ASSERTING the United National Congress (UNC) is on the side of workers in the entertainment industry, Princes Town MP Barry Padarath is warning that the Prime Minister cannot abdicate himself from responsibility if after Carnival there is a spike in covid19 cases.
At a UNC media conference on Sunday, Padarath was critical of the eleventh-hour decision to host a “Taste of Carnival” for 2022.
He said Rowley knew Carnival was scheduled for February 28 and March 1, and should have held proper consultations with stakeholders and telegraphed Government’s intention to better prepare and manage the events to be hosted.
“The PM cannot now throw it in the…court of the National Carnival Commission (NCC) and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts. The policy has to come from the Prime Minister.
“If we continue to see an upsurge of covid 19 as we are seeing, post-Carnival, the PM cannot just wash his hands and say he has no responsibility in this matter, just as he had no responsibility when he invited everyone to come to Tobago for Easter and then we saw the numbers escalate. “
Padarath demanded to know what advice was proffered by the CMO, Dr Roshan Parasram, and the stakeholders, in terms of the medical fraternity, on hosting any type of Carnival activities in TT.
“We are on the side of those who are involved in the industry. They are the most vulnerable: the artistes, all those involved, whether it is the man selling snowcone, the man selling bake and shark, corn soup, the technical people who provide sound and lighting, the entire industry.:
He said Government had sufficient time to engage and prepare stakeholders, while providing a safe environment to host events as is being done successfully across the globe.
“Countries around the world are hosting mega events, thousands of people attending these events safely. In TT, one month before Carnival you call everybody in a room and tell them, ‘We are going to have concerts and doing it virtually.'”
Pointing out that virtual still involves manpower and interaction, he said he hopes not only selected promoters will benefit from this arrangement.
“What exactly is Government telegraphing to the population in terms of if you are a promoter? How do we ensure that Pelican does not reoccur under any circumstances?” He was referring to an event hosted onboard a stationary boat, the Ocean Pelican, after which dozens of guests and the promoter were detained. Police investigations into thatissue are continuing.
“Because Carnival is not just an event,Every Trinbagonian understands Carnival is a feeling in this country – a feeling of euphoria whereby some people just throw caution to the wind and therefore people may decide to have these events throughout the country, which will result in similar situation to what occurred with the Pelican issue that is now in the hands of the police.”
Pointing to the shortage of oxygen and medication for ailing covid and other patients, Padarath called on Tourism Minister Randall Mitchell to reveal the budget the NCC has proposed for hosting limited Carnival events.