A Time for Calm, Prayer and United Responsibility

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The following is a message for Mrs Kamla Persad-Bissessar, leader of the opposition UNC in Trinidad and Tobago:

I would like to reiterate the sentiments I expressed upon the announcement of our very first COVID-19 case one week ago, by calling for calm and urging all citizens to follow the recommended guidelines for prevention of the spread of this disease.

In light of the announcement on Saturday 21st March 2020 that 40 returning citizens have tested positive for COVID-19, let us keep all patients and their families in prayer while we remain calm but vigilant.

From the start, we in the Opposition have said that this is not a time for politics but people-centred action, which was the premise on which I wrote the Prime Minister and further met with him to discuss a plan of action on dealing with this crisis.

While there are those interpreting the words of Opposition members differently, our party and its representatives have demonstrated our serious approach to protecting citizens from any risks or exposure of COVID-19. We are living through unusual times but now is the time to show our humanity. We must do our part to stop the spread of the infection and we must show concern for those whom the burden of the sacrifices will most affect. Our humanity must extend to all of our brothers and sisters. Now is the time to be united in our love and concern for our fellow Trinidadians and Tobagonians, and we will get through this together.

On Tuesday our party officially released our COVID-19 Guidelines to protect our offices, staff and families while at Friday’s meeting we presented a comprehensive document on navigating this crisis in terms of economic, social and medical welfare. We will continue to work in the best interest of Trinidad and Tobago and I am deeply disappointed in the attempts by some to politicise those efforts.

From day one, our actions have been about urging citizens to be responsible and having our representatives lead individual campaigns to ensure that constituents follow such guidelines.

The UNC will continue our community outreach efforts utilizing digital technologies. Our Youth Arm has started an online initiative to help students prepare for SEA while schools remain closed.

I know in these uncertain times, fear and anxiety can have a crippling effect. I implore you to reach out to your neighbours, especially the elderly and vulnerable in your community – check up on them.

The UNC’s approach has always been a community approach, we have said we will build our nations by building our communities, now more than ever all of us must commit to this approach. While we practice social distancing, we will find new ways to engage with citizens across our nation.

The Covid-19 pandemic is one which no nation expected but I am reassured by the courage of our people, that if we all work with each other and protect each other we will succeed in defeating this virus.

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