DLP: Gov’t has failed citizens; time to lockdown

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Democratic Labour Party (DLP) president Verla DePeiza Sunday charged that the Government of Barbados has failed to protect its citizens and has recommended a national lockdown and closure of borders so that the authorities can get a handle on the current COVID-19 outbreak.

The party leader was speaking during a virtual panel discussion COVID-19: Time to Reset which was broadcast tonight. It was during the question and answer segment that Barbados TODAY asked what the DLP would recommend when the president said that a national lockdown is needed.

“Right now we need to take a pause and part of that pause is to close ourselves off for the time being. Every time there is a press conference we are expecting a lockdown. Despite saying that you have the nerve to press the brakes you don’t do it so we are still flying head long down the hill because you haven’t pressed the brake. Don’t tell me you can if you don’t, it is still a suicide mission. We must take that pause. We must stop and get ahead of it. We must get on top of the situation,” the president said.

The DLP discussion, “COVID-19: Time to Reset”.

De Peiza stressed there was a need to take some of the pressure off of the Best Dos Santos Laboratory since its hands were already full with the spike in testing resulting from the current outbreak.

“At this present moment in order to get ahead of the events that are still unfolding we should not still have planes coming. In each planeload is another couple hundred persons who have to be tested in the one lab. Best Dos Santos is the only lab that we have. So even if they manage to test everybody in the contact tracing, they then have to add them to the number of persons who are coming in still,” she added.

De Peiza said that the current administration came into office “riding a wave of transparency” and told the audience that “we have to hold their feet [BLP] to the fire”.

The president said: “The decision was made to keep the borders open. 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.

“I am not satisfied, and I think I speak on behalf of the people of Barbados, we are not satisfied that enough was done. Back in September BAMP [Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners] put up a red flag and said these protocols do not go far enough. They repeated when it was clear to everyone who was breezing in December.”

The DLP leader accused Government of not acting on the complaints about tourists who were breaching the protocols.

“We were already hearing the complaints coming from the workers in the tourism sector. We were getting reports coming out that persons were breaching quarantine and it was all being swept under the carpet. Even those two UK citizens, who almost got on a plane with one of them being positive . . . when approached in relation to that incident I can only describe the response from the Minister of Tourism as dismissive. They were not taking things seriously…,” De Peiza said. (IMC)

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