Stung by local and regional outrage against his intemperate and undiplomatic remarks this week in parliament, Dr Rowley once again attempts to mask his incompetence, appalling lack of diplomatic skills, and inability to hold his own on the global stage by once again diverting attention to a non-issue involving Marine Le Penn.
Dr Rowley clearly holds the view that diplomacy involves speaking only to friends, family, financiers and sanctioned individuals like Venezuela’s Delcy Rodriguez while treating others like Le Pen with whom he disagrees with Balisier disdain.
What is particularly egregious is the fact that his meeting with Delcy may have placed our entire economy at risk of being sanctioned.
Dr Rowley also met recently with the President of Iran. By legal Notice 44 of 2019 TT placed certain trade restrictions on the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Yet he has issues with 18 UN ambassadors, including myself, meeting years ago with Le Pen. Among those present at the meeting was Camilio Gonsalves, then ambassador of St Vincent and the Grenadines to the UN and now Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Information technology of that country.
At the time I was TTs UN Ambassador.
Dr Rowley therefore continues to mislead the country and slander my good name by repeating a total falsehood that I was the only UN ambassador present.
Ms Le Pen was an elected member of the European Parliament and head of a right-wing party in France and a world leader who needed to be challenged to explain her perspective on immigration, Islamophobia and extreme nationalism once the opportunity arose.
Clearly Dr Rowley does not understand that global diplomacy requires interaction with and listening to the views of individuals with whom you may even disagree.
Dr Rowley must also remember that he is PM of TT, and not a bartender in a rum shop. What happens in the unlikely, yet not entirely inconceivable, event that Le Pen becomes President of France in the next elections carded for later this year?
When the TT Ambassador presents his credentials to the French President in the event she is elected, she will have on her desk the many unfortunate, unnecessary and unkind comments made against her by Keith Cristopher Rowley in his capacity as PM of TT.
Dr Rowley needs to be cautioned to be more circumspect and temperate in his utterances in and out of parliament.
His statement today is yet another example of how a PM of TT should not behave.
The Hon Rodney Charles
Member of Parliament, Naparima
(Former Trinidad and Tobago Ambassador to the United Nations)