We are deeply concerned that the current controversies bearing upon relations between T&To and the United States of America (USA) have the potential gravely to damage our country.
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.
Many of us say we are a sovereign country and can take our own decisions. That is correct. But the USA too is a sovereign country, and can take its own decisions. 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.
Is T&T prepared to face sanctions, especially at this time of economic difficulty?
Can we, in turn, impose sanctions on the USA, as, for example, China can? But if relations between T&T 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?
We strongly recommend that such discussions be initiated with a view to reaching mutually satisfactory solutions, which respect our sovereignty and our foreign policy positions.
On a without prejudice basis, the relevance and application of the Rio Treaty to T&T, about which a number of experts have reservations, should figure prominently in such discussions.
In order to facilitate the proposed discussions, we further recommend an immediate cessation of the megaphone diplomacy that seems now to be in vogue.
We have taken note of the calls for the resignation or dismissal of Minister Young and we are indeed disturbed by the recent controversies in which he has placed himself. None of this is good for T&T.
Having examined the statements of Minister Young before and after the US Ambassador’s statement of Tuesday last, 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 T&T’s obligations under the Rio Treaty, what other than a breach could he possibly have meant?
Where was the misconstruction?