Opposition Leader and Political Leader of the United National Congress (UNC), Kamla Persad-Bissessar SC MP, is urging citizens to wear masks when moving about in public spaces, as another defence against spreading COVID-19.

In an official statement issued today, the Opposition Leader cites the latest recommendation for mask-wearing, made by the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States.

Mrs Persad-Bissessar also encourages citizens to stay at home, in accordance with the COVID-19 regulations, but says if they must leave home, they should wear masks.

She points to the success which several Asian countries have had in controlling COVID-19 transmission, by making mask wearing in public mandatory.

The full text of the statement from the UNC, follows…


The United National Congress has taken note of the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) of the United States of America’s latest recommendation to wear face masks when in public to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The UNC Political Leader and Leader of the Opposition the Honourable Kamla Persad-Bissessar SC MP, is urging people to wear masks if they must leave their homes.

“We continue to encourage persons to stay home and stay safe but if they must leave their homes, please wear masks and ensure that you practice social distancing,” Mrs Persad-Bissessar said.  “The time is now to take every precaution we can to protect ourselves and those around us. Face masks are an added safety measure to curb the spread of the virus.”

She noted that the CDC recommends “wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain – e.g. grocery stores and pharmacies”. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

The CDC stresses, however, that cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age two (2), anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.  Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

Mrs. Persad-Bissessar has also been mobilizing seamstresses and tailors as well as donors of cloth and other supplies to sew face masks for those who do not have. The distribution of these masks will begin as soon as possible in keeping with the latest recommendations from the CDC. The UNC is asking those who can, to step up and let us all join in the fight by donating materials such as cloth and elastic bands and those who can volunteer their services such as sewing and stitching to step up and let us all work together.

In addition, the UNC has taken note that several Asian countries such as Japan, South Korea and Singapore, where the wearing of face masks has been the norm have been faring better than Western nations in the fight against COVID-19.

We continue to urge all to follow all guidelines set out by various health care experts including the World Health Organisation and the CDC.

Furthermore, we remind all to practice proper hygiene and refrain from touching your face as well as adhering to social isolating guidelines to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

We wish all a safe Palm Sunday as well and with God’s blessings and protection, we shall emerge from this pandemic an even stronger people.