, being drunk in public and wearing NO MASK in public were all violations piled up by citizens at the event.
“And it was endorsed by Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts, Randall Mitchell, as he attended…”
The following Letter to the Editor was submitted to Wired868 by Nicholas Kanhai, councillor for the electoral district of Barrackpore West:
Where are we heading as a nation? Trinidad and Tobago is rich in culture and religious harmony. All faiths have contributed to the development of our nation, it has taught respect, peace, love, unity, law and order amongst many other virtues.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic caught the Government with its pants down, they were ill-prepared and brought not law, but wishy-washy regulations on a weekly basis to the citizens.
It inhibited almost every aspect of our lives and livelihood, but our citizenry whilst outraged, they complied, for the most part. Because those who did not, were charged hefty fines.
We are 30 months into the pandemic, the country has reverted to a sense of normalcy with the exception of the controversial requirement to wear a face mask in public which took effect on 16 May 2021 through Legal Notice No 143:
4. (1) No person shall, without reasonable excuse, be-
(a) in a public place; or (b) at any of the following places:
(iii) a religious or ecclesiastical organisation for religious meetings or services conducted by electronic means for the purposes of recording or live streaming same, without wearing a face mask, face shield or face covering in a manner which covers his mouth, nose and chin.
After many revisions to the regulations, on 4 March 2022 in the Prime Minister’s statement in Parliament on COVID-19 response, he announced that, “We are removing restrictions with respect to the length of time and numerical capacity at religious places of worship. Mask wearing will continue to be required during services at religious places of worship.”
A religious meeting or service in Trinidad and Tobago is not an activity where those in attendance are unaware, hyper or unfocused, it is a peaceful activity where persons gather to connect with a supreme being or energy.
Regardless of how harmless this sounds, we must do this with our masks on. We must walk the streets and relax at the savannahs with our masks on, we must provide our vaccination cards before we are permitted entry into restaurants, our children must wear their masks to school and we comply.
But over the last week we have held the Jam Naked Fete and the Stink & Dutty Fete, which seemed to have got a free pass—they escaped all regulations and contributed to one of the bloodiest weekends of the decade.
Murders, larceny, being drunk in public and wearing NO MASK in public were all violations piled up by citizens at the event. And it was endorsed by Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts, Randall Mitchell, as he attended.
Is the Government really endorsing a lawless society? Or is it that mask-wearing is now an unregulated convenience?
There is no room for different strokes for different folks, therefore it is in the best interest of all of our citizens for the government to end the mandatory mask-wearing regulations now. Let citizens have the choice to wear masks in public for their personal safety.