The Dr Keith Rowley administration willful and reckless actions have endangered Trinidad and Tobago’s foreign and diplomatic relations with key allies. The latest revelation by the US Embassy confirmed that Trinidad and Tobago violated the Rio Treaty by allowing Venezuelan vice president Delcy Rodriguez into our borders in March.
The government has been caught lying to the people of Trinidad and Tobago about the details of this meeting, feigning ignorance and flip-flopping on their story. They have also deliberately sought to derail legitimate queries into the reasons they have put our country at risk by using insidious and inaccurate words, like “treason” and “traitor”.
The US Embassy confirmed that Delcy Rodriguez is subject to travel sanctions that are binding on all Rio Treaty parties. Trinidad and Tobago is a party to the treaty, therefore, the Rowley administration’s actions on March 27, 2020, to grant an exemption for Rodriguez not only to land in Trinidad but to also facilitate a meeting with the prime minister and senior members of the Cabinet, is a gross violation of our international obligations.
The Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance commonly known as the Rio Treaty is an agreement signed in 1947, the central principle contained in its articles is that an attack against one is to be considered an attack against them all; this was known as the “hemispheric defense” doctrine. The actions of this government put Trinidad and Tobago in danger of losing these protections.
The government must be aware that despite their routine defense that the UN recognizes the Maduro regime, this does not override any treaty that we have with our international allies or negates any actions which violate these treaties.
The flagrant attempt to cover up this visit by the Venezuelan vice president has led the prime minister and minister of national security to become tangled in their web of lies. They have changed their story every day since the revelation was made by opposition leader Kamla Persad Bissessar last Friday.
The first excuse was pathetic in that they just did not know who was in the room, this could not be true because Minister Young himself had to grant authorization for Delcy Rodriguez and her delegation to enter Trinidad and Tobago. Their second excuse of the responsibility of knowing whether aircraft are sanctioned or not is under Civil Aviation was rubbished by the Civil Aviation Authority’s director-general Francis Regis who stated that this was solely the responsibility of the ministry of national security.
In their desperation to cover up the reckless actions they sought to introduce a red herring, however, we reiterate that no one in the United National Congress (UNC) ever called or will ever call for sanctions on the people of Trinidad and Tobago. We are calling on the Dr Rowley administration to separate the citizens of this country from their shady deals.
What should be clear to the people of Trinidad and Tobago is that Dr Rowley and Stuart Young have endangered the diplomatic relations of our country by facilitating a meeting with the sanctioned Rodriguez. They have yet to come clean on why the meeting was so essential that it had to be accommodated one day after the Maduro regime was indicted by the US Department of Justice on narco-terrorism, drug trafficking, and money laundering.
The actions of the government do not reflect their “non-interventionist” claim but rather they have aligned Trinidad and Tobago against our strongest hemispheric allies, and the people of Trinidad and Tobago need to know why.