Opposition Leader: Why is the PNM allowing Maduro to debar local journalists from covering news events?
The serious incident which occurred last week involving the Rowley regime debarring private media houses from covering the repatriation of Venezuelan nationals has rightfully been condemned by persons across the political divide.
However, the latest remarks by the Minister of Communications about this incident only raises more red flags.
According to the Government, this repatriation exercise was entirely the work of the Maduro regime and the Trinidad and Tobago Government had no say in the matter.
This is a shocking and damning admission that suggests the Rowley regime is simply a pawn of Maduro.
The migrant crisis in Trinidad and Tobago is a matter of national importance. It has attracted the attention of the United Nations as well as Human Rights organizations worldwide.
The repatriation of Venezuelans from Trinidad and Tobago is not akin to a private cocktail function in which the Venezuelan Embassy can choose who or not to invite.
Local media as well as citizens of Trinidad and Tobago have a right to be able to scrutinize this repatriation process and policy which is occurring on their home soil.
According to a report in the Miami Herald
entitled “As Venezuelans flee hunger Maduro tries to lure them home with free flights”, upon arriving back in Venezuela, migrants must then publicly condemn the country they are returning from on state-run media.
We must ask the question, ‘Were journalists banned from covering this repatriation exercise because the Rowley regime is conducting a joint propaganda campaign with Maduro?’
This single incident is troubling enough. But as the Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT) has stated, it is part of a pattern in recent weeks whereby the Rowley regime has banned independent media from covering important news events.
A free and independent media is the bedrock of our democracy. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago must be under the control of its own citizens, not foreign dictatorships. Every day the Rowley regime looks more similar to the Maduro regime.
If we do not defend our democracy, soon we won’t be able to tell either regime apart.
Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, MP
Leader of the Opposition