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Trinidad and Tobago
A group of doctors, religious leaders and labor and civil advocates have published an open letter to the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago regarding the World Health Organization negotiations.
Activists from around the world should follow the fine example that has been set by a group of people from Trinidad and Tobago.
Please watch the video below…
A group of leaders have made their opinions known to all the world by publishing an open letter to the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago regarding the negotiations with the World Health Organization.
The “Appeal to Reject the Convention and IHR Amendments” is available (in full) below…
The “Open Letter” to the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago is available (in full) below…
Regardless of where you may live, please support the following organizations:
COVID-19 Transparency Advocacy Group of Trinidad & Tobago
The Trinidad and Tobago Civil Advocacy Network
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Below are some excerpts from the “Open Letter”…
Dear Prime Minister,
We recognize the need for international collaboration during PHEICs. However, the terms of these accords must respect the constitutional guarantees, fundamental human rights and the democratic will of the citizenry. As these instruments provide for the preparation and management of PHEICs they must equally restrain any public health interventions which unjustifiably or unempirically trammel citizens with lockdowns, limit movement or assembly, facilitate invasion of privacy, restrict access to employment and education, suppress free speech, or infringe upon bodily integrity.
As a group of concerned citizens, comprising practitioners in medicine, public health, labor, advocacy, and theology, we urge you to seek consultation and consent from the citizenry before making potentially imprudent commitments to international accords which can profoundly impact our autonomy in public health and the rights and freedoms of the people during PHEICs.
If the Articles of the proposed Pandemic Convention and IHR amendments are not scrupulously considered in tandem, the inherent threat to human rights and the deleterious impact on public health sovereignty may be overlooked. Similarly, until parties to these accords exercise their franchise to co- author their articles in deference to the spirit of their respective constitutions and the will of their people, these accords are tantamount to submission to an unelected, supranational bureaucracy which will dictate local health policy without regard to the protection of a country’s public health autonomy or its citizens’ rights.
Furthermore, any international accords drafted by the WHO, should materially address the shortfalls of the public health response that exacerbated the socio-economic disruption caused by COVID-19. In promoting manufacturing, distribution and administration of Pandemic Related Products (PRP) the accords should also contain clauses which provide for the safe and ethical use of such products and it should build the capacity of National Drug Regulatory Agencies (NRA)4, which must play a more stringent role in ensuring pharmaceutical quality control, informed consent and truth in advertising.
Before considering support, the Honourable Prime Minister, and all local appointees to the Convention’s Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) and delegates to the World Health Assembly (WHA) must give urgent attention to and reject the following WHO CA+ Convention Articles and IHR amendments which are deficient, ill-conceived, or manifestly harmful.
Of paramount importance, the Honourable Prime Minister should immediately address the deleterious IHR amendments outlined in our letter, as these have already been tentatively adopted since 2022, and will come into permanent effect unless rejected by Trinidad and Tobago’s delegation to the WHA by November 2023.
I. Pandemic Profiteering/ A PHEIC in Perpetuity
We humbly request that the Honourable Prime Minister and Trinidad and Tobago’s members of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) and delegates to the World Health Assembly (WHA) withhold endorsement until both instruments are amended to:
Limit the WHO Director General’s power to unilaterally declare PHEICs by requiring input and consensus from independent public health experts in member states.
Declare rational public health parameters which trigger an end to PHEICs, recognizing that territories manage and emerge from their respective outbreaks at different times.
Omit any and all demands for financial commitments to pandemic spending and financing which should be left to the parliamentary discretion of member states.
II. Regulatory Weakening: Circumvention of Safety Testing and Voluntary Informed Consent
The WHO should not promote approval or licensure by National Drug Regulatory Agencies (NRAs) of any novel medicinal products which have not completed long term safety testing and which, based on a paucity of safety data, the WHO is itself only prepared to grant Emergency Use Listing (EUL).
To protect the health and safety of the people, the Honourable Prime Minister and the INB should reject the Convention’s pharmaceutical regulatory stance (Article 14) unless and until clauses are included which:
i. Require overhaul of NRA legislation to:
Strengthen Technical capacity of NRAs to conduct independent pharmaceutical analysis.
Mandate enforcement of Voluntary Informed Consent protocols for all emergency authorized products.
Enforce “Truth in Advertising” for novel pandemic pharmaceuticals; authorizing NRA led prosecution of institutions or actors which use false claims for marketing, or which violate voluntary informed consent.
ii. Establish a labeling convention for Emergency Use Listed (EUL) pharmaceuticals and vaccines that makes clear their safety uncertainties and prevents any false marketing of such drugs which mislead the public into thinking they are fully approved or proven safe.
iii. Establish declared criteria for Black Box Warnings on PRPs and conditions for withdrawal of EUL status.
iv. Mandate the establishment of a Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) in each state considering the use of EUL vaccines, supported by rigorous clinical protocols for detection, documentation and reporting of Adverse Events Following Vaccination (AEFI).
III. Manufacturer Protection: Loopholes for Contractual Secrecy and Indemnification
In protecting the State against onerous injury claims and ensuring full procurement transparency we humbly request that the Honourable Prime Minister and the INB:
i. Rejects Convention Article 13.C in their current forms to eliminate all loopholes that allow manufacturers to evade full declarations of Contractual arrangements with purchasing states. The following Articles should be amended as follows (see line strike through):
a. WHO CA+ Article 13.C.3: “Each Party shall,
at the earliest reasonable opportunity and in accordance with applicable laws, make publicly available online the terms of government-funded purchase agreements for pandemic-related products in those instances in which the Party is directly entering into the purchase agreement.”
b. WHO CA+ Article 13.C.4: “Each Party shall, in its government-funded purchase agreements for pandemic-related products,
to the fullest extent possible and in accordance with applicable laws, exclude confidentiality provisions that serve to limit disclosure of terms and conditions.”
ii. Rejects WHO CA+ Convention Articles 10.1, 10.2 and 10.4 to prevent onerous payouts by states in the event of pharmaceutical injuries AND to ensure manufacturers maintain the highest standards of safety in the production and testing of pharmaceuticals.
iii. Incorporate Articles which mandate liability sharing to ensure that Vaccine Injury Compensation Schemes are in part substantially funded by manufacturers and not solely by the purchasing states. The percentage liability can be negotiated.
iv. Requires the inclusion of Convention Articles that withhold WHO’s Emergency Use Listing (EUL) for any PRP or vaccines for which the manufacturer claims full indemnity.
IV. Suppression of Scientific Inquiry, Discovery and Accountability Regarding Pathogen Origins
With multiple lines of evidence supporting the “lab-leak” origin, including publications in mainstream science journals documenting gain of function research, the Honourable Prime Minister and the INB should reject Convention Article 5.A and propose amendments that:
Encourage all political and scientific efforts to investigate anthropogenic/lab-made origins for pathogens with pandemic potential. Given the proliferation of laboratories conducting gain of function research, cross-species speculation should be limited by default.
Parties should agree upon appropriate strict regulations and penalties for jurisdictions and/or research groups which engage in potentially hazardous gain-of-function research.
V. Censorship of Scientific Discourse, Information Sharing and Free Speech
To protect freedom of speech and promote healthy scientific discourse which positively influences public health policy and outcomes, the Office of the Prime Minister and the INB and the delegates to the WHA should:
Reject WHO CA+ Convention Articles 18.1, 18.1.b
Reject IHR article amendments 7.e and 44
Propose new Articles which facilitate a policy of open participatory scientific discourse. (This may entail the establishment of Local and Regional scientific open forums which allow sharing of scientific publications and emerging data, and which facilitate publicly viewable scientific discourse that informs policy and public opinion.)
Propose new Articles which facilitate a policy of non-intrusiveness and limited interference in social media and other communication platforms, which enables free speech.
VI. Infringement of Human Rights and Digital Privacy
To safeguard our peoples’ fundamental human rights the Office of the Prime Minister the INB and the WHA delegation should vehemently reject any mechanisms which afront basic freedoms and:
Include new Convention/IHR Articles which encourage States to set limits on potentially onerous public health measures (lockdowns, travel restrictions, school, and business closures) and require a mechanism of consensus among local stakeholders in business, law, and medicine for extension of such measures.
Include Convention/IHR articles which require amendments to update existing public health ordinances which, in some jurisdictions can be wielded unilaterally by politicians (e.g., Ministers of Health) to undermine constitutional freedoms with little or no scientific oversight or rationale.
Preserve the IHR Article 3 as is, without omission of universal terms “respect for dignity, human rights and fundamental freedoms” which are commonly defined protections guaranteed in national constitutions and which, even in times of Public Health Emergency, should be regarded as unassailable.
Strike reference to digital surveillance technology (QR codes) in IHR Article 35 which facilitates the potential monitoring and misuse of private medical data.
Include a new Convention/IHR Article which requires parties to enact Medical Data Protection Legislation, which aims to prevent the misuse of any and all private medical data, including vaccine status, that results in unjustifiable medical segregation and discrimination (e.g., vaccine-based segregation).
This new Article should include a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” dictum that prevents the solicitation of EUL vaccine status for employment, education, and travel.
VII. Subversion of National Public Health Autonomy During PHEICs
To safeguard our country’s Public Health Sovereignty the Office of the Prime Minister and Trinidad and Tobago’s delegation to the WHA should reject all IHR amendments that:
Enable local operations of International Health Regulations governance and/or enforcement bodies (e.g., IHR Focal Points, Compliance Committees), which report to WHO to carry out its objectives.
Facilitate external interference in public health decision making and policy which circumvents parliamentary process and local health expertise.
We respectfully insist that the Prime Minister opposes any attempts by the WHO to attain executive or implementation powers within the jurisdiction of its member states. The WHO MUST be confined to its advisory functions, only providing technical and public health guidance upon the request of its membership.
Summary of Appeal
The IHR amendments and Pandemic Preparedness Convention (Who CA+) should be the subject of national discourse. Endorsement of these two (2) accords in their present state can have far reaching, deleterious impacts on the quality of life of our citizens; potentially enabling the WHO’s ability to enforce public health policies which abridge basic freedoms, afront human rights and circumvent democratic processes during PHEICs.
Trinidad and Tobago should be cautious of joining any accords which facilitate industrialization and profiteering from public health crises.
Given the poor outcomes of the internationally coordinated WHO pandemic response over the last 2 years, countries should be wary of WHO attempts to monopolize health policy to the detriment of national public health sovereignty.
The members of Trinidad and Tobago’s Intergovernmental Negotiating Body and our delegates to the World Health Assembly who are negotiating these instruments must rightfully engage the electorate through public consultations, to determine the best way forward.
In the interim, we humbly request that the Honourable Prime Minster carefully considers the pressing issues highlighted under headings I-VII and exercises his authority as leader of the Cabinet to ensure that Trinidad and Tobago’s WHA delegation rejects the amendments to the IHR before November 1st, 2023.
Given the urgency of these matters we would greatly appreciate a response within thirty (30) days pertinent to our request for public consultations and a timely rejection of amendments to the IHR.
Clinicians & Medical Academics
Dr. Rajiv Seereeram
Dr. David Strisiver
Dr. David Bratt
Dr. Feroze Omardeen
Dr. Jhonny Siu Chong
Dr. Sharon Lackan
Dr. Nilash Ramnarine
Dr. Wayne Labastide
Dr. Charles de Matas
Bishop, Dr. Victor Gill
Dr. Michael McDowell
Pastor Lennox Grant
Mr. Michael Anisette
Mr. Christopher Joefield
Mr. Ricardo Goolcharan
Mrs. Vaneesa Mohammed
Mr. Edward Moodie
Mr. Umar Abdullah
Mr. Robert Amar
Mr. Ved Seereeram
Ms. Linda Louison
Mr. Robert Hosein
Mr. Ravi Ramdeen
Mr. Gary Aboud
Mr. Clarence Mendoza
Mr. Philip Franco
Mr. Sherwin Francis
Ms. Sharlene Maharaj
Mr. Dirk Thomas
Mr. Nicholas Jaikaran
Mr. Dorian Fredericks
The letter was sent to the Prime Minister and also to the following officials:
Mr. Terrence Deyalsingh, Minister of Health
Dr. Roshan Parasram, Chief Medical Officer
Mrs. Christine Kangaloo, President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
Mrs. Kamla Persad Bissessar, Leader of the Opposition
Mrs. Bridgid Annisette-George, Speaker of the House
Members of the House of Representatives
Mr. Nigel de Freitas, President of the Senate
Members of the Senate
Dr. Neil Adrian L. Singh, President of the Medical Board of Trinidad and Tobago
Mr. David Murphy, President Nursing Council of Trinidad and Tobago
Dr. Damion Basdeo, President Trinidad and Tobago Medical Association
Mr. Idi Stuart, President Trinidad and Tobago Registered Nurses Association
Dr. Ravindranath Narine, President (Ag.) Medical Professionals Association of Trinidad and Tobago
Mr. Andrew Rahaman, President of the Council of the Pharmacy Board of T&T
Ms. Junia Walcott, Ms. Alyson Pouchet, Mr. David Amoroso, Pharmaceutical Society of Trinidad and Tobago
Dr. Virendra Singh, President Paediatric Society of Trinidad and Tobago
Dr. Dharmendra Rohit, President Dental Board of Trinidad and Tobago
Mr. Charles JP Collier, President Trinidad and Tobago Association of Psychologists (TTAP)
Mr. Dion M. Abdool, Chairman Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute
Ms. Lynette Seebaran Suite, President Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago
Mr. Dawn Palackdharry Singh, President Tobago Lawyers Association
Prof. Terence Seemungal, Dean Faculty of Medical Sciences University of the West Indies, St. Augustine
The old system is crumbling, and we must build its replacement quickly.
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