Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley owes the people of Trinidad and Tobago, the people of Dominica and the people of the entire Caricom region a full and unqualified apology for this country’s shameful refusal to support the request of hurricane-stricken Dominica for a fee waiver at the Organisation of American States (OAS) last Friday.

What could have possessed this country to stand against a sister Caricom country at the hemispheric forum is simply unfathomable. Every country, including those that are not members of Caricom, supported Dominica’s request for a special waiver of its OAS fee, reportedly in the range of US$15,000 to US$20,000. When it came to T&T’s turn to state its position, a visibly uncomfortable OAS representative, Anthony Phillips-Spencer, mumbled the position that Dominica should instead defer the payment with the submission of a payment plan.

So flabbergasted was Dominica’s Interim Representative, Judith Ann Rolle, that she could hardly find the words to respond and settled for seeking clarification.

A more embarrassing howler in the world of diplomacy cannot be imagined. The fact that T&T would not back a sister Caricom nation in seeking financial relief on humanitarian grounds at a hemispheric forum is illogical in the extreme. Still it is hardly surprising given this country’s cowardly and equally illogical abstention at last December’s United Nations’ vote condemning the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

These high profile diplomatic blunders support the view that T&T’s foreign policy is in tatters. The country has lost its foreign policy moorings and no longer operates on the basis of any consistent principle of international relations.

This newspaper will not feign surprise. Early in his tenure, it was evident that the Prime Minister’s choice for the Foreign Affairs Ministry was out of his league and the wrong fit for the job. If he has made any mark at all, it is as a laughing stock in the Parliament where he is regularly goaded by the Opposition who are royally entertained by his manner of speech.

Get caught up with news from the news leader
Subscribe now and get access to the Trinidad Express E-paper

Whatever his international relations experience on paper, Dennis Moses has failed to distinguish himself at the level of high policy.

In all of this, the question to be asked is where is the Prime Minister? As a Cabinet member, Mr Moses is acting on behalf of the Government and we must therefore assume that the positions carried by our representatives at the UN and the OAS were both in line with government policy. If Mr Moses is acting contrary to government policy, the easy solution would be to fire him. If he is not, then Trinidad and Tobago has a much bigger problem of a government that has either lost its way in the world of international affairs or gone rogue on past policy.

In characteristic style, Dr Rowley may think he can ignore these concerns and plough on with protecting his failed cabinet appointee, but that will do nothing to remove the stains that now tarnish this country’s reputation the world over.

It is a shame that will be very hard to live down. Dominica, we are sorry.


IN poll after poll, year after year, Jamaicans are wont to name crime as the country’s number one problem, which is astounding, given that poverty is such a pernicious element of life here and should easily occupy that dubious distinction.

ASK any politician to choose between making a policy decision that is for the long-term good of the country and one that will get him or her elected next time around and you arrive at the raison detre for our 2020 budget.

Sometime ago before the budget presentation by the Minister of Finance I wrote an article entitled, “The race to the bottom”. This article presented a scenario for our small, open economy in which the energy sector was unable to provide the rents necessary to fund the imports required by the on-shore sector; to provide the economic activity that with Government employment, occupies some 96 per cent of the workforce.

When Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley, spoke at the Spotlight on the budget event on October 10, and again on i95 Radio on Thursday gone, he repeatedly said (as I am sure he has at other fora) that the country has to go into a different mode of operating—essentially doing more with less and getting better value for money.

THE Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TTAT) recently issued a public notice that the continued broadcast by “any subscription TV broadcaster airing channels ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox must have the legal right from the copyright owner to do so”

Not too long ago, everything we needed to know was taught to us by our families, communities, elders, friends and in schools. Today, with a very changed world, much of that learning is not provided by those groups and what is provided is not geared to dealing with and thriving in our new world.