Dr Rowley’s strategy of conveniently cherry picking the principle of non-intervention to justify our failed foreign policy on Venezuela is either hypocritical, or deliberately obfuscatory, or as with everything else with this administration – not well thought out. Or all three.
What bedrock principle of non -intervention as one commentator opined?
Even the Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs website makes a qualified reference to this policy as follows that:
‘non-interference in the internal affairs of other states, (is) qualified by acceptance of the responsibility of the international community to take collective action in cases of gross domestic violations of human rights or genocide.’
Even so our policy of non-interference has in practice always been circumscribed and nuanced.
From day one on joining the UN in 1962, we signed on to Article 25 of the UN Charter which mandates all Security Council Resolutions binding on Member States – including TT. No non-interference principle here.
But the worst case of cross country interference occurred just recently with FATCA when our Government facilitated US Government’s demands that we provide to them with financial information on US citizens here and ours doing business with that country.
AG Faris Al-Rawi said in Parliament: “listen, either you comply or you don’t, we are treating with the fact that there is a consequence for noncompliance.”
As we speak, a JSC is reviewing similar demands by the EU, the OECD, Global Forum, FATF and CFATF to provide financial information on request. Not a word on national sovereignty.
In an ever shrinking global village, serious nations understand that we must rethink the concept of non-interference in nation states. If Venezuela collapses as a result of US sanctions and 200,000 refugees or more end up on our doorsteps overwhelming our fragile institutions, how would the principle of non-intervention help?
When we advocated at the UN for Climate Change, notwithstanding the fact that we had the second highest per capita carbon footprint in the world, we were acknowledging that in an interconnected global village large countries were not free to pollute thereby destroying the planet and coastal areas in Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The point is that we have never uncompromisingly applied the non-interventionist principle. It has been intelligently nuanced to suit global circumstances and our national interest.
My second concern is with Dr. Rowley’s cherry picking of “principles”. Why does the “principle” of non-intervention, inadequately understood, take precedence over our constitutionally enshrined “principles” of democracy, adherence to the rule of law, the right to assemble and to hold free and fair elections?
UNC leader Kamla Persad Bissessar can equally say that her party’s approach to Venezuela rests on our constitutionally enshrined, democratic principles?
We have a lazy, intellectually challenged, and highly demotivated Foreign Ministry which fails to understand that policy is less about outmoded and poorly understood “principles” and more about the projection of our national interests globally.
Rowley has boxed T&T, and lately a divided CARICOM, into an irrelevant corner on Venezuela. Our views no longer matter, leaving us attempting
to storm a meeting in Uruguay and left out of another in Ottawa.
Dennis Moses has led us into a geo-political wilderness where we are faced only with bad options.
Of the bad options available, only that put forward by Mrs. Kamla Persad Bissessar makes sense. Her instincts and astuteness on Venezuela deserve admiration. I witnessed it at the UN when she bravely co-sponsored the UN Resolution on Terrorism.
Rowley took an opposing view then.
Time has proven that Mrs. Bissessar’s judgment correct.
Time will again prove her correct on this Venezuelan issue.