This country has never before faced as great a challenge as we do today, to combat a faceless enemy that has already sickened dozens of our citizens and claimed one life.
To be sure, COVID-19, which has now killed more than 24,000 people globally and sickened more than 500,000, has brought governments and countries to their knees and overwhelmed health systems in some of the most advanced countries.
T&T has so far been able to cope with this challenge using the long-idle Couva Hospital, Caura Chest Hospital and other facilities to care for those who have been stricken by the virus.
These are early days but what has been clear is that this virus can only be slowed if we practice social distancing, self-quarantine and isolation if we believe we may have been in contact with anyone who had it.
Globally and in T&T, this has required the use of emergency powers by some governments to force their citizens to heed the advice of public health officials who believe such actions give us the best chance at success.
It is with this in mind that the Government has so far received significant support from the country, including this newspaper, for its decisive actions in seeking to limit the virus’ impact on T&T.
We are therefore deeply troubled and disappointed by a statement from the Opposition Leader in which she alleges a cover-up by the Government in the handling of the COVID-19 battle.
Are we to believe that this former prime minister is seeking to besmirch the hard work and reputation of people like Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram and his colleagues and suggest they would be party to a cover-up in such a life and death issue?
As if it were not enough, the UNC leader uses a death from the virus to launch a political attack on the Government.
Is nothing out of bounds for Mrs Persad-Bissessar?
To be clear, we take no sides in this political fight but at a time when even the fractious US Congress can come together in a bipartisan effort to pass legislation to ameliorate the impact of the virus on US nationals, our Opposition Leader and Prime Minister find themselves in an unseemly squabble.
Had the stakes not been so high, we would have left it as the cut and thrust of politics in T&T. But if Mrs Persad-Bissessar’s supporters accept her word and panic, what will that do to the country?
We hope it is not what she is hoping for. But if that is the desired outcome then you, Mrs Persad-Bissessar, will be rightly accused of putting personal interest before national interest and would have diminished yourself and your party.