Naparima MP Rodney Charles has criticised Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley for not attending the General Debate at the 72nd UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York which begins today with the theme “Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for all on a Sustainable Planet.”
“Once again Prime Minister Keith Rowley will be glaringly absent and will definitely miss a golden opportunity to highlight our foreign policy goals to global audiences, our domestic challenges such as crime and terrorism and initiatives to resolve them and to enlist the support of world leaders. This could have been done through his address to the General Assembly and bi-lateral meetings with world leaders on the margins of the GA,” Charles said in a news release yesterday.
He said heads of state from Antigua and Barbuda, Haiti, St Lucia, and St Kitts and Nevis will also be in attendance including Prime Minister Gaston Browne who will highlight his country’s urgent need for assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
He said this country will be represented by Foreign Affairs Minister Dennis Moses who is expected to speak on Saturday after most delegations would have returned home and had Rowley attended, under UN protocol, he would have spoken at the Assembly earlier and addressed several issues including the country’s crime challenges.
“He could have reminded them that many of the drug related challenges we face are a consequence of the insatiable demand for drugs in their respective countries and our location between the producers and consumers of these drugs. This combined with the large number of deportees from these countries have severely overburdened our law enforcement agencies.
“These reasons could have been used in support of more technical and mutual assistance from these countries.” Charles said since taking office, Rowley has taken numerous foreign trips, many for personal matters, but has avoided major meetings such as the Paris Climate Change summit and three very important UNGAs.
“Trinidad and Tobago must avail itself of opportunities at the highest global levels to share our experiences and learn from others. Nothing beats face to face meetings for achieving national objectives on the global stage.”