Opposition Member of Parliament, Prakash Ramadhar says his decision to accompany the prime minister on an overseas mission to Jamaica next week, is his recognition that all elected representatives should do what they can to repair relations between the two countries.
Mr Ramadhar issued the following statement this evening, after it was announced at today's post-Cabinet media conference that he had agreed to an invitation to join the official delegation.
"It is both unfortunate and worrying that relations between Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica seem to have soured somewhat. Apart from being a friend and ally of Trinidad and Tobago for many years, Jamaica is home to many of our own citizens, particularly our students who attend the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies.
It is also an important trading partner - being one of this country's largest markets for our manufactured products.
Consequently, it is important for us, as parliamentarians and as elected representatives of our citizens, to do everything reasonably necessary to restore the good relations which previously existed.
This includes taking full advantage of any opportunity which may present itself for meaningful dialogue on the issue.
For this reason, I have accepted an invitation by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Keith Rowley, to form part of an official team from this country that will travel on Sunday to Jamaica, to discuss the state of relations between our countries.
The example of inviting opposition Members of Parliament to accompany the Prime Minister on official overseas missions was set in December 2013 by former PM, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, when she invited then Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Keith Rowley, to attend the funeral of Nelson Mandela in South Africa.
I am pleased that Dr. Rowley has recognised the value of this example in bi-partisanship and is now following suit.
It is note-worthy that my participation has been approved by the Executive of the Congress of the People."
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