Express Editorial : Daily

Having been exposed by the United States Ambassador, National Security Minister Stuart Young has mounted an embarrassing attempt to insult the intelligence of the population in a desperate bid to save his skin.

He misled Parliament and the people on his conversation with Ambassador Joseph Mondello and the only question to be answered now is whether the Prime Minister is involved in this shameful attempt to pull the wool over the public’s eyes. The fact that Dr Rowley has not yet fired Minister Young puts the spotlight squarely on him and his own role in the unfolding saga of his meeting on March 27 with the Vice President of Venezuela.

No reasonable person could read the statement issued by Ambassador Mondello and believe Minister Young’s assertion in Parliament that “there was no raising of the breaching of any Treaty.” Indeed, the ambassador’s account of the May 6 meeting indicates that breach of the Rio Treaty was, in fact, the nub of their discussions. This is evident from his statement that he had “expressed concern to the Minister in that conversation about the consistency of Delcy Rodriguez’s visit to Port of Spain with Trinidad and Tobago’s obligations as a party to the Rio Treaty.” He went on to note that “Article 20 of the Rio Treaty makes it unambiguously clear that all measures imposed by the Organ of Consultation—like the travel restrictions on Ms Rodriguez—are binding on all treaty parties, whether or not they voted in favour of such measures.”

The issue at stake here is not, as some are framing it, about T&T’s sovereignty or our right to align ourselves with countries and leaders of our choice. That argument is nothing but a politically expedient distraction from the real issue of the Government’s mismanagement of T&T’s foreign affairs which has placed the country in an invidious position in the US-Venezuela confrontation, the Government’s lack of transparency in its dealings with Venezuela, and now the bold-faced misrepresentation of its meeting with the representative of another government, in this case the United States.

This newspaper is on record as repeatedly affirming our sovereignty and position of non-alignment which, given the geopolitics being played out on our doorstep, requires the strategic intelligence to walk the diplomatic tightrope and not be bungled into a situation beyond our control by amateurs.

Every disturbing fact that has emerged about the March 27 meeting was information suppressed by a Government that appears to believe it could get away with prevarication and repeated pleas of ignorance. Now Stuart Young is asking the public not to believe the evidence of its own ears and eyes and to accept being fooled because he was trying to do what was “proper”.

This charade has gone on long enough. Minister Young has lost all credibility and must go now. In the context of the serious challenges facing the post-Covid economy, the Government needs to stop digging itself and T&T into a hole and get the country back on track.

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