The recent statement by Foreign Affairs Minister, Dennis Moses, about T&T allegedly not being ‘bound to the Rio Treaty’ is of serious concern. It suggests the frightening, but very real possibility, that the Rowley Government has secretly withdrawn T&T from the very beneficial Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Treaty). If true, this can result in disastrous economic consequences for our nation.
Minister Moses made this declaration in the Senate on Tuesday, in response to a question from the Opposition.
It is part of the ongoing debacle concerning the highly questionable March 27, 2020 meeting that Prime Minister Rowley held with Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, and a team of PDVSA officials. They are all facing sanctions in the US, as well as drug related and money laundering charges.
US Ambassador Joseph Mondello had informed the Government that this meeting was in breach of the Rio Treaty. This can now result in the US imposing sanctions on T&T.
This Treaty, through Article 61, essentially
empowers member States to “consider problems of an urgent nature and of common interest to the American States” via a “Meeting of Consultation of Foreign Affairs Ministers”.
One such Meeting was held on September 23, 2019, to pass a Resolution calling for sanctions to be placed on Venezuelan officials linked to the Maduro Government.
T&T abstained from this vote, but the Resolution received an absolute majority of assenting votes—16 of the 19 OAS States. It is this abstention that Minister Moses is now using to back up his odd claim.
His premise, though, is simply wrong, since Article 20 of the Rio Treaty states that decisions of such Meetings are binding on all signatory States. Therefore, though T&T abstained, the Resolution was still passed and we’re now duty bound to abide by it. However, according to the Treaty’s terms (Article 25), the only way Minister Moses can validly claim T&T is not bound to it is if we have expressly denounced this Resolution in writing.
This is a very strong possibility. After all, Minister Moses is representing the Rowley Government in this matter. They have blatantly engaged in nefarious lies, cover ups and possible illegality to hide its very questionable actions in this entire ‘Fuelgate’ fiasco.
He has further boldly made this claim in no less than the sacrosanct halls of the Parliament. This now begs the question—what then, truly empowers Minister Moses to confidently tout something so reckless and otherwise easily debunked? Is it that he knows for a fact that T&T has secretly denounced this Treaty in writing, or worse, withdrawn entirely from it?
If so, then once more, the dangerous actions of the Rowley Government can essentially put T&T at serious risk for sanctions by the United States. This would be devastating, especially since we are desperately trying to survive one of the worst global and domestic economic crises in recent years.
The United States has always been our greatest, most valuable and beneficial trade and national security global ally. They are so significant to our economic well-being that our very ability to feed our people right now is dependent on the US, since 70 per cent of our food imports come from them
Minister Moses’ claims must now be comprehensively explained, but not by him. His actions in this entire debacle are clearly not of his own doing, for it is hard to imagine that he is anything in the Cabinet other than a strange puppet, whose strings are duly pulled by his boss.
It is in fact PM Rowley who must now thoroughly, transparently and truthfully account for his Government’s reckless behaviour in this never-ending fiasco.
He must come out of hiding at once, and tell the public what is really going on with T&T and the Rio Treaty. Then, for his utter and ongoing failure to protect and serve the interest of T&T’s citizens, PM Rowley must promptly resign and call the elections now.