Moonilal slams Govt over deportation by pirogue

Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal.  -
Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal. -

OROPOUCHE East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal on Wednesday questioned the roles of three top Cabinet ministers over last weekend's deportation of two boatloads of Venezuelans, including children.

Speaking to Newsday, he called for the resignation of Minister of National Security Start Young over the incident, as line minister.

Moonilal also alleged there had been a “deafening silence” from Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs Dr Amery Browne, and called on him to say if his ministry had advised the Prime Minister ahead of Dr Rowley's two statements on the Facebook page of the Office of the Prime Minister.

On Rowley calling him an "opportunistic carbuncle" in one of the statements, Moonilal said such an insult was to him like water off a duck’s back.

“The Prime Minister has no qualms about using the OPM official Facebook page to hurl insults against Opposition MPs. But he cannot silence me by insulting me.”

Moonilal slammed the deportations, saying people must not be deported while they have a case before the courts.

“These people had a matter before the courts and the Government undermined that right.”

He said the UN Human Rights Office, in a statement on Wednesday, called on TT to safeguard the rights of children.

Moonilal asked whether the PM would soon criticise the UN, following his chiding of the Organisation of American States (OAS) in one of his two Facebook statements.

“This is a well known trick – to manufacture foreign enemies and drip-feed supporters a belief they are to blame for TT’s problems."

Moonilal urged Parliament's Joint Select Committee (JSC) on National Security to probe the incident. As no one could say who gave the order to deport the Venezuelans, Moonilal likened the incident to the 2004 case of two Bajan fishermen caught fishing illegally in TT waters, whose court case in Tobago was dropped by the police amid speculation about alleged political interference.

"People are generally deported by air travel, but this was a deportation by pirogues.”

He said any deportations must go through the proper channel, even if this meant by chartering a 747 airliner.

“There are laws on the treatment of children."

Moonilal declared, “I call for the immediate resignation of the minister. Quite frankly, I believe he should be deported.”

Moonilal feared that when Rowley soon becomes Caricom chairman he could try to sway the minds of other leaders against the OAS.

He felt the Government should have never registered any Venezuelan to stay in TT, as it did last year, but should have fully secured the borders against illegal entry.

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"Moonilal slams Govt over deportation by pirogue"

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