Monday, February 19, 2018

T&T becoming ‘pariah state’

If, as the Trinidad and Tobago Government suggests, the US authorities are snubbing it in its attempt to get information on whether National Security Minister Jack Warner is the subject of an investigation in that country, then it points to the fact that this country has reached an all-time low in its relations with that country.

This is the view of Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley.

“The very fact that the Government could be very glibly reporting to us that they have not been in receipt of any information from the US authorities to clarify for the Prime Minister whether or not a minister of government is the subject of this US investigation, should tell the people of Trinidad and Tobago how far we have fallen in our relations with the US government,” Rowley said at a news conference yesterday.

Rowley said he anticipated more unpleasant actions vis-a-vis the US government.

“I am sure it is clear to the US as it is to us that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago led by the Prime Minister is more concerned about protecting the Minister of National Security than (it is concerned) about the protection of the interest of Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.

“And once the US government comes to that conclusion, they have a variety of ways of dealing with rogue countries that put themselves in pariah status. And what this UNC (United National Congress) Government led by Kamla Persad-Bissessar is doing is moving Trinidad and Tobago into the status of pariah states with the US government, where, as we fail to cooperate with extradition, as we speak untruths both locally and abroad, as we protect persons who have questions to answer, as we elevate them in our national security system, as we promote them to high office in the Cabinet, as we protect them from the media, we may very well find other unpleasant actions coming from the US which would have serious negative effects on the population of Trinidad and Tobago,” Rowley stated.

He said the giving of information on whether someone is the subject of an investigation in no way prejudices the court proceedings of that investigation if it proceeds to the court.

Rowley said the US would not share sensitive data with a country whose national security minister is the subject of an investigation in that country.

He said every time Warner’s name is mentioned in unsavoury matters overseas, it is done in the context of his presence in the Government as National Security Minister. “On that basis alone, he should be removed. The Prime Minister has a duty to protect the good name of the country, protect our best interests,” he said.