No Privileges Committee for Young

A request by the Opposition in the Upper House to have National Security Minister Stuart Young sent before the Privileges Committee of Parliament has been rejected by Senate President Christine Kangaloo.

Earlier in the sitting, Opposition Senator Wade Mark suggested that Minster Young breached the Standing Orders and deliberately misled the House when he spoke about a May 6th conversation with the United States Ambassador to this country, Joseph Mondello.

At that time, in the Senate, Young said: “The United States Ambassador had a conversation with me, as a representative of the Cabinet-level of the Government, and there were other conversations had and there was no raising of the breach of any treaty.”

But, in a statement yesterday, Ambassador Mondello “affirmed” that he and Young did, in fact, discuss the Government’s March 27th meeting with Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, and that T&T had breached the Rio Treaty when Rodriguez was allowed to land in the country.

However, in a response to Mondello’s statement last evening, Young said his comments in the Upper House were “misconstrued”.

“I never said that the Ambassador did not raise the visit of Venezuelan Vice-President Delcy Rodriguez nor did I say that the Ambassador did not raise the Rio Treaty,” Young said. 

He added: “What I said was the breach of the treaty was not raised.”

Having regard to the chronological order of event leading up to this point, Senate President Christine Kangaloo said:

“The Minister, having been provided the opportunity by Senator Mark to elucidate on his previous statements made on May the 13th, demonstrated via his response on the 19th of May 2020, that there was no intention to mislead or deceive the House. There is also no tangible, independently proved confirmation that it was the Minister’s intention to deliberately mislead the house.”

She said, therefore, there is no prima facie basis to support a question of privilege.