TCI News

March 25 Statement from Leader of the Opposition – COVID-19

File Photo, Hon C. Washington Misick, TCI Leader of the Opposition, Progressive National Party

FULL STATEMENT — I have repeatedly stated my support of any decision that the government makes for the safety and well-being of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands and those persons from abroad who live amongst us. In this fight for our lives’ politics, religion, race or nationality is irrelevant. Survival is what matters, individual survival and the survival of our economy, once we have come through this successfully. Of this I am confident through God’s help, and our adherence to the protocol established by WHO, other agencies and our own local authorities. In that regard I lend my support to the additional emergency measures announced by the Government today and appeal to all to follow these mandatory requirements diligently. The life you save may be yours.  STAY AT HOME!!

It has been said that “we measure success by the way we touch the lives of people” and some business in Providenciales are putting people and customers first, treating profit as an outcome rather than the goal.  This is what should happen at this time.  We applaud them for this and expect others to follow suit.

At the same time, the shadow of the future looms large from the social and economic impact of this enemy. Presumably its awareness of this and the potential for long term unintended consequences of a decision made today has forced the government to postpone until tomorrow its original intention to announce an economic stimulus package.

In the meantime,  many woke up this morning without a safe place to live, without food to eat, or water to drink – never mind water to wash themselves with. There are people across the country  whose water and electricity have been turned off perhaps for failure to pay their bill. Whatever the circumstances these services should be reconnected and any past arrears can be dealt with after the crisis is past.  But no one should be denied water and electricity at this critical time. Actions such as these can be made to immediately reduce the pressure on vulnerable families, and we call on TCIG to make them immediately.

The government is rightly giving plenty of stick to the public for their own good and again I call on residents to heed the warnings;  but many are hopeless and need the Government to deliver some carrot along with the stick.  The failure of TCIG to announce a comprehensive package of social and economic measures, and for that matter to provide for the safety of the public by providing: personal protective equipment – such as masks and hand sanitisers; dedicated quarantine facilities; and other critical life saving equipment is concerning and reflects poor planning.

While asking people to confine themselves to their homes is the right thing to do they will need food,  gas or electricity to cook; clean water to bathe wash and drink; and they should not at this time have to decide between life saving medicine or food. Even at this late stage a hot line should be setup for persons to register for help other than that relating to illness from the virus.

I would like to thank the Governor for his invitation to join with the Government this morning to demonstrate solidarity in the face of this common enemy.  I wish to again reiterate that I support the measures, but as promised on Monday I cannot hitch the PNP horse to a wagon that does not include economic and social relief.  My calling the Government out is no indication that I will not continue to collaborate and cooperated where my support will help.  I am unequivocally committed to the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands and every decision I make will be made with a clear conscience in their interest.  If after tomorrow, the measures announced by the Government are balanced, affordable and lifesaving, I will be the first to validate those measures; but for now time is precious.

May God bless our land and save us from harm!

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