FLASHBACK – Dr Tim Gopeesingh in Parliament in April 2020, raising the issue of Government’s preparedness in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, during his tenure as Member of Parliament for Caroni East. (Image courtesy Office of the Parliament)

Former Minister of Education, and former Member of Parliament for Caroni East, Dr Tim Gopeesingh, has been appointed as a temporary Senator for the United National Congress (UNC), some 20 years after He first entered and served in Parliament as a Senator in 2001.

An official release from the UNC reports that Dr Gopeesingh will begin his new service today, when the Upper House of Parliament convenes. 

His appointment was made on the advice of Opposition Leader, Kamla Persad-Bissessar SC MP.

The following is the full statement released by the UNC on the matter…

The United National Congress (UNC) is proud to welcome Dr Tim Gopeesingh into its Parliamentary fold as a temporary Senator, who, on the advice of the Opposition Leader, the Honourable Kamla Persad-Bissessar SC, has been appointed to serve in the Upper House of Parliament today.

Dr Gopeesingh, who was awarded the Chaconia Gold Medal in 1999 for his contribution to medicine and public service, is one of Trinidad and Tobago’s and Caribbean region’s most venerated senior medical doctors, having worked in the medical field for over 40 years, specializing in gynecologic-oncology, where he pioneered laparoscopic surgery in the country in the early 1980s. He is also a former senior UWL Lecturer, Dean of the UWI Medical School and former national cricketer.

Dr Gopeesingh has been a member of the UNC for the past 30 years, and served as a Senator from 2001-2007, and then MP for Caroni East from 2007-2020, when he announced his retirement from representative politics.

Under the Kamla Persad-Bissessar Government of 2010-2015, Dr Gopeesingh served as Minister of Education, where he pioneered her ground-breaking, prescient internationally acclaimed policy –the E-Connect and Learn, which saw every student entering Form One receiving a free laptop, in a bid to modernize the education system and bring it into the new age of technology. He also constructed over 100 primary and secondary schools, as well as ECCE centres, and enabled Trinidad and Tobago to become of the of first countries in the world to have achieved the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals of Universal Early Childhood Care and Education.

In January 2020, Dr Gopeesingh was the first public official to warn of the serious threat that the then nascent COVID-19 pandemic posed to our country when he moved a motion in the Lower House to have it debated as a matter of urgent public importance, which was disallowed. Since then, he has publicly spoken out consistently on the many serious issues surrounding the Government’s handling COVID-19 pandemic locally.