Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley addresses members of the media during a press conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s yesterday.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has said the value of the savings in his mutual funds account declined by almost 40 per cent, due to current market conditions.

At yesterday’s briefing, he said he’s “now down” that much. He added that in coping with the COVID-19 pandemic T&T is going through a particularly difficult period but has to stay the course, make sensible decisions and hope to come out with “lives in hand.”

Rowley said he has worked all his life and has a small savings account. He added that he hadn’t told his wife yet but saw the account statement on Sunday night and it had declined. Another account declined by 39 per cent.

“I’m not getting any younger and I can’t start over saving, I just have to hold the fort and hope the markets turn around and see if over time these mutual funds will have greater value,“ he said.

Rowley said assets fall in value due to market conditions.

“If you asked me in January how much I was worth, I’m now down by 40 per cent,” he said.

On the issue of bars, Rowley said he was recently contacted about a bar which was “ram cram jam-full of people” the sort of situation that puts all at risk.

He said while he understands what the bar spokespeople say, when they note that people go out into the streets and it’s not their responsibility, “they have to understand they’re in a business that causes people to violate protocols, unlike other places.”

Dr Rowley added: “The cake shop doesn’t do that. People go to bars to hob-nob with friends and when you drink alcohol you become less responsible.”

Rowley said it was only when the Police Commissioner says police can redouble the effort to individually prosecute people or close bars that an adjustment can be made. He said he hoped that would be very soon but until then “we can only hold it where it is now.”

He noted that in Korea one infected person caused that country to return to high infection levels.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said he was appalled last Sunday to see people in their 20s and 30s liming on western Ariapita Avenue in such close quarters “It was scary.”

“If those people have children and their children have to go to school, if you go to bars and get the virus, it could infect the children and jeopardise the school term reopening. This isn’t about punishing bar operators, it’s about asking patrons to drink responsibly,” the minister said.

Rowley said Government is pitching for school reopening in September, but contact between young people and home could become areas of risk.

“God forbid if something occurred to make COVID numbers go awry. If so, he said, an adjustment would be necessary.”

Officials of the Health and Education Ministries will meet tomorrow to discuss school reopenings.