THERE is no damage to the relationship between Trinidad and Tobago (TT) and the United States (US) over different views on the Venezuelan crisis, the Prime Minister told the House of Representatives yesterday. During PM’s Question Time, Princes Town MP Barry Padarath asked about any fallout from TT’s exclusion from US President Donald Trump’s meeting yesterday with five Caribbean leaders that also excluded Barbados and St Kitts/Nevis.
Replying to a supplemental question by Naparima MP Rodney Charles as to any plans to repair the relationship after Trump’s exclusion of TT from attending his private resort in Florida, Rowley said, “If it is my colleague regards a requirement to repair relations with his neighbour because he isn’t required to his neighbour’s party, I’m afraid that is not the yardstick Trinidad and Tobago uses.”
Rowley said there is no tear in the relationship. “The United States remains a friendly country and insofar as we might have a disagreement as to the approach on Venezuela, it has nothing to do with the relationship between the people of the United States and the people of Trinidad and Tobago, notwithstanding the effort of those on that side to create that kind of division.”
Padarath asked how TT could help the Venezuela situation when “standing outside.” The PM replied that those countries invited to Trump’s house were invited not in their capacity as Caricom members, but as members of the Lima Group which is opposed to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. He said TT is not part of the Lima Group, not to be confused with Caricom. “We do;t go around begging for invitation, because none is necessary.”
Naparima MP Rodney Charles asked if Rowley’s alleged coldness towards the US was a reason TT was excluded? Rowley dubbed Charles the “dining partner of Marine Le Pen” who had “sold out the country’s image for a plate of food” and questioned his concern about TT’s position in foreign foreign.