August 10th, 2022
This Government must be strongly condemned for its inability and indifference in treating with the growing infestation of the Giant African Snails across the country.
In my own constituency of Couva South, constituents have reached out to me in frustration and deep concern over the growing population of these snails in Couva and environs.
Constituents has informed me that they have reached out countless times to the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries for their intervention. In all instances, the Ministry has failed to respond with any assistance on removing this population. They continue to advise persons on how to control the growing population of snails.
This feeble advice is an attempt to disguise the inaction of the Ministry in dealing with this infestation, which is causing substantial health hazards and economic loss to the residents of Central Trinidad in particular.
Recently, one constituent frustratingly lamented that her entire yard was inhabited by these snails. Another constituent mourned the loss of his pets and livestock, after an invasion of his homestead by these snails.
Countless residents fear that these snails will cause major health problems which can have a serious impact on their livestock, crops and human life as they are known carriers of diseases.
Minister Kazim Hosein, Junior Minister Nigel De Freitas and Parliamentary Secretary Avinash Singh must be reminded and take a more decisive action on support control methods in addition to just advising the public, as these snails are vectors of dangerous diseases, including meningitis.
This is of great concern to me, especially as we are in the July/August vacation period, and more so children are likely to be outdoors in their homes and community spaces during this school break.
The lack of action by the Government on this issue prompts major concern over the Government’s access to finances and the state of this country’s economy and can the Ministry of Health withstand additional health issues given that Covid-19 cases are on the rise and the general state of the health sector and its incapability financially and otherwise to cope.
Just as concerning, is the fact that communities in Couva South have not been sprayed for mosquitoes by the Insect Vector Control Division of the Ministry of Health, as is expected.
Constituents have been reporting increased population of mosquitoes than usual, and are concerned about the higher potential for the spread of mosquito borne diseases such as dengue, malaria and yellow fever.
Why has the Insect Vector Control Division not sprayed this year as in previous years with the exception of 2020 and 2021? Again, what is the state of the country’s economy if basic and routine health precautions such as the spraying for mosquitoes and removal of disease vectors cannot occur routinely?
While we all know that this Prime Minister and Government move slower than the snail and deadlier than mosquitoes, we must insist that they attend to and immediately address these public health issues. Our population deserve safety, our agriculture sector deserve protection and our taxpayers deserve the services for which they are bearing the costs for.
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR COUVA SOUTH AND SHADOW RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE
MINISTRY OF LABOUR and TOBAGO AFFAIRS.