Friday, December 15, 2017

PM: T&T ready to assist in Venezuela


STATE VISIT: Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, left, is escorted by her Chinese aide upon her arrival at the Beijing Capital International Airport yesterday. The PM in on an official visit to China. —Photo courtesy The Office of the Prime Minister

Mark Fraser

 PRIME Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said yesterday this country stands ready to assist in neighbouring Venezuela, where a student protest has exploded into full-blown civil unrest that has left several nationals of that country dead.

Speaking to local reporters in Beijing yesterday, where she is currently on a State visit, Persad-Bissessar said her Government has not been made aware of any deaths of locals in the riots and deferred to Foreign Affairs Minister, Winston Dookeran, who is also in Beijing.

Dookeran reiterated statements at the weekend by other Government officials that the national airline, Caribbean Airlines, has been placed on alert in the event that citizens in Venezuelans have to be evacuated.

Contacted yesterday for an update, CAL’s head of Corporate Communications, Clint Williams said, “Naturally,  CAL supports any initiative that seeks the interest of our nationals anywhere in the world and we will respond when called upon, as we always have.” See Page 23.

Persad-Bissessar and a local delegation that includes several self-funded private businesses, arrived in Beijing yesterday morning for a week-long visit. 

The Prime Minister yesterday attended several bilateral meetings with President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, and other dignitaries.

Asked her thoughts on a NACTA poll that this weekend showed that her popularity rating with the local populations had dropped, though she remained one point ahead of Opposition leader, Dr Keith Rowley, Persad-Bissessar said:

“I am heartened to know that I am one point ahead.”

Persad-Bissessar said polls are a “snapshot” of the present and her Government will continue with its work.

According to a release from the Office of the Prime Minister yesterday, Persad-Bissessar and the local delegation in China were greeted with the utmost courtesy and pomp, with the PM’s 20-car convoy being led to the Diaoyutai State Guest House, which is  25 miles away from the Beijing Capital International Airport, through a path completely cleared by police.

An official Chinese spokesman for the visit disclosed to the PM’s group that close to 1,000 police officers were used for the exercise.