Statement by the Leader of the Opposition
The Prime Minister’s latest COVID-19 press conference held on Sunday, 19 April was a study in confusion.
With sixty confirmed cases of COVID-19 in total and with two additional confirmed cases announced today, the country remains in the middle of a COVID-19 surge so it was confusing that the Prime Minister announced the opening up of additional businesses and the domestic economy well ahead of any indication of a leveling of the COVID-19 infection and transmission curve. What is the rationale for this decision?
We note that random testing would accelerate the pace of identifying positive cases and isolating hot spots, thus bringing this crisis under control in a shorter period of time. The Prime Minister appears to be dragging his feet on implementing this important strategy.
The PLP has said from the start that it was possible to mesh two objectives: protecting us from the virus and saving the economy. We remain committed to those objectives and watched what the Prime Minister said this evening with that in mind. Our concerns were the social pressure from being inside too long and the fact that people were anxious about money were testing the security forces to the limit and people’s patience. The Prime Minister and his government seemed insensitive to these issues.
These measures announced this afternoon give some much needed and overdue relief to the population. We are happy that the alphabet system for shopping has been abandoned. It made no sense in the first place and defeated the call for physical distancing.
I am sure that the people in the Family Islands are breathing a sigh of relief that construction can now begin again. We urge them to continue to practice the safety measures of distancing and washing their hands and wearing masks.
What was missing from the Prime Minister is the plan in the longer term and the rationale for going forward.
We are sure the public is relieved that there is a slow return to normalcy but there has to be some idea of what this is based upon and that it is evidence driven. It also seems a bit comical to be appointing a task force to talk about providing food when people are hungry not next week but today.
I saw a plan from the Turks and Caicos Islands today. It lays out projected dates and how they we will proceed as the evidence unfolds. This is the kind of plan we are looking for from this Prime Minister, not making it up as you go along.
I am also concerned that the people at Arawak Cay and Potter’s Cay seemed to have been left out of the equation as well. They keep asking the question if KFC and Wendy’s can operate take out service why can’t they?
The PLP stands ready to assist in protecting the country from the virus and in saving our economy.