Did the Government move to shut down the debate on the Motion of No Confidence in the Minister of National Security in an attempt to prevent me, as Leader of the Opposition, from revealing that yet again, while thousands of our citizens continue to languish in turmoil abroad, Stuart Young swiftly granted exemptions to thirty-nine individuals, who are not nationals of this country or diplomats?
In moving the motion, I exposed the Minister’s previous exemptions for non-nationals to enter the country and bypass official quarantine measures.
As a concerned population we must ask, how many non-nationals has Stuart Young granted exemptions to while citizens who have toiled to build this nation have been blocked out? How many citizens who are holders of Trinidad and Tobago passports living abroad were granted exemptions to enter our borders for a vacation, while those wishing to return to their homes have been denied?
Information was received that on January 26th, 2021, the Ministry of National Security granted an exemption request from Blue Waters Ltd for 39 persons from Honduras to enter Trinidad and Tobago on January 28th. A request that appears to have been made eleven days prior, on January 15th.
It is insulting to the thousands of citizens of this country who have been stranded abroad, forced to beg and plead to return home, for non-nationals to be granted exemptions with haste.
Yesterday, the Government attempted to grasp at straws by saying non-nationals were being allowed to enter as they were Diplomats, however in this case, none of these individuals is a diplomat. Therefore, Minister Young must answer, why, yet again are foreigners being placed ahead of those who were born in this nation?
This PNM administration has repeatedly portrayed our stranded nationals as reckless, delinquent and even dishonest. They have belittled their persistent pleas. Nationals have spoken of being emotionally and mentally broken by the months locked out of their home country, abandoned by their Government with no savings or accommodation.
Since the closing of the borders, the Government’s exemption policy has been controversial and contentious. As a matter of fact, the Minister of National Security admitted that he breached his own program when he announced during the debate of No Confidence against him that someone who had not applied for an exemption was allowed to return home.
What other special considerations would he give at the request of large companies, friends and financers for non-nationals to enter? How is it that non-nationals have privileges over our own citizens?
The Government weakly attempted to defend Minister Young’s handling of the exemption process by claiming that there was no special treatment in the exemption process.
In my conclusion to the debate, I would have shown the nation once again that the members of this PNM administration are strangers to the truth.