PUBLIC Affairs Officer at the United States Embassy in Port of Spain Adam Jagelski yesterday said the US Home Office in Washington could not comment on statements by Joseph Mondello, as he was still the US’ ambassador designate for TT.
“He is still ambassador designate and therefore they are unable to comment on his testimony,” Jagelski said. Mondello told a US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee that if confirmed as the US Ambassador to TT, he would seek help from federal agencies to reduce the rate of ISIS recruitment in this country.
When pressed by chairman Marco Rubio who said that TT produces more ISIS fighters per capita than any other country in the Western hemisphere, Mondello said it was a problem that needed to be worked on and if confirmed, he would help TT and its Government as much as he could.
“I would come together with the agencies that would be within my embassy to see if certain things can be alleviated. There is poverty there and socio-economic problems despite of the fact they have a very high GDP (gross domestic product). “We have to have some messaging going on there to let people understand what we believe in, what we know and who we are and try to help these people to succeed and become employed and not let the lives of these people let them become susceptible to join ISIS and getting involved in their nefarious behaviour,” Mondello said.
Mondello also said there were 40,000 Venezuelans living in TT which is a cause for concern for the US. He promised to urge the TT Government to drop its support in the Organization of American States (OAS) for Venezuela, led by President Nicolás Maduro
He also pledged to work to facilitate stronger economic ties with this country. Minister in the Office of the Attorney General Stuart Young, in an interview with radio Power 102, said what Mondello said underscores the view of government and the National Security Council.
“The threat we feel in this country is very, very real and we must take serious action to protect ourselves against the problems it may create,” Young said.