Trinidad and Tobago is unlikely to be adversely affected in its bilateral relations with Canada because of statements made by Opposition MP Colm Imbert against Canadian High Commissioner Gerard Latulippe, political analyst Dr Winford James said yesterday.
“Had they come from the government, then the fear of a backlash would have been greater if the fear was justified in the first place because governments are very hard-headed when they are negotiating. The claims have not been made by any government minister; they are being made by a member of the Opposition. I don’t know that the statements as “reckless” as (the government may have said they were) could harm the relationship between these two countries, because this is a relationship between governments— as in the executive of the country—Cabinet and Canada,” James told the Express in a telephone interview.
He said the response from the government to condemn statements such as those made by Imbert is “traditional, almost predictable”.
“What is happening, and perhaps quite rightly so, is (Communications Minister Gerald Hadeed) is trying to quell whatever fears might be starting to form on the Canadian side. He is probably right as a government officer to condemn attacks of whatever nature they might be against (Latulippe). Had he not had not said that people would have wondered, but he has come out and condemned it to save the day regarding whatever fear that might have arisen or whatever punitive development that might have occurred on the Canadian side,” James said.
Regarding Canada, James said governments “understand these things”.
“They understand the opposition will seek mileage from apparent abuses of power and privilege—what (Imbert) is charging and then actually implying that the government should not have gone into these arrangements in the first place. The thing is how can we be harmed? We can be harmed if they pull out their High Commissioner or send back ours. But those things aren’t going to happen because even though (Latulippe) pronounces that he is offended, governments understand that Opposition politicians will make these statements. Now if these statements had come from the government side that would have been worse,” James said.