A number of citizens whose relatives died from COVID-19 in hospitals are contemplating action against Government via the Freedom of Information law to get full disclosure on management of their relatives and their deaths.
The United National Congress’ Dr Tim Gopeesingh made the announcement at a media briefing yesterday where he slammed the lack of information on T&T’s COVID deaths from Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and the government’s health team speakers.
“Those talking on television, these deaths are on your hands! People’s hearts are in their hands when relatives enter ICU.”
He claimed there’s been an average of 10 deaths daily and eight or nine pass away in ICU units.
Gopeesingh demanded accounting on the death surge in the last 80 days and wants officials to say if deaths could have been prevented, how many died at home, in ambulances or tents outside hospitals awaiting test results and how many died at ICU/HDU units.
He is also seeking the number of deaths due to “serious system mismanagement” by Deyalsingh and his team, how many who were admitted to ICU/HDUs are alive today and whether May-July death surges are related to the North Central Health Authority’s April removal of the six senior doctors from the Couva hospital.
Gopeesingh said the prime minister “hypocritically” lamented the deaths of three family members, but hasn’t launched the Commission of Enquiry (CoE) the UNC requested. But he said the day for the CoE will come.
Gopeesingh added that with some contemplating action to get full disclosure on the management of their loved ones and their passing, action would extend to agents of the state, including doctors.
At least five people from South and Central have so far indicated they’re moving to this, following recent deaths of their parents and siblings at various hospitals.
He said he was contacted by 25 people who said they couldn’t get a call from hospitals or get through the system to ascertain what was going on with their ill relatives.
“One got a call after 21 days and their relative had died. Institute a communication team to speak with families!”
He questioned if there was deliberate policy not to speak on deaths in case people “might be found guilty.”
Gopeesingh claimed Tobago’s death surge was related to the prime minister’s inviting people there and others due to elderly congregating at health centres seeking vaccines.
EBC being ‘instructed’ to have 15 Tobago seats —John
UNC Senator Jearlean John also queried why Tobago’s seats must be changed from 12 to 15 under the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) law being proclaimed today when the independent Election and Boundaries Commission’s (EBC’s) 2016 and 2020 reports stated there was no need to change boundaries of the 12 seats.
“But after January 2021 THA elections PNM get the shock of its life when young people beat the pants off them ending in a tie,” she added
Today’s proclamation opens the way for new THA elections.
John noted the Opposition Leader said THA’s act provided for drawing straws to deal with the tie but the prime minister said he was getting advice on the issue and it was “monkey co-co, not law.”
Saying today’s THA development will serve as instruction to EBC, she added, “We remind the EBC’s there’s the Constitution and their role. We call on the independent EBC to point the PM in the direction of their reports and do what’s in the people’s best interest and maintain EBC’s independence.”
“If PNM’s dissatisfied with results, that’s a matter for them! Not citizens who spoke. There’s an arbitrariness in going ahead with 15 seats contrary to what EBC’s reports stated,” she said, adding if THA’s elections were fair as Government said, why Tobagonians’ choices weren’t being respected.