• 21 APR 2021

Statement by Prime Minister Rowley on Increased COVID-19 Restrictions

Fellow citizens,

Well before the Easter vacation, I took the time out to raise with the national community the coming of a period of extended holidays and weekends centered around the Easter vacation, other holidays and religious celebrations.

I appealed for a national recognition of our coming vulnerability and asked that even as we were getting tired of the stresses that there were dangers if we relaxed and benefits to be had if we complied with an improved sense of personal responsibility.

Today, in response to the unwelcome rising numbers of infected persons and those needing hospital care I have authorized some further restrictions on the exposure and movements of the population. I trust that you will see the need for these actions and undertake to comply.

From the very onset of this pandemic, we as a nation took the approach that we will rely on a national cooperating effort to minimize and suppress the virus until it can be overcome. That approach is still valid and I ask fellow citizens to do their individual parts in order to bring us the results we desire.

I am aware that not every citizen will see it this way but what we have to guard against is allowing the circumstances of the pandemic to further destroy us as a people wanting the best for ourselves, our families, our communities and our nation.

It is in this regard that I reject any attempt to misrepresent the facts and the placing of blame on Tobago for hosting a few thousands who chose to spend their time in that part of the country with family and friends or just strangers enjoying the ambience that exists there.

It is not where you spend your time it is what you do there. For those who see political opportunities in these trying circumstances, I want to remind them that even before Easter the areas of spiking community spread were in County Caroni and County Victoria. Subsequently, the third most affected zone was St George East.

The CMO data sheets today continue to confirm that the areas of accelerating increases of confirmed viral infection continue to be County Caroni, County Victoria and St George East.

To set about to separate the people of Tobago or their tourism economy for special hatred is misleading and just plain wrong. Against the data set, it is unnecessary and purely divisive for politicians with nothing useful to contribute to be trying to establish that our current circumstances are as a result of a successful Easter weekend in Tobago.

The problem of reduced compliance is all over the country and should be seen as such if we are to rectify the situation and get back to a level that could see us rolling back the recent restrictions.

I ask for your individual cooperation. This and our abiding faith in God will see us through.

Dr the Hon Keith Rowley

Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago