The Opposition United National Congress (UNC) yesterday denied that any of its members condemned Government’s offer of refuge to Dominican citizens after their country was devastated by Hurricane Maria.
This in response to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s claim that his “shut up” remark was aimed at Opposition MPs who criticised that proposal.
In a statement, the UNC said, “There is absolutely no truth to that statement.” The party said Rowley’s statement was, “Deliberately deceptive, misleading and dishonest.” The party called on Rowley to produce evidence to support his claim that Opposition members said anything to elicit his statement.
The UNC said the law stated that any Caricom national had the right to enter any member state and stay there for a period of six months.
At last Thursday’s post-Cabinet news conference, Rowley said Government was proposing to waive immigration regulations for six months to allow for any Dominicans who wished to come to TT in the wake of Hurricane Maria’s devastation.
Rowley said these people would have to identify who they would be staying with and be able to reach TT on their own.
The UNC added that that right was recognised by the Caribbean Court of Justice in the case of Myrie vs Barbados  CCJ 3.
The party said TT had a responsibility to help the people of Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda and other Caricom countries affected by natural disasters.
However, the UNC said Rowley’s proposal would provide no relief to Domnicans and it would not assist in channelling the charity and generosity of our people to those most in need.
The UNC said freedom of expression was a constitutional right and Rowley’s statement provided evidence of a “creeping dictactorship.”
The UNC said Rowley should take his own advice and “shut up.”