Another controversy is brewing over a statement made by Foreign Affairs Minister Dennis Moses in the Senate last week saying that Trinidad and Tobago is not bound by recent decisions made about the Rio Treaty, including the travel restrictions imposed on Venezuela Vice-President Delcy Rodriguez.
This is far in contrast to what US Ambassador Mondello said in a press release that during a meeting with the National Security Minister Stuart Young he did discuss with Young T&T’s breach of the Rio Treaty.
Mondello said he expressed “concern to the Minister in that conversation about the consistency of (Venezuela Vice-President) Delcy Rodriguez’s visit to Port of Spain” and this country’s obligations to the Rio Treaty.
The US diplomat all but accused Young of lying when he said the breach of the Rio Treaty was not raised when they both met.
However, Mondello said that he and Young did discuss the Government’s March 27 meeting with Delcy and that T&T had breached the Rio Treaty when Delcy was allowed to land in the country.
But in a response to Mondello’s rare statement, Young said his comments in the Senate were “misconstrued.” “What I said was the breach of the treaty was not raised,” he said.
Last March, the US Embassy warned that Rodriguez was subject to travel sanctions that are binding on all Rio Treaty parties, including T&T.
Young thought that the meeting with Mondello would have remained confidential, but the Ambassador wanted to clear the air on what was discussed during their discussions.
But last week Foreign and Caricom Affairs Minister Moses said that Trinidad and Tobago is not bound by the recent decisions made about the Rio Treaty, including travel restrictions imposed on VP Rodriguez.
In a rare statement in the Senate Moses said T&T had been consistent in that position at the OAS General Assembly last June and at September 2019 meeting of Rio Treaty member countries.
He said Trinidad and Tobago do not recognize Juan Guaido as the President of Venezuela, adding to do so would run counter to the stated positions of Caricom and the United Nations.
Last week the US Embassy sent a list of some 28 countries and individuals, including Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro and VP Rodriguez among them of countries and individuals, who are sanctioned by the US.
At a meeting on September last year, Rio Treaty member countries agreed to impose sanctions against the Maduro regime but T&T abstained from voting. It was approved by 16 countries,
When PM Dr Keith Rowley, National Security Minister Stuart Young and Foreign and Caricom Affairs Minister Dennis Moses met with the US Ambassador last week was the question of the Rio Treaty discussed.
A government release said the meeting was “cordial”.
The question being asked: Who is right about the Rio Treaty? – Moses or Mondello?
The Venezuelan issues of T&T fuel being diverted to Venezuela, the visit by Rodriguez and the Rio Treaty are now being discussed by the ordinary man in the street and call-in radio programmes.
The rum posse of Ramsingh, Balkie, Dougla, Barman and Rasta are aware of the issues in the country and they had their views when they met for their holiday lime last weekend at the home of Rasta.
Dougla: “Rasta yuh living in ah shack and yuh eh have room fuh we to sit down inside and drink some rum. If all ah we go inside d house it go fall down.”
Rasta: “Allyuh eh bound to go inside, it have plenty place outside to drink in a cool place under dem trees. Yuh eh see how nice d breeze blowing and d place eh hot. Yuh know ah pardner drop ah bottle ah bush rum for meh last week. We go drink dat. Doh worry no police does pass around here because it eh have no crime.”
Dougla: “Is only bush rum yuh have. Yuh know we does drink puncheon rum. Barman bring ah bottle ah puncheon. So yuh could bring what yuh have. We go take ah shot ah d bush rum.”
Ramsingh: “Hear, nah, what really going on with dis set ah controversies with Venezuela. Ah see whey Rowley wake up d Foreign Affairs Minister Dennis Moses from a deep sleep. He say how dis country is ah supporter of Venezuela President Maduro and T&T is not bound by the Rio Treaty. Allyuh remember it had ah set ah kuchoor when d Venezuela Vice President Delcy came here to meet Rowley?”.
Barman: “Ram, ah know yuh know bout d politics and yuh could talk bout it. But ah does read whey going on in d newspaper. Since Moses say we eh bound by d Treaty. Then why Young say no T&T help for dem Iranian ships that was carrying fuel to Venezuela. He said d five ships from Iran will not get any help to carry petroleum products to Venezuela. Since Rowley is Maduro pardner and he eh bound to take on d US and can therefore help Maduro, let him do dat and he go know whey barley grow.”
Balkie: “When d war start is we go be in d middle and a bomb could drop here and kill ah set ah people. Trump eh making no joke, nah, he done have warships right outside d Venezuelan border. Rowley say we just eight miles from Venezuela.”
Ramsingh: “Rasta dis place look like d real country side. Ah remember meh pardner who was living in a village whey eh have no water, lights and tv. He say it only had one rum shop in d village and it had a generator for electricity. Dem fellas used to go and lime and drink dey rum in d shop. He say one day he and some fellas went and watch ah fight between Tyson and Ali.”
Rasta: “Dat was some years ago, Ah sure d place must be bright now with plenty houses, lights and rum shops.”
Ramsingh: “But ah didn’t finish what ah had to tell allyuh. When d fight finish dem fellas was going home drunk. Meh pardner say he call out to he macomere. She say whey allyuh making so much ah noise fuh in d road dis hour ah d night.
Meh pardner say yuh eh hear d news. Ali just knock out Tyson for $20 million. She say he look for dat. Whey he walking in d night with dat kind ah money, fuh. Yuh see it have some people in d country side kind ah illiterate.”
Balkie: “Is dem kind ah people who does vote for d PNM because dey easy to fool. Dem old people was supporters of d PNM from d Eric Williams days. Dey eh care who is d leader now, dey supporting d PNM and waving dey balisier. Dey red and ready.”
Until next week.