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Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar speaks during Wednesday’s sitting of the Parliament.

Renuka Singh

Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is doubling down on her call for the Minister of Health to demit office.

Persad-Bissessar had called for Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh’s head during a motion she filed in Senate on Wednesday evening after the first day of walk-in decor devolved in to chaos.

On Wednesday, hundreds of citizens were turned away from health centres after being told to walk in for a COVID-19 vaccination.

Deyalsingh offered an unreserved apology on Wednesday and said the system was revised to give vaccines by alphabetical surname.

But that too failed yesterday as once again, hundreds lined up at facilities around the country, only to then be told that only 50 to 60 vaccines would be administered.

“For a second consecutive day Trinidad and Tobago has witnessed a manufactured disaster at the hands of Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh,” Persad-Bissessar said in a media release yesterday.

“After Wednesday’s super spreader vaccination event the Minister apologised and said a new alphabetical system would be used,” she said.

“The impression was given that the elderly with the surnames A-E can visit a health centre today and receive their vaccines,” she said.

Persad-Bissessar said that at no time did the Deyalsingh indicate that only 50 jabs would be available.

“Today (yesterday), another nightmare unfolded as our elderly came out in their numbers and again were chased away,” Persad-Bissessar said.

Persad-Bissessar said that in her own constituency of Siparia, she received reports that many people were being turned away at the Siparia District Health Facility.

“The elderly stood in lines for two and three hours only to be told that there is a limit on vaccines,” she said.

Persad-Bissessar questioned why the most vulnerable people were being exposed to the virus.

“Why is such cruelty being inflicted on our elderly?” Persad-Bissessar asked.

“Why can’t the Government admit that it is unable to handle the management of this pandemic on its own and accept help?” Persad-Bissessar added.

She said that it was “unconscionable, reckless, heartless and irresponsible for Minister Deyalsingh to treat people in this manner and continue defiantly walking on a failed path”.

She said it was also “illogical and downright foolish” to allocate 50 vaccines per health centre.

This meant vaccinating only 1800 elderly people a day.

“Every day we are recording double digit Covid-19 deaths of mostly our elderly population and Minister Deyalsingh must be held accountable,” she said.

“I repeat Terrence Deyalsingh must go,” Persad-Bissessar said.

The Opposition leader called on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to “rein in his Minister and take control of the Health Ministry himself or replace him with someone who is competent”.