By FRED LIVERMORE
“By thy words, thou shall be justified or condemned, for there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed nor hid that shall not be known.” Quite contrary to what many political experts and analysts believe as to which party shall win the next general elections, the current government of Dr Keith Rowley is being weighed in the balance and correspondingly found wanting. Only time will tell when the Great Almighty reveals who shall manage the affairs of this country; hopefully with integrity, compassion and justice. Maybe the so-called “Great is the PNM” will yet learn lessons of humility and recognize the Great I Am.
As the days go by, more facts emerge and are thrown in the face of a nebulous national security lie. Shame, disgrace and embarrassment have encapsulated this twin-island state following the public statement by US Ambassador, Joseph Mondello; followed by international maritime intelligence from Lloyds of London, and the admissions of William Ruperti, the Venezuelan shipping magnate. Why the honourable Prime Minister is not publicly saying anything is not a mystery. His Cabinet leadership, consent and decision- making in this fiasco is now in grave danger. Can he face the population without admitting his apparent calculated errors? Above all, public trust, confidence, transparency and accountability have diminished greatly. The longer the honourable Prime Minister takes to speak, the worse it is for his government.
US Ambassador, Joseph Mondello has already robustly confirmed that he had discussed the issues concerning the travel sanctions placed on Delcy Rodriguez, Venezuela’s Vice President and her March 29, 2020 visit with PDVSA officials, as well as Trinidad and Tobago’s violations of the Rio Treaty with Minister Stuart Young. Minister Young allegedly tried to obfuscate, distort and negate the US Ambassador’s position when asked relevant questions recently in Parliament. At best, Minister Young’s responses appear cagey. It would be almost impossible for the Minister of Works and Transport, Rohan Sinanan and the Minister of Energy, Franklin Khan, to not know.
The threesome secret thatbecame a global scandal:Moses, Young and Khan should resign forthwith.
First, what would appear to have been a closely guarded political “secret” by more than three Cabinet Ministers, has now emerged into a full-blown national, regional and international scandal. All four – the Honorable Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley; Senator Dennis Moses, Minister of Foreign Affairs; National Security Minister, Stuart Young; and Minister of Energy, Franklin Khan – would have been privy to the reason for the “secret trip”. Now, with Aruba making denials about any sale of fuel from Trinidad, and William Ruperti, the Venezuelan shipping magnate manipulating deals left, right and centre, as a result of his close relationship with President Maduro, Trinidad and Tobago is now the epicentre of a growing scandal, and one if not dealt with diplomatic gentility, could place this country in a fractured relationship with the USA.
That alleged fuel sale undermines our international image, and we may not be too far away from sanctions by the US government, despite verbal assurances from Minister Young. Ministers Moses and Young should not be called upon to resign, but they should do so as a matter of integrity and betrayal of the public’s international and security relations. There are no excuses for this egregious governmental blunder.
In the world of global geopolitics, and for those junior local politicians like Minister Young, with no apparent deep state understanding as to what US foreign policy interests and intelligence constitutes, and where it is heading in this globalized world, it becomes a cardinal sin to trifle with the principles, experience and intellectual maturity of a very distinguished political personage in US Ambassador Joseph Mondello.
Ambassador Mondello’s facts v. Minister Young’s “so-called “Truth
Minister Young will pay a painful price, for political deceptions has its cumulative wages and mental health challenges. Minister Moses should have taken his rod and fly away post-haste to a place where he can find peace near some burning bush. No “Red Sea” experience will help him in this sea of lies and propaganda that was fed to the population and Parliament. As members of the so-called “National Security Implications Team” they should all resign.Minister Stuart Young may be learning how to deceive from his political masters, but he is certainly not adept at political diplomacy at the highest level. It would have been both folly and a tragic political decision to allegedly misrepresent the truth in Parliament and to the nation, thereby casting aspersions on the US government, via its embassy here. One does not know whether Minister Young would have benefitted immensely and graduated summa cum laude from the personalized training of Rowley’s School of Advanced Diplomacy, St. Ann’s Campus.
Furthermore, when Ambassador Mondello had to break protocol, it does suggest something critical, urgent and of national, regional and global significance; and a matter that required immediate clarification in the issuance of a statement in which “he all but accused National Security Minister Stuart Young of lying about a conversation which they had on May 6 about the visit of Venezuela Vice-President Delcy Rodriguez’s visit to T&T.”
Ambassador Mondello, via a press release, said he did discuss T&T’s breach of the Rio Treaty with Young during the meeting. Mondello said he expressed his “concern to the Minister in that conversation about the composition of (Venezuelan Vice-President) Delcy Rodriguez’s visit to Port-of-Spain” and the country’s obligations to the Rio Treaty. The US Ambassador acknowledged the rarity of such a public response. “Normally, I do not comment on private conversations with host government officials,” Mondello said. However, he “affirmed” that he and Young did discuss the Government’s March 27 meeting with Rodriguez and that T&T had breached the Rio Treaty when Rodriguez was allowed to land in the country.
Minister of National Security, Stuart Young like on so many previous occasions, continues to make blunders in public office, courtesy his super minister status and extremely close attachment to the Honorable Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley. With such elevated status and high-level political protection, it would appear that Minister Young can do no wrong, not even to examine himself and do the honourable thing, like former Minister Robert le Hunte and resign.
Venezuela ‘false berthings’off Trinidad further obscure oil exports
An article dated 15 April 2019 by Michelle Wiese Bockmann, a London-based energy commodities and shipping editor/analyst, states that ships appear to be collecting oil cargo at Venezuela before stopping off at Trinidad and Tobago and then setting off again, raising suspicions that cargoes are being hidden.
Venezuela’s national oil company is using co-loads and “false berthings” into nearby Trinidad and Tobago to disguise cargo origins as P&I clubs warn the hardening rhetoric from the hawks in Washington could sweep non-US owners and shippers into the sanctions net.
Bockmann further stated three PDVSA tankers that loaded oil cargoes in Venezuela since March 21 then diverted to areas close to Trinidad and Tobago for several hours, according to vessel-tracking data. After spending a short time in the waters of the Caribbean island, the tankers then departed for their final long-haul destinations. The practice was identified as “false berthing” and similar to those used by Iran’s national oil company, Kpler, a Paris-based company that analyses cargo flows, said in a report. This was likely an attempt to get new bills of lading stating Trinidad and not Venezuela, according to Kpler, which added that the cargoes were fuel oil.
The obfuscation in Trinidadian waters is the second PDVSA tactic noted to complicate the destination and origin of petroleum and crude exports. Ships transponders are turned off.”
National Security has reached an all-time low under Stuart Young
Look at yourself in the mirror, Minister Young, seek forgiveness from your heavenly Father, and speak the truth to the nation, resign, and you shall have a troubled free conscience, otherwise your burdens will overcome you. Take warning. National Security has reached an all-time low under your stewardship. This is a complex Ministry with expertise you simply do not have, and certainly appear to be poorly advised in speaking and making critical decisions.
If we were more diligent and passionate about excellent governance, this government would have had to call elections immediately or collectively resign. However, we simply do not seem to care, are not politically astute and advanced in our thinking, and prefer a laisse- faire approach to life. That is why the Prime Minister and his Cabinet colleagues play games with the population. Watch and see how things develop in this country.
Truly, the honorable Prime Minister should read Daniel Chapter 5: 25-27. “God had numbered thy kingdom and finished it. You and your Cabinet are weighed in the balances and found wanting.”