A former ambassador and a senior counsel of Trinidad and Tobago are expressing their views about the March 27 visit by Venezuela Vice President Delcy Rodriguez while the country’s borders were closed.
Reginald Dumas, a former ambassador and head of the public service, and eminent attorney Martin Daly said they were “deeply concerned” by the recent developments between the United States and TT which have “the potential to gravely damage our country.”
In a joint statement on Thursday, they said they also took note about the calls for the resignation of National Security Minister Stuart Young and his statements regarding TT nationals who were quarantined in Barbados.
“None of this is good for TT,” they said.
Dumas and Daly said they also examined statements by Young and US Ambassador Joseph Mondello.
Young and Mondello have given differing accounts of talks between them and whether Mondello had raised the question of TT’s allowing Rodriguez’s visit being inconsistent with the Rio Treaty.
Dumas and Daly asked, “We cannot avoid this comment: While Minister Young is pedantically insisting that the ambassador did not use the word ‘breach,’ if the ambassador spoke of the ‘consistency’ of the Venezuelan Vice-President’s visit with TT’s obligations under the Rio Treaty, what other than a breach could he possibly have meant? Where was the misconstruction?”
They said, “We respectfully, but firmly, believe that there are several considerations, which require sober assessment, way above the incessant noise of partisan party politics and the undiplomatic language of the Minister of National Security, Stuart Young MP.”
Dumas and Daly said while TT is a sovereign country that could make its own decisions, the US was “a sovereign country, and can take its own decisions.”
They said, “It has been applying sanctions to Venezuela and has made it clear that it will also apply sanctions to those countries, all equally sovereign, which violate its Venezuela sanctions.
“Given the political climate in Washington, that is a policy position which cannot be ignored.”
They said, “Can we, in turn, impose sanctions on the USA, as, for example, China can? But if relations between TT and the USA are as positive and strong as government spokespersons (Minister Young among them) say they are, should there not be quiet discussions between the two parties?”
They said, “In order to facilitate the proposed discussions, we further recommend an immediate cessation of the megaphone diplomacy that seems now to be in vogue.”