It is with tremendous alarm that I am once more compelled to comment on the latest, very disturbing developments in the ongoing ‘Fuelgate’ fiasco.
What began as mere questions as to whether T&T had violated US sanctions against Venezuela via the sale of a Paria gas fuel shipment to Aruba has now turned into a de facto horror story for the citizens of our country.
It is one of possible blatant, dangerous and deliberate deceit propagated against T&T’s citizens and our long cherished independent public sector institutions, by none other than our very own National Security Minister, Stuart Young. This as media reports today cast serious doubt as to his integrity in public office.
They reveal some very disturbing facts surrounding his alleged role in the questionable March 27, 2020, meeting on T&T’s shores between Prime Minister Rowley and Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez.
VP Rodriguez was accompanied by a delegation of PDVSA energy officials, who are all under US sanctions. So too is the PDVSA aircraft that brought them into T&T.
Minister Young and Foreign Affairs Minister Dennis Moses also accompanied PM Rowley to this meeting, which he claimed were to discuss Covid and not the controversial Paria gas fuel shipment.
Last week, however, after I revealed the passenger manifest showing the details of the energy attendees, instead of health officials, PM Rowley then incredulously claimed that:
– He was never introduced to the PDVSA delegation
– He was unaware that the meeting was in violation of the Inter American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Treaty)
– This breach could invite US sanctions on T&T
– He was unaware of US sanctions against the PDVSA aircraft
– T&T was now at risk of similar sanctions for its breach
On Monday, Minister Young, who had sole and direct responsibility for allowing our closed borders to be opened for this meeting, claimed:
– He did not know who the members of Rodriguez’ delegation were, and on what plane they arrived
– There is no record of what was discussed at this meeting since no minutes or photographs were taken
– There was no pre-set agenda
– He was unaware of what aircraft was being used
– The US Ambassador had not informed him of the Rio Treaty breach
Today’s newspaper reports are, however, categorically debunking Minister Young’s claims, stating:
– The US Embassy has confirmed that the Rowley Government indeed violated the 73-year-old Rio Treaty when Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez landed in the country
– In an exemption letter dated March 26, 2020, acting permanent secretary in the National Security Ministry, Gary Joseph, wrote to Chief Immigration Officer Charmaine Gandhi-Andrews about this meeting
– The letter indicates that National Security Minister Stuart Young had granted Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez and other named persons permission to enter T&T
– It clearly states the names of the delegation and aircraft along with its registration number and all other relevant flight details
So far, Minister Young has not denied the letter’s authenticity His actions, therefore, if true, could be seen as tantamount to a dangerous, calculated plot to blatantly deceive the people of T&T, our international allies and indeed, his own boss, PM Rowley. Further, they possibly amount to a very serious violation of his Oath of Office and the rule of law.
This since they can potentially dangerously compromise our treasured national security apparatus.
They can also seriously undermine the independence, credibility and integrity of the very senior Public Servants involved in arranging this controversial meeting. This is unacceptable and untenable.
Minister Young must now take all possible steps to prevent T&T and its citizens from suffering, in the wake of the ongoing US investigation, from his dangerous, questionable abuse of power.
He must immediately give a public explanation of his inconsistent, and indeed, apparent outright deceitful behaviour in this entire fiasco.
Then, he must promptly resign, or be fired.
Stay safe and God bless.