Naparima MP Rodney Charles is demanding that this PNM administration adopt a more humanitarian approach, and fulfill its consular responsibilities, especially when dealing with TT children abroad who were forced to go to Syria by their parent/s.
Once again T&T has been highlighted in global news, and by a well-known international celebrity, concerning the apparent lackluster and nonchalant behaviour of this Government towards assisting innocent TT children forcibly taken to Syria.
For the past few weeks the plight of two boys, ages 11 and 7, has been highlighted in the media. It took an outsider, Mr Roger Waters of the band Pink Floyd, to reunite these children with their mother. Why didn’t this incompetent PNM see it as its responsibility to lead the repatriation effort? Mr Waters is reported to have written the TT Government pleading for aid in obtaining the necessary documents for our citizens to return to T&T.
“As expected, we have heard nothing but silence from our incompetent Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs,” says MP Charles.
We note last August and late in the day a Nightingale Team was established within the Ministry of National Security to deal with the reintegration of citizens upon their return. However, this team does not include the Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs and as such, there is no mention of a plan or policy to help citizens abroad who are in distress.
It is a disturbing pattern with this administration where our citizens abroad cannot depend on their Government to provide the necessary support.
The Government has no excuse for turning a blind eye to these children regardless of the level of enthusiasm expressed by their mother. It is an essential part of its responsibility through its missions to help citizens abroad who need assistance. The Government may well say that it will not help citizens abroad who joined ISIS. However it is a horse of a different color when it comes to innocent children who, through no fault of their own, found themselves abroad in difficult circumstances in Iraq and Syria.
Why are we spending over $260 million for fiscal 2019 for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs? For decoration? The time has come to decide on a policy to repatriate citizens who have gone to Syria and witnessed the untold horrors there. You cannot simply abandon your citizens, especially dependent families of ISIS fighters, and deem them someone else’s problem.
We are either a first world country or a third world banana republic. The Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs must decide how it will present our country to global onlookers.
MP for Naparima.