The Prime Minister said earlier this week at the Prince Albert Street Meeting that “T&T diplomacy is solid, deep and strong because it is a PNM government.”
Clearly Dr Rowley is devoid from reality. The ceaseless barrage of cases in which T&T has been given a negative image on the international platform is testament, to any sensible onlooker, that T&T’s foreign policy, or lack thereof, under the PNM is nothing short of an absolute failure.
On numerous occasions, through his pavement diplomacy, Dr Rowley has chastised and insulted diplomatic officials from many of our key trading partners.
Recent scolding of US officials are possibly the reason why the US is now using Jamaica as a major transshipment point for the CARICOM energy market.
Regional news reports indicate that Petrojam Limited, of Jamaica, is now supplying the Barbados National Terminal Company Ltd with oil following the closure of Petrotrin. And that the “BNTCL chairman, Alex McDonald said the deal is far more competitive than the previous with Petrotrin.”
Furthermore, according to reports Trinidad and Tobago on a per capita basis was among the world’s top suppliers of terrorists fighting alongside the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. It was also said that more than 100 citizens are believed to have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS and “are likely to pose a security threat on return.” Under this Rowley administration, unlike most developed countries, TT has no policy in place to repatriate wives and children languishing in Iraqi prisons.
This PNM Government has failed to mount effective responses to the plethora of international travel bulletins warning visitors about our high crime rates. Multiple travel advisories warn potential tourists that: “Shootings, kidnappings and other gang and drug related violence occur,” and that “there is a risk of you being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Their foreign policy inadequacies are made manifest daily. Foreign policy ought to be an extension on the global arena of our domestic realities and circumstances.
Is this the image we want in the international arena?
In the United States Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report 2019, Trinidad and Tobago is remains ranked at Tier 2. The report stated that T&T has not fully met the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.
Following the brief two week Venezuelan registration process, we are faced with an unknown number of Venezuelans who did not register and are living and working under the radar.
This registration policy is just another example of poor planning. There were so many unanswered questions concerning the process. The UNC has called from day one for a well thought out refugee policy that is humane and based on best practices.
In May, a man known as “El Culon,” who recently assumed leadership of the Evander gang, was one of eight Venezuelans in a group of nine people detained in a police exercise in Point Fortin. It was said that “El Culon,” along with the Trinidadian, are considered masterminds in a string of kidnappings, drug trafficking, gun running and human trafficking cases.
Experts have warned of an epidemic of diseases such as malaria and dengue on an unprecedented scale in Latin America. It has been reported that Venezuelan migrants are bringing more cases of malaria into the countries they flee to.
Time and time again this Government proves unable to increase the standard of TT’s international business footprint. It was reported that the insufficient policy from this inept PNM administration is among the factors responsible for Moody’s Investors Service downgrade of TT in response to the decline of the energy sector.
The latest in the string of the PNM’s incompetence is that after four years of not attending UN General Assembly meetings, the Prime Minister has now seen it fit to express an interest in attending this year’s meeting to highlight T&T’s issues.
Their entire approach has simply been “too little too late.”
TT deserves a Government that does not portray its mediocrity as a triumph.
MP for Naparima