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Chairman of the National Ebola Pre-
vention Information and Response Team,
Vice Chief of Defence Staff Brigadier Gen-
eral Anthony Phillips-Spencer, says the
Carnival 2015 will go on despite the global
concerns over the spread of the Ebola
He made the comment yesterday at a
news conference at the Queen's Park Savan-
nah, Port-of-Spain, following a meeting
with various stakeholder groups on how
the Ebola threat would affect the annual
Among those who attended the meeting
were representatives from Trinbago Unified
calypsonians Organisation (Tuco), mas
bands, Carnival fete promoters, mayors and
chairmen of borough and regional corpo-
rations, permanent secretaries, business and
private sector, members of civil society, ven-
dors, media representatives and academics.
Phillips-Spencer said they made that
decision because the Ebola risk in T&T was
very low although he admitted it was a sit-
uation which would be continually reviewed.
National Carnival Commission (NCC)
chair Allyson Demas said: "As far as the
NCC is concerned we are proceeding with
our plans for Carnival 2015."
Carnival is set for February 16 and 17 next
National Security Minister Gary Griffith
said citizens must discontinue attempts to
link Carnival with Ebola and insisted the
show was on.
"If we think that we are half pregnant
and wondering whether there is going to
be Carnival or not, we are going to cripple
Carnival even before it starts because this
is a period that is very critical for the peri-
od... the planning, the preparations, the
bookings... and because of that we need to
be very careful," Griffith said.
He said there would be a continuous
review of the situation on a daily basis by
a team of officials from the Health and
National Security Ministries.
Griffith said any decision to stage the
festival "should not be based on economics,
emotion, fear or panic but on informed
He said the possible threat was not based
on an accumulation of people in one specific
area, as was the case at Carnival time, but
the possibility of the virus' infiltration into
The minister admitted, however, that if
there were to be any incidents of Ebola in
T&T, citizens' freedoms could be curtailed.
"We might very well have a state of emer-
gency, where persons cannot go out on the
streets on a Friday evening," he said, adding
that he was trying to take away the focus
by citizens of linking the national cultural
extravaganza with Ebola.
"There is no reason at this time to pull
the plug on Carnival," Griffith insisted.
The journalist who broke the story which
alleges that former Australian Olympic athlete
now senator Nova Peris had an affair with T&T
Olympic sprinter Ato Boldon is standing by his
story and promising more exposes on the mat-
ter.Northern Territory (NT) News political reporter
Christopher Walsh made the promise yesterday in
the wake of denials of wrongdoing by Boldon and
Peris and threats by them to sue his media house
over the article which was published on Tuesday.
Speaking about the story, which was covered
widely in the Australian and British press yesterday,
Walsh said the e-mails were obtained from a credible
source and readers would be able to "decide for
themselves" on their legitimacy.
"You can expect more to come, a long inves-
tigation that took a couple of months here and
there is still a lot more to come out," he said in
reference to questions by Boldon and Peris about
the legitimacy of the leaked e-mails on which he
based his story. His claims came even as NT News
reported that Peris stayed out of the public eye
yesterday by not going to parliament, amid alle-
gations she tried to use taxpayers' money to fund
a trip and athletic camp in 2010 which featured
Boldon in Australia in order to facilitate their affair.
NT News also published a statement attributed
to Boldon, in which he said the article seemed to
be a deliberate attempt to attack his friend of almost
"Nova is a senator and this is an attempt to
smear her, no such relationship ever existed," Boldon
said in a statement.
Ebola team: No reason
to abort Carnival 2015
SanFest at the
Brigadier Phillips-Spencer said the
team has developed an anti-Ebola
strategy which included prevention and
information components. Confirming
that the country's Ebola risk status was
low, he noted there was not one case in
this country yet.
"This team has found no reason to
advise the Cabinet or to make any
recommendation that any major event
should be discontinued. The risk level is
insufficient to warrant any such
recommendation," Phillips-Spencer said.
He said measures to prevent an Ebola
incident in T&T were being "developed
aggressively and intensively because
we do not want to wait until there is an
incident to begin to get ready."
He said the recently-appointed team
had crafted the overall campaign for
the response, information and
prevention, and was looking at and
costing specific measures which they
would take back to Cabinet for specific
Meetings have already been held with
the T&T Chamber of Industry and
Commerce and civil organisations, he
He said more intense requirements
were being requested from people
entering the country via the sea ports
"We want it to be so airtight that if
there are any risk presented at our
borders we can easily identify and
contain that risk," Phillips-Spencer told
BRIG: RISK LEVEL LOW
Boldon sex scandal:
to expose more
WHO REP LIKES INITIATIVE
T&T's PAHO/WHO representative, Dr
Bernadette Theodore-Gandi, said the country's
low risk was because "we are far away from
the affected nations... we are not a direct flight
path of those countries."
She said people coming from the Ebola-
stricken countries of West Africa have to go
through an intermediary country. However, she
said, Ebola screening procedures have been put
into operation in T&T and commended the
Government for establishing the Phillips-
Theodore-Gandi said public infrastructure in
T&T "is better than what exists in affected
countries" but the risk assessment would be
reviewed if there was an Ebola case and a
spread of the virus.
Theodore-Gandi admitted there was no cure
for Ebola but said it was not necessarily a
"Once cases are identified early and you have
intensive supportive therapy given to that
patient the chances of survival are significantly
increased," she said.
She said Ebola vaccines were being
developed and they were scheduled to be
distributed to affected countries by next
January. She said the WHO did not advise that
travel restrictions be imposed but countries
were free to do so if they wished.
Bandleader Mike Antoine had earlier
addressed the meeting, saying he could not
understand why there was even a suggestion
of cancelling Carnival due to Ebola.
"Why Ebola must be used to target the
biggest money-making event in this country?"
he asked, adding he would still be leaving the
meeting without knowing if there will be
Carnival next year.
Soca singer Neil "Iwer" George, meanwhile,
told the meeting there was no representative
from the Catholic Church and that should not
be "because Carnival was really a Catholic
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