Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has admitted that Venezuela’s ongoing economic and political turmoil has been impacting T&T and the wider region.
Rowley made the comment at a press conference yesterday at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, in the presence of Ghana President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who visited our country with a delegation on Wednesday night and left on Thursday night.
Rowley met with Akufo-Addo to advance interest to both countries in the field of energy, education, culture, agriculture, diplomacy and what he described as “the Venezuelan situation.”
Akudo-Addo also paid a courtesy call to President Paula-Mae Weekes earlier in the day.
Thanking T&T for its hospitality, Akufo-Addo said he was happy to be here again.
He said in the 1980’s he and a group of Ghanaians had the habit of visiting our shores for the Carnival celebrations.
“So I am something of a Trinidadian with lots of nostalgic memories,” Akufo-Addo said.
He said while T&T has been big in oil and gas sector, the first thing that comes to his mind was calypso, as he paid homage to calypsonians Sparrow, Calypso Rose and the late Lord Kitchener whom he said kept him entertained with their fascinating lyrics.
Touching on Venezuela’s ongoing crisis, Rowley said the matter required international attention.
He said the first response to Venezuela economic downfall came from Caricom who went to the Office of the United Nations General Secretary “informing them of our position and our concern.”
Rowley said T&T has responded diplomatically to Venezuela’s situation.
The PM said international efforts are being made to bring about dialogue with other countries within the Venezuelan context.
In his extensive talks with Akufo-Addo, Rowley said, “We discussed and acknowledged that there is a problem in our region emanating from conditions in Venezuela which has impacted T&T, Caricom and the wider region,” Rowley said.
He said Ghana would do well to assist and ensure that diplomatic initiatives are taken to facilitate a peaceful and speedy solution to Venezuela’s crisis.
Akufo-Addo interjected, stating that Ghana stands ready to assist in Venezuela’s turmoil.
“I think it is our moral duty to do so.”
Rowley said there was also move to break up the African Pacific Nations (APC) as a block so that our negotiating power would be diminished.
“It would be extremely detrimental to the Caribbean to find itself in the world environment negotiating as a small block. We are better protected and we are stronger as part of the APC.”
He said we have to ensure that we preserve the ACP as a bargaining block for conditions that will apply for trade with T&T and the rest of the world.
The Caribbean, Rowley said relies on Ghana and “our colleagues elsewhere to agree with us on this position and let that be our diplomatic response.”
Rowley said attempts were being made by individuals and some quarters to break up the APC block “by those who believe that it will serve their purpose.”
Reporter: Shaliza Hassanali