COVID Task Force will probe all breaches and deal with organisers ‘condignly’ – PM

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Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips, who heads the National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF), says that the body is committed to investigating all reports of COVID-19 breaches, especially at events where permission was granted with the understanding that the COVID-19 regulations would be adhered to.

The Prime Minister’s statement comes just days after many decried COVID-19 breaches at a recent futsal competition. The Guyana Football Federation (GFF) and Kashif and Shanghai, the organisers of the event, have since claimed full responsibility for those breaches.

Still, at the sidelines of an event on Tuesday, the Prime Minister lamented, “(The) government granted approval for these activities with the understanding that the organisers will follow the established protocols.”

Scenes from the recent futsal event that was in breach of the COVID-19 protocols

He explained that when individuals or organisations request permission to host events, the Task Force would review those requests and only grant approvals after emphasising the need to guarantee that adequate social distancing, sanitisation and mask wearing protocols are in place.

It is important to note that such events do not permit large gatherings of people in a small space. Failing to adhere to these guidelines, the Prime Minister said, can involve sanctions.

The Prime Minister, however, stopped short of stating what those sanctions would be. His only response was: “Just look at what has happened in the past.

“There are other sporting organisations that were sanctioned in the past and you have the information because you would have reported on that.”

Prime Minister, Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips

Based on information reliably provided to the News Room, the Georgetown Softball Cricket League Inc., the Everest Cricket Club and the Guyana Motor Racing and Sports Club (GMR&SC) were all organisations that were suspended in the past for COVID-19 breaches.

Meanwhile, when asked about the Task Force’s efforts to ensure that such breaches do not happen again, the Prime Minister said that the body is committed to investigating and taking onboard all reports of breaches once approval is granted.

He also said that the body will deal with such breaches “condignly”.

And he emphasised that all Guyanese must be responsible enough to avoid such breaches in the future.

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