Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh yesterday delivered a scolding on national television to the young woman who breached the COVID-19 Public Health Regulations over the weekend.
However, while the woman’s actions were the example the minister used, his “bouff” was meant for all the young people across Trinidad and Tobago whom he said are being irresponsible.
“You represent a clear and present threat to my livelihood, to the livelihood of every single worker in Trinidad and Tobago and I pull no punches this morning as I close that you characterise the worst of young people in Trinidad and Tobago,” he said of the woman.
Over the weekend, a woman identified by her username “samimami303” posted a video to social media of herself and family members on a beach and insisted that their presence there was not a threat to anyone else because it was their private beach.
She said, “It has come to my attention that some of you guys are having a problem that we’re on the beach but…ahem…it’s our private beach, our private land. We’re not risking anybody’s lives because it’s just us family here. We know each other’s whereabouts, we know who we’re around, so not that I need to explain this to anyone but…ahem…I don’t know what to tell you. We’re just fortunate to have this beautiful place. Go complain on Facebook again.”
The post drew scathing public criticism on social media and even memes mocking the woman. Many noted that once again, like the birthday party at Bayside Towers last week, it showed that there seemed to be one law for the rich and one law for the poor.
However, during yesterday’s virtual press conference, Deyalsingh did not hesitate to disparage her statements as illusory as he picked it apart.
“You are risking your life. You are risking other people’s lives. You are!” he said.
Calling her out on her belief that she did not need to explain her actions to anyone, Deyalsingh said: “Let me tell that person something, you need to explain to my healthcare workers because when you get ill, you are coming to my hospital – and I am using the word ‘my’ for emphasis. You are coming to my hospital. Are you going to build an ICU in your house?”
He explained that visiting beaches are expressly prohibited under the current Public Health Regulations and it is the adherence to these very regulations which have prevented the country from being in a worse situation. But now, he noted, many people are “looking for loopholes and technicalities to behave in a certain way.”
“That is not the spirit of the law,” he said.
According to regulation 4 (1) of the Public Health Regulation, it is an offence to be found at or in any beach, bay, river, stream, pond, spring or similar body of water, including the waters around any island off the coast of Trinidad or Tobago, or any public pool for recreational purposes.