A report in today’s Guardian notes the US State Department is suggesting that Trinidad and Tobago withdraws from the Rio Treaty.
This after Foreign Affairs Minister Dennis Moses last week claimed that this country is not bound by it. This apparent escalation of ongoing tensions between the Rowley Government and United States is a cause for tremendous national alarm.
It constitutes a direct, highly unnecessary act of provocation against our greatest, most beneficial global ally—the US, to the detriment of T&T’s citizens.
It is also the latest development in the ongoing, highly questionable ‘Fuelgate’ fiasco, where PM Rowley and National Security Minister Stuart Young and Minister Moses met with Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez on March 27, 2020.
She was accompanied by a team of PDVSA energy officials. All are facing sanctions, and drug and money laundering charges in the US.
It was this shady meeting that breached the Rio Treaty and opened up T&T for US sanctions.
Both PM Rowley and Minister Young later incredulously claimed that they did not know who was in this meeting, in their efforts to cover up apparent wrongdoing.
Minister Young also lied about a conversation he had with US Ambassador Joseph Mondello on the matter, prompting the latter to publicly clear the air
Minister Moses then defiantly and very wrongly claimed that T&T was not bound by this 73 year old Treaty.
Now, according to the Guardian report, the US State Department has expressed concern about his statement and reiterated that:
“Trinidad flouted this decision by allowing (Delcy) Rodriguez into the country. If T&T does not want to abide by treaty terms, maybe it should withdraw.”
Notably, PM Rowley last week said that this Treaty is believed to be ‘outdated’ and his Government disagrees with the US’s interpretation of the Treaty regarding Venezuela.
He also bafflingly claimed that this stance was in T&T’s best interest.
Nothing could be further from the truth. PM Rowley’s stance is rather, a clear violation of T&T’s historic, neutral and diplomatic stance in all regional and hemispheric bilateral disagreements.
He’s actually now clearly dangerously siding with one party in the current dispute between Venezuela and the United States. And the question is—why?
After all, the United States has always been our greatest, most valuable and beneficial trade and national security global ally. As a global superpower, they have also always treated T&T in a very fair, humane manner.
They are so significant to our economic well-being that our very ability to feed our people right now is dependent on the US, since 70 per cent of our food imports come from them.
Why then, would PM Rowley choose to side with Venezuela in this dispute? What does he personally have to gain?
It is noteworthy that T&T will also lose our very valuable allies in the OAS if we withdraw from the Rio Treaty.
In the event of any act of aggression or social upheaval that threatens this region, we would then be without the automatic security aid of these powerful military nations.This simply cannot happen.
The Rowley Government has so far plunged the unwitting citizens of T&T into this dangerous imbroglio without our knowledge, consent or even awareness of the full extent of the damaging economic consequences it can have on us as a nation and individuals.
This is wrong, undemocratic and a possible abuse of office. Given that T&T is now mere months away from General Elections, PM Rowley has no further moral mandate from the citizens to behave in this dangerous, indecorous manner on our behalf.
He must therefore immediately cease and desist from taking any further secret, destructive decisions regarding T&T’s foreign and economic policy.
He must also stop provoking the United States and keep T&T’s membership in Rio Treaty.
He must further ensure that his Government abides by the all of its decisions henceforth, and does not violate it again.
Indeed, the Rowley Government is truly a destructive, clear and present danger to the people of T&T. It’s time for him to resign, and call the elections now.