Today’s newspapers are reporting that the Rowley Government may soon demand that all returning nationals pay for their mandatory Covid-19 State quarantine.
This is simply unacceptable, especially after it accessed $20 billion of taxpayers’ dollars since March, 2020. This was done under the pretext of funding all aspects of the financial fallout of the prolonged Covid-19 national shutdown.
Thus far, however, many citizens are still complaining that they’re yet to receive the long promised salary relief grants.
Several small businesses are on the brink of closure while massive unemployment prevails and traumatized citizens are being warned of even more hardships.
This as the Health Minister admitted yesterday that the State cannot afford the mounting quarantine fees.
Citizens requiring this mandatory service could therefore now be asked to foot the bill.
This is simply scandalous! It is proof that the Rowley Government blatantly lied about ever having a Covid-19 pandemic plan.
This despite spending millions of dollars to refurbish the step down facilities, and fooling citizens into believing that they had a sound “parallel health care system”, when in fact, it never existed.
The fact remains that citizens of T&T are entitled to free health care under our Constitution.
The Government is therefore duty bound to provide these services to all citizens equitably and freely. Failure to do so constitutes a serious dereliction of duty by the Government. Further, forcing citizens to pay for free public health care is unconstitutional and possibly illegal.
The Rowley Government also cannot validly claim that the Covid-19 pandemic is an exception that nullifies these legal entitlements. This since no citizen, whether local or returning national, could have ever anticipated such an unprecedented global and domestic crisis.
No one placed themselves in any reckless or deliberate danger of contracting the disease, thereby breaking no laws or regulations.
Many returning nationals are also facing financial fallouts, and would frankly not be able to afford these quarantine fees. It would therefore place them in a cruel, unnecessary monetary bind.
I am therefore calling on the Rowley Government to immediately abandon any move to implement this cruel, unfair and possibly illegal quarantine fee for citizens.
Minister Deyalsingh’s admission of the Health Ministry’s utter failure to deal with the quarantine issue is also alarming. It begs the question—given the failed, sham testing policy of the Health Ministry and no ‘parallel health care system’ in place— what indeed will happen to citizens if we do in fact get the dreaded Covid-19 “second wave” that PM Rowley keeps going on about?
The Rowley Government has already accessed too much of our rainy day funds without accounting for where it went. In the event of a Covid-19 return to our shores, we will be at the mercy of an emptied Treasury, a failed health system and a desperate population in the throes of one of the worst financial crises to have hit T&T.
Truly, for his abject and destructive failure to truly deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, and blatantly and continuously lying to citizens about it, PM Rowley and his failed, destructive regime must never again see the corridors of Government in T&T.