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Sunday 20 January 2019
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Charles: ‘Stupid’ TT to pay for Maduro, Sandals

MP for Naparima, Rodney Charles.
MP for Naparima, Rodney Charles.

NAPARIMA MP Rodney Charles has criticised the Prime Minister for suggesting TT pay $1 billion to pipe natural gas from Venezuela and another $1 billion to build a Sandals hotel in Tobago. Dr Rowley had suggested the two sums among others in his televised national address on Sunday and Monday, titled Mind Your Business.

In a statement yesterday Charles took on Rowley for blaming the former government for the country’s ills while allegedly not having a plan of his own.

“Last night I heard only three plans for economic recovery: one, keeping our fingers crossed and praying that oil and gas prices will go up; two, spending billions to ensure that Sandals will somehow rescue us; three, wasting another billion to construct pipelines to bring Maduro’s gas to TT.”

Charles said Sandals will never make this a first-world country.

“If this were so, then St Lucia, Barbados and Jamaica would all be part of the OECD. Instead right now they are all basket economies. Two are at the IMF.

“So while Singapore is preparing its citizens for the future jobs in the world’s digital economy, Rowley is preparing his fellow Tobagonians to be waiters and bartenders and is spending billions in the process.”

The MP said the PM had outsourced tourism management to foreigners, and left the low-level jobs to TT citizens.

Charles lamented that TT and Shell will soon spend US$1 billion for infrastructure work to bring Maduro’s Dragon Field gas to TT.

“Rowley must tell us how Shell, an Anglo/Dutch and therefore EU company, proposes to spend part of that US$1 billion when the EU has placed sanctions on the Venezuelan government.

“It means, like Sandals, that stupid TT will be funding the entire expenditure.”

He asked if TT funds the entire Dragon Field project, whether it will be sustainable if Opposition forces in Venezuela do not honour an agreement between Rowley and Maduro. Venezuela has a history of not honouring contracts, he claimed.

“Last year Conoco Phillips was paid US$2 billion because of a failure by the Venezuelan government to honour contractual obligations.”

Charles said the Dragon deal has a foreign-policy complication.

“Where are we in the territorial dispute between Maduro and Guyana and also Venezuela’s action against oil exploration vessels operating in Guyana’s territorial waters?”

Saying TT is treaty-bound to support Guyana in this situation, Charles said, “Will this impact our $1 billion investment?”

Reiterating that Rowley has no plan, Charles said, “The longer he remains in office, the more the country suffers.”

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