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A screen grab of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley during a media conference at the Prime Minister's residence in Tobago yesterday.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says some people are feeding the virus by not following the health protocols and refusing to be vaccinated.

He also made it clear yesterday that if voters are quarantined for COVID-19 or are COVID-positive, they will have to remain in quarantine for Monday’s Tobago House of Assembly elections, or they’ll be in breach of public health regulations if they emerge to vote on Monday.

On the 110 new COVID cases Tobago recorded yesterday, Rowley said he was a little disappointed there were so many in Tobago who decided to take on the virus, ride it out and not have the “mark of the beast” as vaccinations are being called.

Rowley said Tobago’s population had the possibility to isolate the virus, as there were enough vaccines for all of Tobago.

“We have 20,000 vaccinated but not as much as we could have had,” he said during a media conference at the Prime Minister’s residence in Tobago.

He said despite the expansion of ICU beds the virus was infecting “far faster than we could put beds.”

“People are feeding the virus, refusing to the tested when symptomatic,” he said.

He added that there were cases of people on restrictions turning up at parties or supermarkets.

“I appeal, if you think you’re infected, isolate,” Rowley said.

He maintained that at the first opportunity, “maybe in the not too distant future,” Government would want to open beaches, if not for a whole day, half-day.

“It’s the congregating and partying we’re afraid of,” he said, adding Government knew it couldn’t rely on the public to treat the virus as dangerous.

In relation to an anti-vaxxer protest at the Queen’s Park Savannah earlier this week, Rowley said mandatory vaccination is non-existent in T&T.

Meanwhile, the PM said Monday’s Tobago House of Assembly election is the most serious election since 1980, as it concerns the relationship between Trinidad and Tobago and whether both islands remain united.

He said the election isn’t an ordinary one. He noted that the election for some was about putting secession on the table. He said it was a dangerous development if the electorate chooses a manifesto where secession is the ambition.

The Prime Minister said that would be going down a road he personally doesn’t support, nor does the People’s National Movement, since it didn’t believe secession is in the interest of the average Tobagonian. He noted there may be many who can accidentally go down that road before until it got too far.

Rowley said the only advice he can give Tobagonians is to “Vote PNM.”

He noted the United National Congress’ PRO indicating that secession is on that party’s agenda and it’s being heard from the leadership of the Progressive Democratic Patriots – PNM’s rivals in the elections. He said the UNC had sent people to Tobago with maps to aid the process and was now using the PDP to put into Tobagonians’ minds they could do “something” differently.

He said if people wanted secession because they felt there was oil and gas off Tobago, they had to be prepared to risk finding “dry holes” also.