LEADER of Opposition Matthew Wale has called on the Prime Minister to immediately remove the oversight committee, and restructure the Covid response approach.
Hon Wale said the oversight committee has failed miserably in the last two years.
The Opposition Leader said the oversight committee has outgrown its usefulness as is evident in its lack of preparedness for this current situation.
“The Prime Minister should thank them for two years of non preparedness and remove them immediately. They should also be blamed for all the wrong advises to the Prime Minister and Cabinet,” he said.
Hon Wale said they had two years to come up with a comprehensive National COVID response plan that anticipated levels of community transmission across the country, but they failed to do so and their lack of foresight, and adequate preparation has resulted in the current terrible situation.
“I have been reminding the government for the past 2 years that the oversight committee should have included health experts, private sector, SOEs and not political appointees in the Prime Minister’s Office that have nothing better to offer. Its composition and structure all along has been an obstruction to a science-led response and that is why government’s response to community transmission is chaotic,” he said.
Hon Wale advised the Prime Minister to request Australia and New Zealand for an Epidemiologist to be appointed as our national Chief Medical Officer to be in charge of our COVID response. And the Prime Minister and Cabinet to implement that person’s advice.
He said the entire machinery of government should strictly implement directions from the Chief Medical Officer.
Hon Wale said the Oversight Committee’s composition has been skewed towards administrative and political representation, and as a result science and epidemiology has not taken the prominent role they should in directing the government’s responses.
The Opposition Leader said the result is the tragedy that is unfolding.
“We are in a critical situation. We cannot sit back and watch business as usual approaches wreak tragedy in our country. The PM must stand up and lead from the front. Tough decisions need to be made given the seriousness of the unfolding tragedy before us” the Opposition Leader said.
Hon Wale said his advice is timely and necessary since the government itself has warned that worse is yet to come.
“We must make tough decisions in anticipation of the waves of infections that are likely to follow” he said.