Trinidad Gov’t Seeks To Extend State Of Emergency

(CMC) —The Trinidad and Tobago Parliament will meet on Wednesday to debate an extension of the state of emergency (SOE) that is due to end on August 29.

The government had imposed the SOE in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) that has so far killed 1,208 and infected 42, 582 others in the twin island republic.

The Order Paper circulated for the Parliament meeting said that the government will seek a further three-month extension of the SOE that first came into force on May 15 and extended for three months on May 24.

The government needs a simple majority to extend the SOE and Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi said the Cabinet met on Thursday and the “decision was taken to trigger a further extension for a period not exceeding three months as the Constitution permits in Section 10.

“Some of the driving factors that assisted us into coming into this decision included the fact that the two primary regulations that are in existence are both specifically tailor-made and designed to assist the management of the pandemic, and in that careful balance between lives and livelihoods,” he told the Trinidad Express newspaper.

“On the one hand, the State of Emergency Regulations Number 2, that is the larger side of the regulations that provides for the regulation of businesses being permitted to open in the time frames in which they are allowed to operate and the usual measures that you are now accustomed to,” he said.

Al-Rawi said the second important regulation is the State of Emergency vaccination regulation, which allows for the broadening of personnel authorised by law to administer vaccines, including dental assistants and medical interns.

“The rollout of vaccination policy meeting needles into arms in management of the COVID whilst we are opening the economy, epidemiological cycle after cycle; it’s critical at this point that we maintain the regulations, largely because we have to be as productive and as efficient as we can be in the rollout of vaccines, in the opening of businesses, always knowing that the Delta variant is right around us,” Al-Rawi said.