MP Hosein Poor border control led to Brazil variant coming in12 days in TT News day
Barataria/San Juan MP Saddam Hosein said government’s inability to manage the Venezuelan immigration crisis has led to the increasing number of the covid19 Brazilian variant coming into the country.
Hosein was speaking at a UNC press conference on Sunday at the Office of the Leader of the Opposition in Port of Spain.
“The variant stems from South America. How did it get here,” Hosein asked. “It must have entered through an illegal point of entry. That is how the virus reached our shores.”
He said it would be a lower risk for the variant to enter through the legal points of entry because of stringent screening protocols.
“The government is putting the lives of citizens at risk…because of incompetence in properly managing borders.”
Hosein criticised government for not doing more to protect borders, while the airports remain closed to nationals. “Our nationals, when they have to come back to TT, have to get a negative PCR test, quarantine at expensive hotels, with additional (quarantine) days at home…You’ve locked out citizens when the P1 variant is coming in by pirogue.”
[caption id="attachment_887449" align="alignnone" width="880"] Barataria/San Juan MP Saddam Hosein. FILE PHOTO -[/caption]
On Sunday, Hinds dispelled rumours of a video circulating on social media purporting to be Venezuelan migrants entering TT and said the video was not recorded in Trinidad. Hosein said, however, although the video was not recorded locally, it is no secret that Venezuelans have entering the country by boat.
In response to Prime Minister Dr Rowley blaming the Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar for the porous borders, Hosein said, “He based that blame on the cancellation of the Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) contracts. He is blaming the Opposition Leader for something that took place 11 years ago.”
Hosein said when the OPV contracts were cancelled, the then government, led by Persad-Bissessar, ensured that when the matter was taken for arbitration, the government was able to recover $1.4 billion and subsequently purchased 12 Damen vessels for half the cost.
The vessels included four Damen stan patrol 5009 coastal patrol vessels, two Damen fast crew supply 509 vessels, six Damen interceptor DI 1102 interceptors, and an additional long range patrol vessel from China.
He said those vessels are now run down and parked up. “One matter was raised in parliament where two vessels had a fire…Simple things like fuel (the government) were unable to supply to the coast guard for these vessels to go out to the coast to protect our borders.” He said the fight against illegal immigration needs to be in the sea, on the land, and in the air.
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