Tobagonians are venting their frustration on social media over what they have perceived as favouritism in supplying relief to people affected by the COVID-19 Stay-at-Home measures.
They specifically targeted the People’s National Movement’s Tobago House of Assembly area representative for Plymouth/Golden Lane Marisha Osmond.
Some of them claimed persons in need of help were being ignored while “friends” and “political allies” received assistance.
Under the heading “Feeling Confused,” one Facebook user asked: “Why is the Area Representative for Plymouth/Golden Lane (Marisha Osmond) only giving her friends and people who working with the government food cards?”
The person, who is a resident of the community, also asked if help was being given based on a “political thing or who you know?” She went on to ask about the plight of people who were laid off and families in need of food items.
Other social media users added to the firestorm, saying every election they were contacted by telephone and asked to support certain candidates. However, they said, since the COVID-19 pandemic had begun they had not received similar calls.
The social media thread continued for more than 24 hours with dozens of persons openly adding their displeasure with the level of representation and assistance they have been receiving.
Contacted on the claims on social media, Osmond said since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic she had posted “several messages urging persons to be safe, practice good hygiene and stay in touch.”
She said even before COVID-19 hit the country, she and the staff members at the district office were serving the constituents who needed help.
“This period of discomfort and uncertainty as a result of COVID-19 has been difficult for many. Relief and comfort have been provided to over 200 residents,” Osmond told Tobago Today.
She said she provided hampers, food cards, breakfast and other kinds of assistance.
However, Osmond while some had chosen to publicise their humanitarian actions, she thought it best to “respect the privacy” of the people she assisted. She said she remained accessible and available to residents as her office was still open Monday-Friday from 8 am-4 pm.