By Raffique Shah
May 17, 2021
As the spike in Covid-related infections and deaths rocketed almost exponentially over the past three weeks or so leaving many citizens stunned, people who sought guidance and leadership from politicians were assaulted with a cacophony of discordant notes that sounded like the braying of a pack of ancient jackasses.
What else could we expect from what passes for politics in this country? Imagine if you will a nation in Covid-induced-crisis that descended upon us after some powerfully stupid people believed their mystically motivated leaders who told them first that Covid was a hoax, then said it could be cured by sunshine, and later switched to acquiring vaccines for immunizing the population against what, less than one year ago was a hoax. Only in Trinidad.
Since this recent spike, which, albeit after the fact, has shaken many doubters out of their stupor and into action against Covid-19, while people are dying by the dozens on a daily basis, the politicians are honing their lying skills, making a mockery of this life-and-death struggle. One day last week, I listened to new National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds, in his trademark measured tone, itemise the chronological order of communications between members of the Government and United States officials regarding the latter loaning us two field hospitals that were secured to help with additional beds and medical equipment that we will need in a crisis situation. Minister Hinds explained how the Government made an approach to their US counterparts beginning last September, which ensured that we had the hospitals here when they were required last week. All of that, plus some supporting statements by the Prime Minister and Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh, just to show that it was the Government, not Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who first thought of the option, and followed through.
It seems that Kanla had made some suggestion to the contrary when news broke of the acquisition of the equipment. Days before that, there were heated exchanges between spokespersons for the opposition United National Congress and the ruling PNM over vaccines from India. The Opposition Leader disclosed that she had written India’s PM Narendra Modi pleading with him to donate some vaccines to T&T, much the way he had facilitated Barbados, Guyana and other Caribbean countries.
Another public row broke out over who first wrote Modi, and when the Emperor of Global Vaccines still wore his kurtah (later, he would end up naked, desperately seeking vaccines for his own hundreds of millions of Indians who were reeling and falling like flies to the dreaded virus), and was sharing vaccines made in India like ‘parsad’ on Divali night. When Modi condescended and dispatched some vaccines here, his High Commissioner ensured that in his statement announcing the ‘gift’, he heaped praises on Kamla, mentioning her ‘Maha Lakshmi’ status in the sub-continent. Had his Trini counterpart in Delhi made any similar reference to Congress Party leader Rahul Gandhi, we were sure to face strong diplomatic censure.
Anyway, these are all distractions we can do without, this politicising of Covid, and more importantly, the vaccine situation. What does the PNM in power hope to gain by itemising untruths coming from UNC spokespersons? Convince citizens that they routinely lie? That would be a colossal waste of time, even thought, when they might have otherwise turned the opposition’s idle boasting into their ruin. So Kamla believes she would have vaccinated the entire country by now, had she been in power? Give her legislative authority to procure the petty two million doses of vaccines we require. Let her source it (well, she says it’s easy). Make sure the Ministry of Finance pays for it, and further, pay her a commission if she so demands.
If this wasting of ministers’ time on the many lies that the opposition spins is intended to expose the UNC to the electorate as liars, forget it. They can lie from now to however long they remain in control of the party, it does not matter to the fools who follow them blindly. Nothing you say, no amount of facts you present, will influence their diehard supporters otherwise. Look up North, see how mindless followers of that fraud Donald Trump triumph over the truth…well, almost. Hell, those people believe Trump, not Joseph Biden, won the election.
Here, the opposition also has many supporters who believe they had won the 2020 election. Remember the tedious recounts where the declared margins left little doubt? Regarding Covid, they first said illegal Venezuelan arrivals were bringing the virus with them. Then they claimed the deadly Brazilian variant came through the same way. How many ‘Venes’ in TT are stricken with the virus? How many are hospitalized? How many died?
Now they claim ‘the 50,000’ visitors Rowley invited to Tobago over the Easter weekend caused the spike. What of the tens of thousands who flocked Maracas, Manzanilla, Mayaro and other beaches?
Look into the mirror, liars.