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Estrada hoping for timely replacement

MIRANDA LA ROSE Tuesday, January 24 2017

FORMER US Ambassador, John Estrada, hopes that the new US administration led by President Donald Trump does not take a long time in appointing his replacement.

“It is critical that we have ambassadors in countries around the world. This is a very tumultuous world right now. So much is going on in this region, and a lot is going on in Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.

In an interview with Newsday last Wednesday prior to his departure, Estrada said, “It is critical we do not have such a long gap like happened to me prior to getting here.” His confirmation took a while, he said, because “our politics were a little contentious at the time, and many of us were held up for quite some time.

I was the least controversial candidate in the pool.” Some senators disagreed with President Barrack Obama’s policies, he said, “and they decided to exact their pound of flesh from his nominees.” Asked if his tenmonth tenure was sufficient to achieve the objectives he had set himself, Estrada said, “It was extremely productive, fast paced, because I came here extremely focused.” He was leaving feeling accomplished. “It takes some missions probably two, three, four years to accomplish as much,” he said.

His achievements included security agreements with the TT government that involved information and intelligence sharing, and building law enforcement capacity.

Partnering with the Dr Keith Rowley-led Government, he said, “I could not have worked with a better Government at this time.” He intends to continue to contribute to strengthening the relationship between TT and the US. The US sees TT, he said, as a strong sovereign nation, and as a leader in the Caribbean.

He commended Government for pushing ahead with increasing the age of marriage to 18, he said, “This is not only a Trini issue.

It a United States issue.

Trinidad and Tobago could set the example for many countries - to protect our children, and get rid of child marriages.” He said, he would have liked to see more advancement in the areas of equal rights for the LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex) community. “I think that everyone, no matter who they are, disabled, different sexual orientation, everyone deserves to be treated equally with same basic rights,” he said.



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