As he heads off to New York to attend a Caricom meeting with the United Nations over the Venezuela crisis, the Prime Minister yesterday assured that he would hold Government's position supporting Nicolas Maduro as President of Venezuela, saying his administration "feared none".
On Monday, Juan Guaido, president of the National Assembly, Venezuela’s legislature, declared himself interim president in accordance with section 233 of the Venezuelan constitution. The US and Guaido claim Maduro’s tenure is illegal and said the country’s general election last May was unconstitutional and fraudulent.
TT recently abstained on a vote by the Organisation of American States to not recognise the legitimacy of the presidency of Maduro.
During the feature address at the People’s National Movement 63rd anniversary celebrations at the National Academy for Performing Arts, Port of Spain yesterday, Dr Rowley said even though TT was a small country it was to be taken seriously.
“This small country of TT at this time is called upon to play a role well beyond our size but well within our competence...We watch the news around the world and it has come right home to our doorstep. The worlds’s geopolitics is seven miles away from us.”
Rowley said Caricom was in a position to stand on principle which allowed them to talk to everyone and not make enemies. “Fortunately for the people of TT, at this time in office, in TT is a responsible political party holding executive authority, respecting all, fearing none.”
This following a press release from US Ambassador Joseph Mondello on Friday stating that was the US recognised and supported Guaido’s presidency. “I find the official statements from the Government of TT recognising the undemocratic and illegitimate government of Nicholas Maduro to be deeply concerning,” it continued.
In response at a press conference and to the Parliament, Rowley said he "took umbrage" to Mondello's statement, and defended Government's sovereignty.
Earlier yesterday, Rowley spoke of domestic issues including the education and health systems, saying change was necessary to success and forward movement. However, he said many people’s first response to change was resistance and encouraged those gathered to stay strong, support and defend the PNM against detractors.
“The changes that we have to make now for the young people are so far-reaching, so technologically driven, that if we are disconnected from that as a party, then obsolescence will take place. We have to accept that we have to make changes.”
He said the world was changing with technology making leaps, but some opposed making court payments electronically. He said those people were either mad or protecting self-interests.
In the same vein, he said Cabinet’s decision to close down Petrotrin was a difficult one that took a year and a half to make. He said they did not do that to hurt anyone but they did it to give everyone in TT a chance. “Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forwards.”
In addition, Rowley said the nation was guilty of wasting time. He said there was nothing wrong with striving for perfection but it was necessary to at least start. “We need to move from talking the problems, over analysing the problems, to making decisions and getting on with it.”
He then stated the Government’s intention to determine what was necessary for the good of the country and “get on with it” after reviewing, listening to criticism, consulting, and taking extra care.
Rowley also spoke of the youth saying they needed guidance and opportunity. “Many are prepared to go forward and they don’t want to hear excuses. They need to be able to grasp their future now and begin to contribute to the next generation.”
Therefore, he said, the people of this country needed to be “less cantankerous” and instead be prepared to support the PNM and the opportunities the party would create rather than standing in the way of the next generation.