Barataria/ San Juan MP Saddam Hosein has said the incompetence of National Security Minister Stuart Young, in having a US-sanctioned plane involved in repatriating Venezuelans, is a national embarrassment and he must go.
On the United National Congress (UNC) Pavement Report on Thursday night, Hosein asked how Young could have missed that sensitive and important detail in what he called Young’s arrangements to have approximately 100 Venezuelans repatriated earlier in the day.
He read from a National Security release which said the Venezuelan Government had asked the Trinidad and Tobago Government to facilitate its repatriation flight from Trinidad to Venezuela some time before.
In the release Young said the request was made via the normal diplomatic channels to the Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs and his ministry granted preliminary approval, as it was seen as a humanitarian effort by the Venezuelan Government.
All the arrangements were made by Venezuela but the National Security Ministry said when the details of the proposed flight were provided, it was discovered that the airline was amongst those sanctioned by the US.
The aircraft was therefore denied permission to land at Piarco. The TT Government has since contacted the US Embassy in Port of Spain for guidance.
“Is the blind leading the blind?” Hosein asked. “How embarrassing! The incompetence is glaring. Stuart Young, you must go.”
The UNC recently moved a no-confidence motion against Young in Parliament, which failed.
Hosein also predicted “a collapse and crisis at the Immigration Department at the airport, all because of one man called Stuart Young.”
He referred to nine immigration officers at the Piarco Airport testing positive for covid19, which has resulted in shifts being reduced from five to two.
He again cast blame on Young for the shortage of proper personal protective equipment (PPE) for these officers.
He referred to an internal memo which said the airport authority was yet to supply a schedule for cleaning for the regular supply of PPE. It said the sanitising was done and misting machines used approximately 30 minutes after the change of the 6 am and 2 pm shifts, and as of February 24, there were no surgical masks.
“There were 25 gowns in the last three months, three packs of surgical masks and no protective screens – for 90 members of staff.
“They have to go to private entities to solicit sanitisers, and only oversized gloves were provided for them.
“Imagine, they (the Government)withdrew $6.3 billion from the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund (HSF) and not one surgical mask for the Immigration.
“This man has put the lives of immigration officers at risk,” Hosein said.