The People’s National Congress which is the largest party in the opposition APNU+AFC coalition today called on the Minister of Health to step aside if he cannot provide adequate and detailed information on the COVID-19 situation in Guyana as the country faces a surge in new cases.
During a PNC press conference today, Dr. Richard Van West Charles said the country is in crisis and the Minister of Health cannot just offer numbers to the population.
“Dr. Anthony has been so general and evasive and it is for this reason why we are saying that he either step it up or steps aside because this is a serious matter. I agree that the cases are escalating but we cannot continue as a responsible political party to witness the uninformed nature by which Dr. Anthony is answering questions when posed to him, with no specificity and when we are talking about the variants, he doesn’t know or it maybe so or whatever. So, those are unacceptable and if he is serious about the issue and the Ministry is serious, and the Government is serious, he either provides the answers to the population as we see in every other country around the world, and it is important that they do, so citizens can make the right decisions and if he cannot do that then he must step aside immediately”, Dr. Van West Charles said.
Dr. Van West-Charles who is a former PAHO Country Representative in Jamaica said while the Minister continues to dodge questions, the situation is getting more out of control. He said there needs to be better management even as the government is still to confirm the presence of the faster spreading Delta variant.
“If we make that assumption then one of the things which is important is an approach which brings together the adherence to the public health guidelines, to revisit the opening of schools to ensure the school environment is safe and the offices where we work in both the private sector and the public sector are safe and that we try to reduce the vaccine hesitancy and increase vaccinations”.
The PNC Executive member said there is great distrust when it comes to the government and the population on the vaccine issue and that must be addressed. He said the government should have taken a broader approach involving all stakeholders, but it has refused to do so repeatedly.
Dr. Van West-Charles said, “we do have a problem of trust by the population and that is why the vaccine hesitancy continues to plague us because the government resists an inclusionary approach, resist a transparent approach, and if you look at the questions being asked, its basically asking for basic information that should be made available to us”.
The People’s National Congress has put together a list of questions that it wants to be answered by the Health Minister to bring more clarity to the COVID-19 situation in the country. According to Opposition spokesperson on Health in the National Assembly, Dr. Karen Cummings, the Minister of Health needs to come clean with the people of the nation.
Since the 1st September, Guyana has recorded more than 4500 new cases of the virus and the month has seen more than 115 deaths.
The Opposition maintains that it is ready and willing to work along with the government to address the COVID-19 situation in the country. The Government has not responded to the Opposition’s interest.