Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is taking heat for writing to India Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting vaccines to help T&T because it is “reeling” from COVID-19.
The United National Congress leader yesterday did not respond to calls or texts on whether she believed she overstepped the boundaries of her office but took to social media to defend her actions. In her post, Persad-Bissessar said there is “no clear date as to when T&T will be receiving an adequate supply of vaccines.”
“I regard this issue as critically important to the well-being of our country,” she said.
Persad-Bissessar said thousands of citizens were losing jobs “due to the economic lockdowns,” while “thousands more were stranded abroad and barred from returning home.”
“I took this decision in the interest of all citizens of our nation,” Persad-Bissessar said.
“When the lives and livelihoods of citizens are at stake I will always act urgently in their interest, especially as the Government, in this case, has clearly failed to do.”
But Foreign CARICOM Affairs Minister Dr Amery Browne and Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh yesterday chided Persad-Bissessar for the move.
In a media statement, Browne said Persad-Bissessar had chosen to “insert herself” in government-to-government issues. He said Persad-Bissessar’s letter came after it was public knowledge that Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley had already written to Modi requesting vaccines.
“The leader of the Opposition has chosen to sacrifice protocol and good judgement and to tamper with sound bilateral relations in a quest for relevance and attention,” Browne said.
“The decision by the Leader of the Opposition to try to insert herself into the matter of ongoing government-to-government communication must be seen for what it is, an attempt to position herself to claim in retrospect that her letter was the one that achieved any particular outcome.”
Guardian Media reached out to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on the matter but he did not respond up to press time.