Rowley: T&T not refugee camp

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley, Trinidad and Tobago

BROOKLYN, New York—News reaching CARIBBEAN TIMES NEWS (CTN) says that Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley says he intends to write the United Nations to complain about its local representative’s comments about the recent expulsion of 82 Venezuelans from the oil rich Caribbean nation.

The repatriation process, which saw a Venezuelan military aircraft landing at the Piarco International Airport to take the nationals back to their homeland, drew sharp criticism from UN resident coordinator Richard Blewitt. Trinidad and Tobago also faced an outcry and heavy criticism for the repatriation, the Trinidad Guardian reported.

But at a post-Cabinet press briefing, Rowley said he was very satisfied how the government handled the repatriation. He said Trinidad and Tobago was governed by laws and that “while we are a generous and caring people and we demonstrated that over and over again by opening our doors to Venezuela.”

Addressing Blewitt’s comments directly, Rowley said he would not allow anyone to paint a different story of the country. “We will not allow, without protest, public servants from any international agency to misrepresent our circumstances to the world and stay in Trinidad and Tobago. Against that background, I as prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago will, under my hand, write a complaint to the United Nations at its headquarters about the conduct of persons who take it upon themselves to speak about Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.

As a member of the UN, Rowley said Trinidad and Tobago has been very careful and responsible in carrying out its affairs. But he said the image painted was that Trinidad and Tobago behaved in a unbecoming manner, which was the furthest from the truth.

“If officers of the United Nations are to talk about Trinidad and Tobago, especially those who are in Trinidad and Tobago and know our circumstances, then the least we can expect from them is to stay with the facts,” he said.

He also said he would not allow UN representatives to make Trinidad and Tobago into a refugee camp, noting the relationship with Venezuela was based on mutual friendship. As for Amnesty International’s Erika Guevara Rosas, who also criticized the way in which the Venezuela nationals were repatriated, Rowley said that was better left unsaid.


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