I read the release from the leader of the opposition, United National Congress (UNC) Kamla Persad-Bissessar, in relation to the government’s posture on the return of our citizens from abroad. I agree with her whole-heartedly, in that, this is a completely unacceptable way of dealing with our brothers and sisters who are facing all forms of torture; in terms of their physical health, the lack of medical attention, the lack of money to buy food and in some cases homeless.
Word has come to me that there are persons in the United States who are now in public shelters, not knowing where or when they can return home, and not having a place of their own, basically homeless and Stateless in other countries.
I share the passion of the leader of the opposition and I too join with her in the call for this government to be accountable to the population and our citizens as to the callous, insensitive, unintelligent and illogical approach to the return of our citizens.
The point having been made that self-quarantine at one’s home is a possibility as other countries are doing; immediately test those who are returning, and those who have shown to be negative, let them be quarantined at home under supervision. These were the conditions put before the borders were closed on 20,000 persons who were allowed in on the understanding that if they were to show symptoms they should then report or keep themselves quarantined.
It is beyond humanity to hear the awful conditions that our brothers and sisters are put through no fault of their own, but by the “whim and fancy” of a minister of national security who sees power, not as a tool to help, but as a weapon to hurt. We fall for repeated statements about the fear of bringing in COVID-19 which sounds plausible, but when are we going to be real? Understand that there are protocols in place or could be put in place to avoid much of this danger. Let us do these things.
That is why I reflect on how the government of the People’s Partnership operated the Cabinet. The question was always put, “would it help people?” If the answer was yes, a decision was taken, by then prime minister, to go forward. It appears now that the opposite is true, that if it could hurt people then go forward with it.
Forgive my anger. I too am human, I feel the pain and I empathize with our brothers and sisters of all ages stranded abroad, from babies who have been born and their grandparents who cannot see them. Some are old and suffering in pain and want to have their children with them. Just this morning, I learned of a woman who is hospitalized in Trinidad and Tobago, who is at death’s door, and her daughter in Orlando and her son in the United Kingdom cannot find their way to meet and see and touch their mom before she passes. This is completely unacceptable, inhumane, and without any basis of logic, common sense, or humanity.
So, leader of the opposition, thank you for showing the support. It means a whole lot to me and to those many others that I have been in communication with, for a person of your status to feel for them as you always have.
I say if it is that we now have to resort to the Court, then so be it. Thank God that we still have the option to resort to the Court. Many do not understand the importance of a Court until there is a need.
Thank you very much.
Member of Parliament, St Augustine
Former Minister for Legal Affairs