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T&T, British govt working out issues

Dookeran on claims of visa restrictions for citizens:

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran said yesterday it was not accurate to say the British government was on the cusp of imposing visa restrictions on Trinidad and Tobago citizens. 

The claim had been made by People’s National Movement (PNM) Senator Faris Al-Rawi in Parliament on Tuesday. However, he con­ceded there was a matter of contention between the British government and Trinidad and Tobago in the area of security. 

He said the governments were working out what were the requirements this country would have to adhere to “in order to satisfy the Bri­tish autho­rities that we do not pose a security risk in any way, form or fashion”.

“Today, at Cabinet, we agreed on a joint agreement between the British government and Trinidad and Tobago which would be signed very shortly, subject to the approval of the Attorney General, in order to deal with some of the issues placed on the agenda. 

“We have been discus­sing this for some time and we believe that we are well on the way to resolving all of the issues that have been raised,” Dookeran said. 

On the issue of the statement by Jamaat-al-Musli­meen leader Yasin Abu Bakr, Dookeran said the matter was not discussed at Cabinet. 

Dookeran, who was in the Red House when Jamaat insurgents stormed the Red House 24 years ago, said he had no comment on Bakr’s statement. 

“I think the report of (Com­mission of Enquiry into the attempted coup of) 1990 has been well ventilated and it reflects a moment in our history that we must learn from. In that respect, all citizens must adhere to the rule of law and must ensure that our democracy remains alive and well,” he said.

Asked whether the Congress of the People (COP)could have brought some influence to bear on the public squabble between Anil Roberts, a COP member, and

Gary Griffith, who had been associated with the COP, Dookeran said the question was better put to COP leader Prakash Ramadhar. 

“I don’t think it would be in the public interest for me to add to the squabble.

I believe the question should really be properly addressed to the current political leader of the Congress of the People,” he said.

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