‘But on this issue it is not just a case of conveying individuals from the Middle East to the Caribbean and Trinidad and Tobago’ – Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs Dr Amery Browne
By Sue-Ann Wayow
THE return of the Trinidad and Tobago national in Syria will be done in the context of national security concerns
Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs Dr Amery Browne on Wednesday at a press briefing said a multi-ministry, multi-disciplinary team was working to have the nationals, most of whom including women and children, back home.
His press conference was held one day after New York-based NGO Human Rights Watch group launched their report on Trinidad and Tobago nationals detained in North-East Syria, urging Government to move expeditiously to repatriate them.
The group said they had written to the Ministry of National Security, Attorney General’s Office and the Foreign Affairs ministry seeking an active response on the serious issue.
Browne said while he was aware that Attorney General Reginald Armour, SC responded to the group, he himself has not yet seen the report.
He said, “The public is well aware there is ongoing work, preparatory work, that the Government is committed to treating with this issue in a serious matter.
“But the public is also well aware that the Government is also treating with the very serious national security implications of persons of any category who would be returning or potentially returning from conflict zones. So that is not going to be an overnight development.”
Associate Director Letta Tayler and Advocacy Director Jo Becker had said on Tuesday that the US stands ready to assist in the repatriation once the Government allows it.
Browne said that Trinidad and Tobago was always open to collaborations and partnerships with other countries.
He said, “We are always open to partnerships and collaborations. That’s the way we conduct our business. But on this issue it is not just a case of conveying individuals from the Middle East to the Caribbean and Trinidad and Tobago.”
However, Browne added, “When we speak about preparatory work and the types of steps that are required, we are also talking about treating with the domestic national security environment.”