(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) – Just hours before the Trinidad and Tobago borders were officially closed at midnight last week Sunday, Princes Town MP Barry Padarath boarded a flight out of the country.
He was among hundreds of people, mainly non-nationals, attempting to leave T&T as the Government enforced the announcement of locking down its air and sea ports.
The Express reached out to Padarath last week Tuesday, asking why he opted to leave the country during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
He said: “I am a parent before a politician.” Padarath explained he wanted to be with his infant daughter, who is a citizen of the United States.
Padarath said: “My infant daughter is an American citizen who does not hold dual citizenship.
“I didn’t apply for citizenship because of the vicious political attacks, knowing that she would be used by my political opponents as a pawn in the political arena.”
Padarath said his daughter was required to leave Trinidad and Tobago in January. The child returned to the United States for that reason, as well as her medical check-ups, he said.
“Since then, she has been in the US with my family while I have been back and forth. However, in light of the global pandemic and the announcement of the closure of borders, I could not risk that my infant daughter would be in the land of her birth while I am stuck in Trinidad unable to get to her in the event of an emergency,” he said.
He has been in self-quarantine since arriving in the United States.
Last week Monday, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said she had recommitted herself and the United National Congress to working with the Government where “legally possible” in the fight against COVID-19.
She said: “…Through our roles as MPs and local government councillors, and in accordance to our constitutional mandate and oath of office, to ensure that all decisions taken by the Government to utilise State resources to serve and protect our population at this time of crisis is actively and duly supported by my party.”
‘Constituents’ needs addressed’
Padarath said, however, his constituency office continues to function and, through technology, he has been able to stay in touch with staff and colleagues. He said the needs of his constituents were being addressed.
“I think every reasonable person would understand that as a parent, my child is my priority,” he said.