Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar is calling on government to allow the resumption of non-essential activity, saying workers in this group have unfairly carried the brunt of suffering from the pandemic.
“The Government must put out a plan for non-essential workers to return to work as early as next week. Again, I remind the government of the significant hardship that has gripped many families as a result of not being able to earn an income,” Persad-Bissessar said in a statement on Wednesday, noting that hundreds of thousands of people are suffering due to the pandemic.
“There is too much suffering in this country. Citizens are desperately worried about where they will get food, how they will pay rent, electricity bills, loan payments, and are distressed over their depleted life savings,” she said.
Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley, in announcing the current State of Emergency on may 15th, insisted that he would act “without fear or favor” doing what was best for citizens, whether it was popular or not. He noted, at the time, that government was more invested in saving lives over livelihoods amid a current spike in Covid-19 infections and deaths.
But Persad-Bissessar has accused Dr. Rowley of being insensitive to the needs of the man on the ground.
“Government, some business owners, and Chambers appear to be living in an alternate reality. They have the luxury of staying at home, receiving an income, and having their meals prepared for them. These people clearly do not have an iota of care for the poor,” she chided.
The Opposition Leader supported her call for an ease on restrictions in the non-essential sector, pointing to the statistics which show that total new cases from April 30th to June 2nd was at 14,228, while the cases from May 16th to June 2nd, the duration of the SoE,being 8,827.
“The Government placed unqualified administrators in charge of managing our health system, possibly resulting in the unnecessary deaths of our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents,” the Opposition Leader said.
The current Covid-19 Public Health Regulations, which restrict the operation of non-essential businesses, expires on July 4th.
The State of Emergency, which was extended int he Parliament last Monday, will remain in place until August 30th.