Gary Griffith chastises CMO who 'never kicked a lime'
Police Commissioner Gary Griffith is taking Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram to task for his recommendation that youth avoid sporting activities until September, which is when schools are set to reopen.
Parasram was speaking at the daily media conference hosted by the Ministry of Health on Wednesday to update the nation on the country’s COVID-19 statistics.
He was asked about the Youth Pro League in particular, since Griffith previously said approval was granted for the games.
The CMO responded saying: “My statement that I have said all along is that, I mean you know, children should have been held until September. I don’t know, in terms of the regulations, the regulations, as far as I know don’t speak to the age of persons being able to conduct any sort of activity so… that’s where I stand.”
In a press release on Wednesday, the Police Commissioner expressed concern that Dr Parasram’s comments were “confusing” as he saw it as an instruction, rather than an expert opinion.
He said: “I continue to hear comments by certain appointed individuals as it relates to young people playing sports, it being a matter of concern that may increase the risk of some acquiring COVID-19. These comments continue to do nothing other than to confuse the life out of my Police Officers, as they are the individuals who have to enforce the law, and likewise parents as they are left to wonder if their children playing sport is against the law.”
The top cop further sought to clarify the misunderstanding saying there was no law preventing any young person from participating in a sport. He said, however, that the stipulated numbers under the Public Health Ordinace must be maintained.
He said: “The CMO does not draft, approve, or enforce laws. I have received absolutely no policy from any Government official to stop any young person from taking part in sport.”
“In fact, as the COP, preventing or trying to persuade young people not to play sport after being boxed in their homes for months, is an avenue that can frustrate many young persons and hence their energies can very well be diverted in non-productive, if not criminal avenues, hence these continuous comments trying to prevent young people from playing sport, are indeed a liability from a TTPS perceptive, and does not help us in our role and function.”
Meanwhile, Griffith complained that the CMO’s comments failed to consider the TTPS’ role
He stated: “As someone heavily involved in Sport, this comment to try to scare parents and young people from playing sport, makes absolutely no sense and serves little purpose, as it causes more harm than good. When certain persons who never kicked a lime in contact sport, they may not understand the bigger picture.”
“Their logic is that persons may train and practice in a sport, but not play in a tournament, meaning that COVID-19 is selective pandemic, that would not affect a young person who may be huddled with dozens of people in a small area, but if it is a tournament, then it becomes a concern as COVID-19 would strike for tournaments but not "a sweat".”
The Police Commissioner said healthy, fit players are less prone to contracting the flu and added that the Secondary Schools’ League is expected to commence in early September.
He lamented: “To those who do not understand the importance of Sport, especially as it pertains to the importance of exercising and good health, young people especially, need to exercise. Failure to do this, apart from causing frustration, can make them unhealthy, so such comments actually can make more young people unhealthy and susceptible to sickness.”
Griffith advised that several measures can be taken to safeguard young people other than avoiding sports such as: no huddling before and after games, no sharing of snacks and persuading the non-attendance of supporters. He said this is done in other countries.