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De Peiza ‘not satisfied that enough was done’

De Peiza ‘not satisfied that enough was done’
President of the Democratic Labour Party Verla De Peiza. (FILE)

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It is Government’s responsibility to keep Barbadians safe during the COVID-19 pandemic if the country’s borders will not be closed.

That’s the position of president of the Democratic Labour Party president Verla De Peiza who was speaking during an online discussion on Sunday evening, streamed live on the party’s Facebook page, titled COVID-19 Time to Reset.

“The onus then is on Government to ensure that our borders are so tightly policed that COVID doesn’t get a look into the country, that is the next step. If you’ve decided you must have the borders open, then it is your responsibility as Government to protect those borders just as you would do everything within your powers to stop contraband from coming in.

“Just as you would do everything within your power to stop firearms from coming in, to stop drugs from coming in, it is your duty to the people of Barbados, as the administration in office, to ensure that you have done all within your power to keep COVID at bay.

“I am not satisfied, and I believe I speak on behalf of the people of Barbados when I say we are not satisfied that enough was done,” said De Peiza.

She noted that in spite of the red flags and subsequent cautions raised by the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners about protocols not going far enough, the need for health authorities to honour the 10- to14-day quarantine period and be mindful of where persons were coming from, the party leader charged the Minister of Tourism was “dismissive” and the cautions “were not being taken seriously”.

De Peiza was responding to moderator Irene Sandiford-Garner who asked for her perspective on closing the country’s borders against the United Kingdom which has recorded a new, more contagious strain of the coronavirus.

The former parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Tourism said too that Barbadians were “yet to hear what mitigating efforts have been made to ramp up our capacity that we would have had at the beginning of the trickle, to the full-blown threat that we now have in Barbados”.

Sandiford-Garner said there appeared to be a lack of capacity building ahead of the Winter Tourist Season “because we’re seeing lack of enforcement in too many areas to leave me or any right thinking Barbadian to believe that all the bases are covered”. She also asked whether the BHTA, the Ministry of Health, the COVID Unit and “all the other persons who are engaged in this process,” met to discuss how Barbados would “have to ramp up our capabilities for the winter season which everybody knows would see an influx because we are not closing our borders”.

The other panelists were first vice president and spokesperson on small business and health Ryan Walters, second vice president and spokesperson on agriculture and the environment, Andre Worrell, and Courie Cox, a member of the general council and spokesperson on labour. (GBM)