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President Paula-Mae Weekes.

AIL ALEXANDER

After President Paula-Mae Weekes rejected the Progressive Empowerment Party’s request for postponement of the August 10 General Election, the party has again asked the President to reconsider after yesterday’s news of eight more COVID-19 cases.

PEP wrote the President two days ago to seek a postponement after Ministry of Health authorities alerted the nation to a new phase of COVID-19 spread since last week.

But after being rejected on that initial request, PEP leader Phillip Alexander, noting that eight more cases were revealed yesterday, wrote the President yesterday, saying: “Your Excellency, in your response to our request for a postponement of the general elections currently underway, where we stated clearly that the elections will put our people’s lives at risk, you suggested that nothing much has changed since the proclamation of Legal Notice 34, but Your Excellency, today’s startling news alone should prompt you to again reconsider.

“If we fail in our duty to the stark realities before us, we risk putting masses of people in danger. We in the Progressive Empowerment Party take the step here of appealing your response and your decision and urge you to reconsider.”

At the last virtual media conference, Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh said they were not yet considering shutting down the country again as they did when the virus first reached these shores in March. However, he said they may consider targeted and strategic lockdowns of business and places exposed to the virus.

Noting the spike in localised cases yesterday, however, Alexander added, “Again, the reasons for postponing are that the very campaigning for the elections is itself creating a pathway for the exacerbation of community spread, but polling day will put the people to a risk since that proclamation was read unheralded in our history, where over a million people will be mobilised over the course of twelve hours to confined spaces that cannot physically be sanitised in the timeframe provided for an election, and will put them and every other person they come into contact with at risk.

“We appreciate your prompt response, and ask you again on the public record to reconsider.”