House Speaker Bridgid Annisette George had to step in twice to protect Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh as he faced heated questions from his Opposition colleagues over the failure of the first-day walk-in vaccination service.
Pictures and videos of long lines and congregated people waiting for vaccines dominated social media yesterday with many suggesting that it was the Ministry of Health that was now responsible for holding a super spreader event.
Earlier in the day, at the Ministry of Health update, Deyalsingh offered a mea culpa and apologised for the chaos at many of the nations health centres yesterday.
During the questions portion of the Senate sitting yesterday, he was not spared.
Member of Parliament for Oropouche East Dr Roodal Moonilal asked Deyalsingh if he could indicate what process was in place at the Ministry of Health to test people over 60 before administering the Sinopharm vaccine and was told by Annisette George that the question was out of order.
But Moonilal did not stop there.
“In the context of the utter and possibly fatal recklessness of the Government today (yesterday) could the Government assure citizens that the Sinopharm vaccine would be available to facilitate your equally ill=advised ABC programme,” Moonilal asked, referring to the Ministry’s new plan to vaccinate people in alphabetical surname order.
But he was shut down again by Annisette-George.
“That question is out of order,” she said.
MP for Pointe-a-Pierre David Lee sought an update on the 1.5 million doses of China-made Sinopharm vaccines from Deyalsingh.
“Just to correct the report, at no time did the Government say we ordered 1.5 (million), what we said is that we have the capacity to pay for 1.5. The negotiations for Sinopharm, bilaterally, started in this country on September 1 2020. We signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) with Sinopharm on March 16. That prevents us from discussing any matters on the issue of Sinopharm vaccines whether it be the patent rights, the formulation, the pricing and quantities,” he said.
“We are now in the eleventh hour and fifty-fifth minute of consecrating this bilateral purchase and there should be nothing that should be said in the public domain that is prevented from being said with the NDA,” he said.
Deyalsingh said as soon as the sign off was completed, there would be more details with regards to shipping and arrival dates.