Laurel Lezama-Lee Sing, PNM Public Relations Officer. (Image: ABRAHAM DIAZ)

As T&T recorded its 13th COVID-19 death, the People’s National Movement (PNM) is calling on the United National Congress (UNC) to desist from harbouring divisiveness following Facebook posts by newly elected Chaguanas East MP Vandana Mohit stating that the spike in cases was the Government’s karma.Mohit wrote: “COVID has turned on the PNM. Karma.” PNM public relations officer Laurel Lezama-Lee Sing said given the increasing caseload that the public health system was overseeing, it is time for the country to combat the virus as a united front. Lezama-Lee Sing said Mohit’s summation that the COVID-19 spike was karma was unfortunate and “downright reckless.”

“This as the Minister of Health articulated this morning, it is really about personal responsibility. We cannot blame a government or opposition, but we must encourage people to be responsible,” Lezama-Lee Sing said.Mohit’s post brought her widespread condemnation. UNC deputy political leader Khadijah Ameen, meanwhile, supported the post, commenting that, “The Govt that asked the population to vote for them because of their ‘excellent handling of the situation’, not so?”Following criticism, Ameen, the recently elected MP for St Augustine, further commented: “It’s a question actually. And the answer is yes. You could screenshot and say whatever you like. Doesn’t make it less truth. Carry on.”In seeking to clarify her position in another post, Mohit wrote, “So let me be very specific. The level of intimacy ‘good management’ shown by the PNM to COVID-19 prior to the General Election has gone through the window. You are back in the Government, the use of COVID, in many different ways, worked in your favour, right? What’s your REAL PLAN that election is over? I DON’T speak on individuals, I NEVER go into this fight.”

UNC activist and former food production minister Devant Maharaj also condemned Mohit’s comments. Maharaj wrote in a Facebook post: “They’re just getting started. Five more years of kindergarten mindlessness and psychopathic folly… This is what the brilliant young MPs have to contribute to the nation in a health crisis…Do you agree with the statement that it’s karma and COVID has turned on the PNM? Was Dr Tim Gopeesingh a victim of PNM Karma?”Guardian Media contacted Mohit, but her phone went to voicemail on two calls. UNC deputy political leader Jearlean John did not comment, only saying that questions should be directed to Mohit. There was also no answer from deputy political leader David Lee and public relations officer Anita Haynes.

Lezama-Lee Sing said now that Mohit is am MP, she has a duty of care in how she approaches national issues and should put emotions aside to treat with a virus that is plaguing the world. As for Ameen, Lee Singh said she should know better, having been in politics for approximately 20 years. Ameen served as the St Augustine South councillor for 10 years before her elevation to the chairman of the Tunpuna/Piarco Regional Corporation in 2010. Between 2015 and 2020, she served as an Opposition Senator. “Now a member of Parliament, she, more than anybody else, should know that to incite that kind of recklessness and downright lack of balance is inimical to the people of T&T. I call on both of them to cease and desist from this kind of action that will lead us into an abyss of divisiveness.”Lezama-Lee Sing also extended best wishes of recovery to former Minister of Education Dr Tim Gopeesingh and others who are currently battling COVID-19 infections.”COVID-19 does not see party cards, profession, age or gender. It is an unholy beast ravaging the people of the world. We implore people to wear masks, wash their hands, stay at home and practice social distancing so that we can help flatten the curve.”