Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Amery Browne condemned the Opposition Senators for attacking the “spirit” of the hard-working public servants.
Browne specifically named and responded to United National Congress (UNC) Senator Dr Tim Gopeessingh’s contribution to the budget debate.
“I am a proud graduate of the Medical Sciences of the University of the West Indies,” he said, adding that Gopeesingh was one the best lecturers at that faculty.
“He inspired me and I developed great respect and I still have great respect for Dr Gopeesingh. He has also saved many lives in this country,” Browne said.
“So I was deeply, deeply disappointed in some elements of Senator Gopeesingh’s contribution,” Browne said.
Browne said that Gopeesingh boasted that he taught several of the members of the Government’s COVID-19 response team and referred to them as “novices and neophytes”.
“Well I have a message to Dr Gopeesingh, yes you taught some of them and today your students, including me are now grown and serving and contributing to the people of Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.
“ A good teacher would take that as a credit as opposed to tearing down and attacking and denigrating the very service that your students are proudly providing today,” Browne said.
Browne said the “worst part” was that the public officers were not in the Chamber to defend themselves against Gopeesingh’s attack.
“I don’t consider any member of this Chamber a coward, but to attack their service in the way that it was attacked, the manner it was approached, I am forced to regard that as a cowardly approach,” he said.
Browne said that Gopeesingh used his Parliamentary privilege to attack the public servants and he would defend them.
Browne read out Gopeesingh’s social media post days after he recovered from COVID-19 in which he made a special mention and thanks to the doctors and nurses in the public health care system.
“Where was he hospitalised? In a different country with a different CMO (Chief Medical Officer) and a different PMO (Principal Medical Officer)?” Browne asked.
“It was right here in T&T,” he said.