Rowley: Ignore Kamla on CARICOM

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

IGNORE Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar on the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) says Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.

Dr Rowley on Monday wrote on social media that Persad-Bissessar was the last person who should be questioning the effectiveness of CARICOM.

“All she has done throughout her career is to take actions that serve only to undermine the regional body and diminish the said effectiveness that she now pretends to be concerned about,” he stated in a Facebook post.

Dr Rowley added that based on her history when she was prime minister, it should not be surprising that Persad-Bissessar could do anything to join the celebrations but only seek to cast doubt and dampen positivity.

He reminded the public of Persad-Bissessar’s actions from 2010 to 2015 relating to CARICOM.

Keith Rowley
Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Dr Keith Rowley speaking at the opening ceremony of the Heads of Government 45th Regular Meeting on July 3

“These are but a few of the well-publicised activities that are currently underway and spoken about by ministers locally and regionally yet the opposition leader who has done so much to damage and belittle our regional effort is today asking questions about the effectiveness and relevance of Caricom,” Dr Rowley said.

He stated, “My advice to Trinidad and Tobago and the region is to please ignore her insincerity and let’s press on to another fifty years of progress led by those who believe in the boundless faith in our destiny as a country and as a united and ever more effective CARICOM.”

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According to Dr Rowley, “One of the first things she did was to trigger a trade war and boycott of Trinidad and Tobago’s goods into Jamaica by insulting their government and businesses with foolish and dismissive statements not the least of which was to tell them that Trinidad and Tobago is not their piggy bank.”

He said, “It took this new prime minister leading a delegation to Jamaica to smooth the ruffled feathers and restore a good working relationship with Jamaica. She even told Grenada and St Lucia, who were reeling from hurricane damage, that they could get some help from us on the singular condition that they in return must undertake to buy certain goods from us. Needless to say, this approach was met with rebuff and derision from many quarters.”

Dr Rowley also said that Persad-Bissessar was also to be blamed for the Caribbean Court of Justice not being the final Court of Appeal and while the headquarters remained in Port of Spain, was still “squatting on the steps of the Privy Council.”

He also said that the establishment of a Single Market and Economy was one of the major initiatives of CARICOM a matter that was stalled under the United National Congress (UNC) that she led and by 2015 was removed as an agenda item on the Meeting of Heads of Government.

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar

And it was also to be noted that on the very day that ministers in Trinidad and Tobago were in the papers confirming that 70,000 lbs of high-quality rice seeds arrived from Guyana and were being distributed to local farmers to plant about 3,000 acres of rice in Trinidad, “the mischievous Opposition Leader is questioning what CARICOM is doing about food supplies.”

Dr Rowley instead praised CARICOM which he said demonstrated unity and diplomatic clout during a massive celebratory week of activity in Port of Spain which attracted the presence and attention of major trading partners and other important decision-makers which are depended upon for success.

Opposition MPs and Persad-Bissessar have been questioning the effectiveness of CARICOM to deal with issues such as crime and the economy since this year, Trinidad and Tobago hosted two major CARICOM conferences costing millions of taxpayers’ money.

Persad-Bissessar has also issued a release congratulating CARICOM on its development and influence as the organisation celebrated its 50th anniversary. 


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