According to media reports TT’s Ambassador walked out of an OAS meeting on April 23rd in Washington just before Gustavo Tarre, Venezuela’s Opposition Representative, called for help with his country’s “reconstruction”.
The Ambassador was joined by ambassadors from Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and St Kitts and Nevis.
If true, this represents a level of “dotishness” that is incomprehensible, undiplomatic and clearly inconsistent with our desire to serve as an honest broker in the Venezuelan crisis.
It is also flies in the face of Rowley’s vaunted non-interference policy.
You cannot pretend to be an honest broker (or support a strategy of non interference) when every action taken to date comes out heavily on the side of one party to the Venezuelan dispute.
TT had high level Ministerial representation at Maduro’s inauguration ceremony. Our country has signed on to energy arrangements for gas supplies from Dragon Field. TT has publicly rebuked the US Ambassador in an action that can be interpreted as underscoring our support for Maduro. TT has provided food to the Maduro regime. Rowley and his regime have repatriated some 80 Venezuelan asylum seekers in the face of international criticism. They have failed to develop a comprehensive refugee policy presumably because they do not want to acknowledge a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and embarrass their friend Maduro.
In January, Trinidad and Tobago abstained from the OAS resolution “to not recognize the legitimacy of Nicolas Maduro’s new term”. Compounding that decision was our abstention from last month’s resolution to provide “humanitarian assistance in Venezuela”.
Now by walking out on Guaido’s representative, this clueless Rowley led administration has sent an unambiguous message to the world that TT fully supports President Maduro.
A more nuanced diplomatic response might surely have been not to attend the meeting especially if we knew beforehand that Guaido’s representative would speak. Similarly we could have considered sending a low level diplomat, instead of a cabinet Minister, to Maduro’s inauguration.
This week’s snub has not gone unnoticed by major international newspapers including the Miami Herald and the News Tribune.
How in heaven’s name can this snub help us? Are we comfortable being on the same side as Russia, Nicaragua and Iran on this issue? How will this help our cause even as we seek to come off the EU and the OECD blacklists? Will this snub be factored into upcoming negotiations for continued non reciprocal duty free access of our goods into the US?
Rowley’s claims of non-interference rings hollow even as almost every action at the UN and elsewhere contradicts this principle.
Our call for the International Criminal Court. Our position on the Arms Trade Treaty and on Climate Change. Even our strident calls in the past for the international community to interfere in apartheid South Africa. Our recent legislation against Iran in support of UNSC resolution 2231. Our actions against global terrorism and money laundering. Our support for UN Charter on the rights of the child. Our signing on to the UN Charter which states that “UN Security Council Resolutions are binding on all Member States”.
All of these recognize that in an increasingly interconnected global village the actions of one country affect others. Nations cannot be totally free to support terrorism, money laundering, increase their carbon footprints, or commit crimes against humanity on their citizens.
Supporters who uncritically pay homage to the principle of non-interference operate out of a half a century old 1960s mindset unmindful of global realities – and that is not a hallmark of a Government that can take us into the future.
Once again, this clueless Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs has demonstrated its “dotishness”, its complete lack of diplomacy, its need of sophistication, and its inability to act in our best interest – economic and otherwise.
Minister Moses must account, point blank, for this most recent failure of his Ministry. He cannot blame others as he appeared to have done with the Dominica debacle at the same OAS.
Meanwhile the “dotishness” continues.