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Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley at the COVID-19 media briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, on Saturday.

Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar was yesterday roundly criticised by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi and Energy Minister Stuart Young and several factions within the People’s National Movement for her “inciteful” words the day before.

In a response to Rowley’s apology to the nation for the flopped mass vaccination plan, Persad-Bissessar said that the Government was sowing “seeds of civil unrest are being planted and watered.”

In a social media post yesterday, Rowley asked whether Persad-Bissessar was appealing for a “1990-style insurrection to be the response of those citizens who are undergoing the hardships that many are currently experiencing”.

He said Persad-Bissessar’s words was “a most dangerous, damaging and unpatriotic obstruction in this time of our national struggle in these pandemic times”.

“Such a statement could easily be misunderstood or viewed as acceptable encouragement by any unfortunates who may think that this thought is an acceptable response,” he said.

Rowley questioned whether Persad-Bissessar believed that she could benefit from such a development but said that any such actions would be “very costly and detrimental to the entire nation”.

“Clearly that is not any of her concern,” he said.

“Equally to be roundly condemned is her relentless attack on the professional public servants in the health care sector whom she identified, by name, and subjected them to her warped and disgusting analysis,” the PM said.

“As Prime Minister, charged with the responsibility of steering this nation to a safe place in this storm, I appeal to the Opposition Leader to search within herself for any modicum of decency which would direct her to leave the public professionals out of her political desperation,” he said.

AG, other Ministers defend healthcare professionals

Al-Rawi also took to social media to share his disdain.

“It is fair to say that the Leader of the Opposition should actively seek to condemn any sentiments of invitation for unrest calculatedly planted in the minds of our population and should immediately subject herself to clarification in an open forum, where she can apologise to the nation for any harm caused,” he said.

Al-Rawi said that equally alarming, is the position where Persad-Bissessar “has failed to publicly take any step to stop the savagery and defamation of hard-working professionals in the public service at the Ministry of Health”

“It is reprehensible and cowardly for Mrs Persad Bissessar to witness the UNC talking heads and masses alike make and spread libellous and damaging statements of our Heath experts and to do absolutely nothing to publicly stop it,” he said.

Al-Rawi said that Persad-Bissessar had “reduced” herself to one-way communication “where she appears and disappears without ever subjecting herself to the discipline and transparency of open questions and answers”.

“A simple message to Mrs Persad-Bissessar – Stop it now! It’s just plainly wrong,” Al-Rawi said.

Young also weighed in on the issue, accusing Persad-Bissessar of” dog-whistling” and a “disgusting low-level attack”.

He said that Persad Bissessar was once again seeking to remain relevant but said her statement was “distasteful and designed to, inter alia, encourage criminal activity.”

“For Kamla Persad Bissessar to dog whistle and refer to 1990’s events is an all-time low, even for her in her abyss of darkness. I also condemn the Leader of Opposition’s attacks on our outstanding public health care professionals who have done amazing and exemplary service to Trinidad and Tobago during this COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

“I stand resolutely in protection and support of the CMO and his team of health care professionals who have sought to protect this Nation during the pandemic,” Young said.

“I call on the Leader of the Opposition and members of the UNC to immediately cease and desist from attacking the public health care professionals lead by the CMO,” he said.

Minister Marvin Gonzales also weighed in calling Persad-Bissessar’s “less than subtle call for civil unrest which is mischief-making that borders on sedition.”

Similar sentiments were shared by the Public Relations Officer of the D’Abadie/O’Meara constituency and the PNM Youth League.

Contentious excerpts from the Opposition Leader’s June 12 statement

Most dangerously, he (Rowley) clearly is not going to make any real changes that are necessary to save lives. He is keeping the same failed medical team now turned propaganda team of Deyalsingh, Parasram, Abdool Richards, Hinds and Trotman. These people have been in charge for over 15 months and led us into this disaster of over 600 deaths. Continuing with them in charge is deadly, and amounts to premeditated, state-sanctioned murder.

It is atrocious that the Government and their personnel continue to use “it could be worse” or “it is improving” as their defence when the fact remains that cases continue by the hundreds each day while hundreds have died.

Rowley must realize that as we continue to lose lives on a daily basis, as business and livelihoods are destroyed and worse, as innocent elderly citizens may have been infected at that sham of a rollout, the seeds of civil unrest are being planted and watered.

Hundreds of thousands of people are without work, unable to provide food for their families, unable to pay bills, or unable to pay their rents. A virus of poverty is also sweeping our nation with no plan in place to resuscitate our economy. Rowley must accept help from stakeholders and make changes to his failed team. We cannot have a 1990 repeat.