Four Coalition Opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) came together on Wednesday to demand that the People’s Progressive Party Government change its approach of dealing with the COVID – 19 situation in Guyana.
Recognizing that there has been a frightening surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths, the Opposition MPs which included Dr Karen Cummings, Geeta Chandan – Edmond, Tabitha Sarabo – Halley and Dawn Hastings – Williams believe that there needs to be a more rigid approach to enforcing preventative measures.
More importantly, the four women were heavy in their criticism of changes to the APNU+AFC’s plan to deal with the pandemic and have called for a reversal of some of those changes.
The APNU+AFC, while still in Government, had the opportunity to manage the situation for the first five months after the first case of the disease was detected here on March 11, 2020.
In retrospect, Dr Cummings now says that the only thing she thinks the Coalition should have done differently was to be more oppressive with port health and lock down the country earlier.
She says the PPP Government must act with more inclusion and do like the APNU+AFC to recognise the need for involvement of all state agencies to combat the pandemic.
A former junior Health Minister herself, Dr Cummings said the Government is out of touch with the realities on the ground.
She rejected the Government’s move to allow hundreds of citizens who tested positive for COVID-19 to home isolate while the former Ocean View Hotel which was transformed into a hospital by the APNU+AFC continues to operate below capacity.
Meanwhile, Chandan-Edmond was strong in her call for the Government to be far more rigid in enforcing the curfew and other preventative measures in place.
She said the Guyana Police Force should be used to do this bid.
“Bars and restaurants act with impunity and remain open during curfew hours, there are large congregations of persons seen in public without masks, allowing community spread of the virus and the Government has failed to enforce the measures.
“Since August 2nd there has been a relaxing of enforcement and a free for all attitude is encouraged. The Government must utilize the resources of the police force in this matter,” she added.
The Government also received flack for its move to have public servants return to work on a full-time basis and have been asked to give more attention to the spread of the virus in the hinterland communities where the numbers are currently high.
The Opposition MPs believe the Government is too laid back in dealing with the virus and say if action is not taken now there are fears for what could happen in the future.