by Jai Parasram
Keith Rowley has once again demonstrated his lack of leadership and ignorance of international affairs with his statement against the decision by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to co-sponsor a UN resolution against international terrorism.
The resolution, which US President Barack Obama presented to the Security Council, compels UN member states to stop their citizens leaving their homelands to join ISIS (The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria also known as ISL) and other militant groups based in the Middle East and block them from returning to threaten their native countries using passports already granted.
The PM told the Security Council: “As a firm believer in the ability of the United Nations to contribute to the resolution of international problems such as terrorism, Trinidad and Tobago has studied the text of the resolution (S/2014/688) and finds that despite some imperfections, the resolution provides a useful platform for the launch of greater international cooperation in the battle against terrorism.”
While Mrs. Persad-Bissessar was telling the world that Trinidad & Tobago is against terror and assuring global leaders that our tiny nation state was against this kind of barbaric conduct and earning respect for herself as a leader and for our importance in global affairs, Dr. Rowley was at home showing his usual pettiness and lack of leadership.
In his quest for power for himself and his policy of opposing everything the government does, he missed the point of the leadership Mrs. Persad-Bissessar was showing the world and undressed himself; he showed that he was opposed not only to the policies of the Trinidad and Tobago government but also to President Obama’s – and America’s – stand against global terrorism.
According to a local media report in Trinidad and Tobago Dr. Rowley “lambasted” Mrs. Persad-Bissessar for Trinidad and Tobago’s co-sponsorship of the United Nations Security Council resolution on the fight against terrorism saying it was best for TT to have passed up on the occasion. The report quoted the PNM Leader as saying that Trinidad and Tobago cannot afford to declare war on terrorists “at a time when you can stay away.” In effect this “leader” was telling us that when under attack from terrorists the best strategy is to run away and hide.
More than 90 countries in the world supported the resolution, which passed unanimously at the Security Council. But the man who wants to lead Trinidad and Tobago said no – it was the wrong thing to do because we could have just skirted around the issue and walk away.
Surprisingly in his hour-long address to party members Dr. Rowley didn’t mention the terror that took place on our doorstep last week but was quick to condemn the PM’s sensible, strategic and logical stand at the UN.
Dr. Rowley’s suggestion that T&T should be afraid of ISIS and other terror organisations is the same attitude displayed by his colleague, Colm Imbert, during the State of Emergency in 2011 when Imbert stated that attacking gangs and arresting their members would lead the criminals to return with a vengeance. It was a position consistent with the PNM policy of entertaining criminals and rewarding them with lucrative state contracts instead of putting them out of business.
Dr. Rowley’s opposition to the ISIS resolution shows he doesn’t understand what it is to lead. He fails to understand that international terrorism affects everyone in this age of globalism and the way to avoid being a target is to confront the enemy. But Dr. Rowley prefers to be hypocritical and pander to the terrorists out of fear that they might hit back.
While he claimed that his position is to put Trinidad and Tobago’s safety and security first he was in fact doing the opposite by condemning the PM for her brave and statesmanlike stand in defence of T&T and the world community against international terror.
While she was doing this Dr. Rowley condemned T&T to face terror and left one to wonder what his true motivation is. Does he truly care about T&T’s safety?
What happened in the Security Council last week was that a true leader of a small island state stood up with the world and said ‘we will fight terror – together’. And while she was showing leadership on the world stage Dr. Rowley was saying it’s better to leave the terrorists alone because it is not our problem and we must be careful they don’t attack us.
Former Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Surujrattan Rambachan summarised the issue best in this statement he made on Sunday when he formally opened a bridge in central Trinidad: “I think what you are seeing is an opposition leader who does not have any vision, who does not understand global politics, who does not understand what is happening in the international environment and at every turn he is showing that he lacks competence to be a leader in this country.”
Courtesy: DURHAM CITIZEN NEWSPAPER, AJAX, ONTARIO, CANADA