Over the past three days, our country and our people have experienced a level of disaster most have never experienced before. It has been heartbreaking and heart wrenching to see what parts of our country has been turned into over the past three days. The flooding that has occurred was predicted more than one week ago but unfortunately, the government put nothing in place and the innocent people of our country are once again the victims of a failed government.
They will offer the country every excuse that they can manufacture for PR but at the end of the day the responsibility to have prepared our country for what took place in the last three days was that of the government and once again you failed. This was not an earthquake that could not be predicted, this was predicted, but you took no steps to do anything. You thought we could ride it out, but you were wrong and today tens of thousands of our people are suffering because of your failure.
The government will want you to believe that the catastrophic devastation that we experienced over the past three days could not have been predicted. They will tell you that the rains were unexpected, but we know that is simply an untruth. This was predicted, and they knew what we were about to face. If things had been done differently how much of the loss and devastation that could have been prevented, we will never know! What we do know now is that despite the warnings from the experts that the rains were coming, this government did nothing.
Despite the calls from the regional corporations for drains and waterways to be cleared and cleaned for the past three years, for the rivers to be dredged and cleared of debris they did nothing. No one can predict the force of Mother Nature but the rainfall that we experienced in two days did not have to cause the destruction that we experienced over the past three days. What the last three days have shown is that this country, under this government, led by this Prime Minister will be destroyed if we, god forbid were to experience any kind of natural disaster.
The government will not want to admit it but what we experienced over the past three days has been the result of three years of neglect, three years of incompetence, three years of abandonment, three years of sleeping on the job. What we have seen over the past three days is the result of three years of failure. Unfortunately, as they say, you have to burn to learn, over the past three days the people have been flooded to learn, I can tell you they have definitely learnt.
Unlike the government, I have been on the ground in boats rescuing people, children, elderly and the disabled over the past three days. Many of you on the other side while in the comfort of your homes do not know what you have caused our people. Your falling asleep on the job have caused thousands all that they have. People have lost all that they ever had. All that they worked to build for their entire life is now gone. Those who had a comfortable home to rest their head on Friday night woke up to the reality of not knowing where they will rest their head on Saturday. And the Prime Minister says it business as usual!
For a Prime Minister to see people on their rooftops begging to be rescued, people with six and seven feet of water in their homes, all their belongings destroyed, children without food, families without a roof over their head, people weeping because of their loss, business places being looted and say it’s business as usual it truly represents the most callous, heartless, cruel and cold-hearted statement that a leader could offer to his people in their time of most need. You have no compassion for your people, but you want to pretend to care. I want to tell you today you can’t buy compassion, you can’t buy wanting to care for people, you can’t buy kindness, that is the difference between you and us.
Over the past three days, I have been on the field together with my political leader. We did not have the aid of the security forces at our disposal we had the will to go out there and help those in need. We had a shining example to follow and that is why over the past three days the United National Congress proved to the country that when you needed us most we were there for you.
From Friday night Kamla Persad Bissessar instructed every member of our party to join hands and go out there in the rains and floods, put God first and do all that you could to help those in need. On Friday night a plan was developed to go into every community and home that was in danger and rescue those citizens in need. Our supporters were told to open their doors and homes to any and every one in need and truly prove that you are your brother’s keeper. All supporters were mandated to come out and help and do all that they could to bring relief in whatever form to those in need. In the past few days, we have truly witnessed the force of the rising sun, rise to the occasion when our country and our people needed us most.
Today I want to thank everyone who over the past three days risked life and limb in the devastating floods to help those in need. When your Prime Minister and the government failed you, our people came together to rescue you and we will continue to go out in the fields, in the floods and on the ground to make sure that we do all that is possible to help those who literally can’t help themselves at this time. The outpouring of generosity and charity, not from the government but from the people has been overwhelming and I want to encourage each and every citizen and corporate Trinidad and Tobago to join us to do what the government, whose responsibility it is to do, has not done. People have opened their homes to those in need. Communities have banned together to make sure that those affected are cared for. Food, clothing, hampers, water, mattresses, essential supplies have all been donated and on behalf of those who do not have the ability that I do, I want to say thank you. Thank you to everyone who has given and who continue to give. Please do not stop!
Every single UNC MP, Senator, Councilor, activists and supporter has over the past three days been on the ground helping but what was noticeably absent was the presence of the government MP’s. Where were you? Do you all know, or even have the ability to comprehend what has happened to our country over the past three days and to our most vulnerable? Those that you did see were simply decorations for the photo op that was presented by the Prime Minister and the Minister of National Security.
Today I want to tell you that unlike what the Prime Minister has said, it is not, cannot and will not be business as usual. I want to openly make a public call today to the leader of government business to shut down this debate for the next three days and let each and every member of Parliament go out into the fields and on the ground and give a helping hand to the thousands of citizens that we all collectively represent and help them because they need help. You are in government and you have the resources and our people need us now more than ever before. The rains are predicted to come again – don’t make the same mistake you made last week.
There are people in our country that don’t have food as we speak. They have no medication. They can’t get to a hospital, there are people who as we speak have not eaten a proper meal since Friday, what could be more important than to go out there and help them. What could be more important than to go out there and rescue them? What could be more important than to go out there and try and assist them to bring some kind of relief to them in their time of need?
You claim to care. You claim to be a caring government. Today let Trinidad and Tobago see how much you really care. Today let’s see if it’s all talk or if you really do care for the people of our country. Today I make that call to you to join us to go out there for the people of our country. Every member of the United National Congress will be on the field today helping and assisting those most in need. You are invited to join us. The choice is yours. We will be on the ground let Trinidad and Tobago see where you are, where you will be, and if you really will prove to the country that after three days of devastation and catastrophic disaster, hardship and immeasurable suffering inflicted upon our people it is really business as usual!