One half of the coalition – the Alliance for Change (AFC) – is concerned about having to convene physical sittings of the National Assembly due to COVID-19 concerns, but seeks to justify the mass mobilisation of supporters for the filing of an elections petition on Monday, August 31 at the Supreme Court.
“One matter of the mobilisation, I have been informed that everything will be done. I know that there has been a donation of masks, and those things like that. Persons have been advised about social distancing for the petition, and I am told that adequate precautions are being taken. I can’t say much more because I’m not the person involved with the planning,” AFC’s General Secretary and former Public Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson said during a virtual press conference today.
Meanwhile, former AFC Leader Raphael Trotman said that there is concern of contracting virus in the House given that two government ministers would have been recently tested positive for COVID-19.
“We’ve been brought into a situation where we know COVID exists as against one where it could happen, and that’s a grave distinction between why we’re raising concerns with parliament and why the mobilisation being called for the petition,” he said.
AFC Vice-Chairperson, Catherine Hughes said that another distinction that can be made is that the National Assembly will be held in an enclosed area, whereas, the “mobilisation” will occur outdoors.
“We don’t have an agenda yet for Parliament…But the reality is: you sit for hours – and the air-conditioning – and being closed up in an environment, and we go sometimes from 2 in the afternoon sometimes to 10 in the night. So, I think there are some vast differences that impact on the safety on our MPs sitting in an enclosed area for that length of time, as opposed to being outdoors, congregating for maybe half an hour or however long,” the former Telecommunications Minister said.