After UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson bowed to public pressure to have an inquiry into his Government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad- Bissessar is calling for a Commission of Inquiry into this Government’s management of the virus in Trinidad and Tobago.
At Monday night’s United National Congress (UNC) forum, Persad- Bissessar said she’s sending a letter to Prime Minister Keith Rowley today (Tuesday), seeking that he ask the President to appoint a commission for this.
She said people are in meltdown, thousands have no food and little Government support, and yet the Dr Keith Rowley led administration has not given specifics on a plan to get the country working again or on border reopening or an official vaccination plan.
She noted how bereaved relatives of COVID fatalities in the UK formed a non-government organisation and pressed Johnson for the inquiry which he didn’t commit to doing immediately, but ahead. Persad- Bissessar said her letter will call for a probe of the Government’s responses here, the basis and advice informing its decision on measures including on the State of Emergency, regulations, methods of collecting health data, giving information to the public, gathering scientific data and other queries.
Persad- Bissessar said the Government failed to answer questions in yesterday’s Standing Finance Committee meeting where the Government sought approval for $2.9b to run the country until the end of the fiscal year in September.
Slamming CEPEP workers 33 per cent salary cut, Persad- Bissessar detailed the salaries of CEPEP management from the CEO’s $40,000 base salary (plus allowances) to the HR officer’s $15,000. She said this was given in Parliament.
“One law for the big boys and another for workers – that’s how Government prioritises how they spend money they come to seek approval for.“
She added when MPs return to Parliament tomorrow to debate legislation for the $2.9B, the UNC would present its motion of contempt against Rowley concerning his recent remarks blaming vigils for COVID spikes.
UNC MP Roodal Moonilal challenged CEPEP’s 200 member management and executive staff to take stipends after CEPEP workers got their 33 per cent pay cut.
“Having 10,000 people go home will push people to poverty and lead to more crime. Government must vaccinate the 10,000 workers and get them back to work so they can provide for their families.”
The government clarified the money being paid to CEPEP workers was not a salary but rather a grant since they were not working at this time.
Meanwhile, Moonilal called for Government to allow people who were vaccinated abroad to return home automatically. He also called for a public inquiry into the standard of care at hospitals and regarding the deaths of the more than 577 people who have died from COVID-19.