Leader of the Opposition, Kamla Persad-Bissessar SC MP. (Image: ABRAHAM DIAZ)

The United National Congress (UNC) is calling on the Rowley Administration to be more compassionate in its handling of the COVID-19 crisis, and to ease up the hardship which citizens are enduring.

“We again call on the Government to show more compassion to our stranded nationals abroad, as well as increased support for businesses and citizens that continue to suffer,” the political party says in an official statement, which comments on the Prime Ministers press conference on Saturday 24 October 2020.

According to the UNC, what the Government thinks of its response to COVID-19 is vastly different from “the reality of what the population is facing on the ground”.

“He boasted about a parallel health system while citizens were left to battle under a tent at Mt Hope. If you were to visit any of our major hospitals, you will see the true state of our healthcare system that has been overwhelmed for months,” the UNC says in its release.

The UNC statement also notes:

“Citizens have had to wait weeks for their COVID test results, and some citizens, unfortunately, lost their lives waiting for these test results before they could have accessed any relevant medical treatment.”

The release adds: “We again heard nothing of the promised rapid test kits, and his only solution was to reopen a few businesses.”

The opposition party maintains that the economy was already in free-fall before the advent of COVID-19 in March this year, and rubbishes the Rowley Administration’s insistence on blaming the coronavirus pandemic for the ills currently plaguing the country by stating: “PNM crashed everything long before COVID”.

The UNC also slams Government for its failure to deliver timely relief to citizens and businesses, alike.

“His ‘apology’ for the suffering citizens have endured accompanied by the absence of government support is synonymous with his regime’s continued lip service to everyone throughout this pandemic,” the UNC says, arguing that the PM failed to offer “any new solutions or support for the thousands of businesses that are in distress.”

The UNC is also scathing in its criticism of how Government had handled the situation of T&T nationals stranded abroad.

“[The] only plan for the thousands of nationals stranded abroad is to create yet another Ministerial committee to now ‘remove the exemption system’,” the opposition stated.