In keeping with my previously stated commitment to the media and national public at large, I am hereby updating the citizenry of Trinidad and Tobago as to the status of my request earlier this week to the Honourable Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley, for urgent bipartisan talks between the Government and Opposition regarding the current national crisis caused by the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
Having made this request in a detailed letter to the Prime Minister dated March 16, 2020, I am pleased to have received a response from the Office of the Prime Minister indicating his agreement to my proposed bipartisan talks.
By letter dated March 17, 2020, the Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister, Mr Maurice Suite indicated that he was directed by the Prime Minister to advise me that he has set the date for this meeting for Friday, March 20 2020, at 12 noon at the Office of the Prime Minister, Red House, Port of Spain. Mr Suite also stated that the Prime Minister has also agreed with my proposed suggestion of a three member Opposition delegation in attendance at said meeting.
The Opposition, as the largest national stakeholder of this country, and the Constitutional body vested with considerable legislative influence, intends to raise several key issues and concerns that are deeply affecting citizens of Trinidad and Tobago during this very trying economic, social and medical period which our country and the rest of the world are currently experiencing as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. These include (and as stated in my letter to the Prime Minister):
· The social services, labour and medical issues currently impacting on citizens lives, with a view to getting from the Government a proper understanding of the State resources available to them, and how best they can be quickly and efficiently accessed by citizens, and also share our own suggestions therein
· Share our own vast expertise and recommendations in the areas of Health and Local Government, which are the key sectors that would be called upon to deal with a crisis of such a particular magnitude and scale comparable to that of a national disaster, and of which, as a party which twice formed Government ourselves, we have considerable knowledge and experience to offer
· Share the serious concerns of the various small and medium-sized business entities whose economic viability is severely threatened by the current Coronavirus crisis and our own recommendations therein
· Discuss any other suggestions from both the Government and Opposition deemed relevant and necessary that will ensure that any adopted bipartisan approach is in fact legally plausible to effectively and efficiently combat the Covid-19 pandemic in our country.
The Opposition UNC will duly inform the population as to the outcome of this meeting, in keeping with our rich and dedicated commitment to our sacred roles as national public servants who operate on principle in the spirit of transparency in every aspect of public life, a faithful and unwavering commitment to the rule of law and adherence to our democratic process, and always, in committed service to the people of Trinidad and Tobago.