(CIBS) – By Ashford Peters) – The Ministry of Health failed to observe its own protocol when it allowed persons beyond their own recommended maximum to gather at the conference room of the National Insurance Service (NIS) for a press conference last Friday.
Journalist Lyf Compton pointed to the Ministry’s breach in a question towards the end of the press conference that was streamed live – a press conference held to update the nation on the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic.
Compton asked why the ministry thought it wise to have thirty persons in an air-conditioned room and also why the ministry caused a microphone to pass among journalists without any sanitization process observed.
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, instead of answering the question, threw back a question at Compton in a jovial manner. He asked: “Why should a man, who should be in quarantine at an earlier stage – I don’t know if that man should be in quarantine now because he is a parent of a child – why should he be let out? Is he doing essential work?”
There was much giggling in the conference room, as most persons appeared to understand what the Prime Minister was hinting at, especially when he said he heard the matter was raised on a local radio station.
Compton, himself in a jovial mood, however, told the Prime Minister “two wrongs don’t make a right.”
Another journalist, Kenton Chance, appealed to the Prime Minister and health officials to respond to the questions.
Prime Minister Gonsalves conceded saying “we should have been spraying it.” He added: ‘But the world ain’t perfect, you know. We’re managing risks.”
The Ministry, in keeping with guidelines by the World Health Organization (WHO) has been urging social and physical distancing. The ministry, among other things, has recommended that not more than 25 persons attend church services and that funerals and weddings be restricted to ten persons.
It is also advised that there be a distance of at least three feet between persons. That recommendation was adhered to.
Attending the press conference were close to 15 media practitioners, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, Minister of Health Luke Browne and Chief Medical Officer Dr Simone Keizer-Beache. The other persons were officials from the Ministry of Health who were not at the head table and were not called upon to answer any question or provide any information.