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Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has labelled Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh and his colleague Dr Amery Browne “deadbeats” and called on them to “do their jobs.”

On Monday, both Deyalsingh and Browne chided Persad-Bissessar for inserting herself in government-to-government business when she wrote to India Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting a donation of COVID-19 vaccines.

Yesterday, however, Persad-Bissessar hit back in a press release.

“My response to both of these deadbeat ministers is that if you were only doing your job I wouldn’t have to do it for you,” Persad-Bissessar said.

Persad-Bissessar said the country needed to ask Browne what he has been doing for the past six months.

“Is Minister Browne so bad at his job he can’t arrange to collect vaccines from a nation giving them away? Is Minister Browne the new Dennis Moses?” she asked.

“This PNM Government cannot on one hand tell us the COVID-19 pandemic is so severe that they need to immediately withdraw 3 billion US dollars from the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund and on the other hand say it’s improper to suggest Trinidad and Tobago is reeling from the pandemic.

“Surely, these PNM muppets must know that I have a constitutional duty to ensure the safe welfare of our citizens, especially in times such as these when it is clear that our government has abdicated its urgent responsibility to protect our citizens.”

Persad-Bissessar said from day one of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United National Congress had asked the Government to “work together to protect our citizens yet they ignored our calls.”

“As a result, I cannot sit and allow our citizens to exist in uncertainty as it relates to vaccinations while the Caribbean moves ahead of us,” she said.

Persad-Bissessar said last week, Deyalsingh displayed “gross incompetence” by saying that the 2,000 vaccines gifted to T&T by Barbados was from India and that Barbados was just a distribution hub. She said Deyalsingh’s gaffe created “massive embarrassment” for the nation in the eyes of Caricom neighbours.

“That the Minister of Health had begun vaccinating frontline workers with vaccines of origins he did not know is gross negligence for which Minister Deyalsingh should have been fired,” Persad-Bissessad said.

“As for Minister Browne, I would like to point out to him that according to the latest news reports, five more Caribbean countries are going to receive batches of COVID-19 vaccines as a gift from India. How is it that our Caricom partners have all managed to source vaccine donations from India, yet Trinidad and Tobago has not had a similar arrangement?”

Persad-Bissessar said she made no apologies for writing to Modi to request the vaccines.

Yesterday, the Indian High Commissioner’s office tweeted the media report that Persad-Bissessar had written to Modi without context. The tweet was later deleted.