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Friday 22 March 2019
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Ministers concerned over Embassy warning

SHANE SUPERVILLE and JULIEN NEAVES

DECLARING in Parliament yesterday that Trinidad and Tobago is in, “a state of war”, Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal warned that the US Embassy’s Level 2 warning to its citizens who are in this country, would impact on business and trade activities. He questioned who would want to save their money for vacation and come to a country where there is a warning about crime and terrorist activity.

“Who coming here for vacation,” Moonilal asked. He said the US advisory has the potential to lead to an investment strike. He said that while terrorism may not affect the energy sector it would affect small business and the manufacturing sector. “Government should be responding to this and tell the population what to do instead of blaming the Opposition.”

He also expressed concern about the state of crime saying the country had improved on the Corruption Perception Index because newspaper headlines did not reflect on corruption but were consumed with murder and bloodshed. “Every Monday morning you have a protest on the streets,” Moonilal said.

For his part, National Security Minister Edmund Dillon said while he is concerned about the US advisory, he assured both citizens and visitors that the government continues to treat with all threats using available resources and that all agencies under his Ministry are operating at full capacity.

“The US Embassy has the right to issue its advisories as we continue to work with all available assets within the ministry to treat with such threats. All security issues continue to engage the attention of the government and threats to national security remains the government’s business,” Dillon said.

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi responded to Newsday’s query on the US travel advisory via text message saying he was engaged in urgent meetings at Parliament and was unable to answer.

Responding to a note from reporters during the sitting of the Lower House, Opposition Chief Whip David Lee also expressed concern over the US warning saying he fears such warnings would mark the collapse law and order in Trinidad and Tobago. He added that more will be said on the matter at the Opposition’s Monday Night Forum in Barataria.

“In my view it (the advisory) is of grave concern to all citizens as it says all foreigners in our country cannot feel safe. And if that is the case, then this country has collapsed,” Lee said.

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