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Kamla Persad-Bissessar

Renuka Singh

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is calling for the immediate removal of Minister of National Security Stuart Young and Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley following a media release from US Ambassador Joseph Mondello, which contradicted Young’s statement on the visit of Venezuela Vice-President Delcy Rodriguez in March.

During last Wednesday’s Senate sitting, Young said he and Mondello had a discussion but the issue of T&T breaching the Rio Treaty did not come up.

In a media release yesterday, however, Mondello countered what Young said, saying he expressed his “concern” about the visit by Rodriguez and that it violated the tenets of the Rio Treaty.

But in response to Mondello’s statement, Young said it seemed his Senate statement had been misconstrued.

Young said in response to an Opposition question on whether the Government of Trinidad and Tobago is conscious of a statement issued by the United States government concerning this country’s violation of the Rio Treaty he said, “I responded that, “we continue to have open channels of communication. In fact, last week the United States Government’s head and top diplomat in Trinidad and Tobago, that is the Ambassador, not any underling who may or may not be speaking to the media, the United States Ambassador, had a conversation with me, as a representative of the Cabinet level of the Government, and there were other conversations and there was no raising of the breach of any treaty.”

Persad-Bissessar, however, said, “The Keith Rowley administration has once again been caught lying to the people of Trinidad and Tobago.

“Less than a week ago, the Opposition questioned Minister of National Security and Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young in the Senate, and Young claimed that US Ambassador Joseph Mondello never spoke of the potential violation of the Rio Treaty caused by Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez’ meeting with Keith Rowley.”

“Stuart Young lied again,” she added.

Persad-Bissessar said the Rio Treaty offered certain protections and that actions by the Government left T&T exposed.

“Trinidad and Tobago in danger of losing these protections and then they attempted a major cover-up,” she said.

“Young lied to hide the fact that this Government has not only broken the trust of our allies but jeopardised our international image. How many more lies will the Keith Rowley Government tell to cover up their links to the Maduro government?”

Persad-Bissessar said that it was unacceptable that the Government sought to mislead the population and Parliament on the issue.

“There is a clear practice of deception by members of the Rowley regime as they repeatedly try to mislead the population. Their lies have now caught the attention of the international community, including the US Ambassador,” she said.

“The Ambassador’s statements further prove that the Prime Minister himself has been less than truthful with the people of our nation when he dismissed these claims as false on Saturday.”

She said it was shameful that the Rowley regime had tarnished T&T’s image at a time when nations like ours need to maintain proper relations with the international community as we ease out of this global pandemic.

“Again, for the record, the UNC has never called for any sanctions to be placed on our nation but rather sought to expose the detrimental actions of the Rowley regime. Their own actions have now been proven to have been enough to warrant a reaction by the international community,” she said.

She said the Government’s constant “attempts to distract, blame and deceive are coming to an end as all their lies are being exposed. The only decent thing left for Rowley and his cronies to do is to step down and call the election.”