PM disappointed by TT response to refugee invitation

By Clint Chan Tack
September 23, 2017 – newsday.co.tt

Dominica after Hurricane MariaPrime Minister Keith Rowley yesterday said the vast majority of people understand why TT must do what it can to help Dominica in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Rowley was confident that most of this country’s citizens are caring people.

However, he expressed disappointment at the uncaring attitude of some over Government’s proposal to waive immigration regulations to allow Dominicans to stay in TT for six months, as their country rebuilds.

In a television interview, Rowley said Dominica was totally devastated and its people need help. “In that situation, TT has a duty of some kind to extend a hand of friendship and help…and I daresay caring…in so far as we are able to.” Rowley said this was a question of humanity and he believes most, if they are able to, would put their own personal reservations aside and try to help.

Rowley reiterated that if there were Dominicans who have relatives or friends in TT, who are willing and able to help them, “then we at the level of the State will not be an impediment to those persons’ way.” He continued, “We will allow them to extend that hand for six months.” Rowley said within this specific period, the numbers of Dominicans who may come TT will not be huge.

The Prime Minister said many Dominicans may choose to stay in their country and rebuild. He said those who choose to leave could go to other Caricom countries besides TT. “When I see people talking about political repercussions and who coming here to vote, I was disappointed,” Rowley said. He appealed to these people, “to not see race in every thing that we do in TT.” Rowley said the Immigration Act and this country’s treaty arrangements with Caricom, “allow Dominicans to come here by virtue of being citizens of the Commonwealth of Dominica.” He continued, “When they get here, they can ask for an extension and that extension can be granted.”

Source: http://newsday.co.tt/2017/09/23/rowley-trinis-are-caring-people/

29 Responses to “PM disappointed by TT response to refugee invitation”


  • Time for solidarity, not hostility
    Caricom’s freedom of movement provision. By right, every Caricom national enjoys automatic right of entry into member countries for a period of six months as long as they are not considered a security risk. The announcement by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is therefore no change of policy but merely an encouragement to people who are minded to help and the registering of a compassionate attitude which will hopefully guide immigration authorities.

    Our brother’s keeper
    We support and encourage all initiatives to provide relief to hurricane victims in the region and see Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s announcement of special support to citizens of Dominica as a good example of how we can offer crucial support in our neighbour’s time of need.

    Volney hits Trinis against refuge for Dominicans
    Retired High Court judge Herbert Volney has hit out as “idiots” detractors who see a political agenda in Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s offer of refuge for Dominican hurricane victims.

    Open doors for Dominicans… but not for all
    At least two Opposition MPs have openly offered their support to the Government’s call for TT citizens to open their homes to distressed Dominicans in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

  • You have all right to be disappointed Dr Rowley, your lack of self history, together with the all inclusiveness nature of the people who look like you in Trinidad, have you disoriented as we speak. Dr williams, Robinson and Mannin before would have gone about this differently. Your governing cabinet, should have been the mandate. Guyana, Antigua and the other unaffected islands have stepped up into the crease to bat. During the Canada refugee debacle created by our mis-guided Indian brothers and sisters in Trinidad, Indians from Guyana and Surinam flocked into Trinidad on their way to Grenada’ Canadian embassy to stake their claim, we know for a fact, that a vast number of Indians from those states left Trinidad with false forged Trinidad documents, all the Pundit had to say is that they where born in rural Trinidad, not a word from the Sat Maharaj’ or the Stephen Kangals then. The message has long been sent, Kamla told the islands that Trinidad was no longer the teller machine of the english speaking caribbean, after the ST Lucia hurricane, aid to the island was based on Trinidad Indian contractors getting first preference in the rebuilding process, needless to say that St Lucia did not go along with Kamla’ UNC proposals. Growing up in San Fernando, it always amazed me how the Indians gravitate towards each other, irregardless of what part of the world they originate, while Africans in Trinidad, continue to be manipulated in the discourse of self hate. Every African in Trinidad, will tell you that some part of their family have, in their words, small island roots, because of ignorance and mis-education, their cousins in the so-called small islands, have never been serenaded, like former slaves, they are ashamed of their past. Race is playing its part in this discourse, only because the the Africans in Trinidad don’t really have a published voice, and those working on the airwaves, are mis-educated. Our Indentured brothers and sisters must comprehend, the “RAIN THAT MAKES THE BITTER LEAF EVEN MORE BITTER, IS THE SAME ONE THAT SWEETENS THE SUGAR CANE”.

  • I was deeply sadden when the PM inject race into the issue. There was no need for that. He has been a politician for some time and should know better. The reason being whatever he says is monitored closely by Caricom.

    Since the PNM assumed office 2 years ago they have introduce draconian tax measures. This along with an arrogant response to flooding victims, who are still waiting for some money to fix their house roof and replace wet mattresses having filled out the forms some time ago.

    The PNM has not created good will in the nation. They just ignore the needs of the citizenry and take care of the 1%. Who apparently does little or nothing to help but have fat bank accounts.

    One must ask, does the PM have the right to invite citizens of a foreign nation into the country? Where does the law provide for such unilateral action? If the PM listen carefully to the people they have said they will help rebuild the island, so far thousands of items collected and sent. They have also said there are over 40,000 undocumented Venezuelans already in the country, thousands of Chinese nationals, Jamaicans, Guyanese etc. In other words services such as health care is being stretched with no plans to fix it. No medicine in hospitals, and an increasing homicide rate, along with all the social evils. In other words the quality of life has dropped considerably.

    It is against this backdrop citizens are protesting Mr. Prime Minister, not racism as you allude to. Stop insulting the citizenry..

  • You’re the foreigner, Mamboo. Your racist tribe is a tiny, unassimilated minority in the greater Caribbean, the majority of whom are brave, patriotic, creative people who do Marcus Garvey proud. One day we’ll have the constitutional majority that will allow us to strip you of your ill-gotten citizenship and send you to the slums of Calcutta.

    • My friend my navel string is buried in TNT. And you along with all of the mentally abused PNMites do not determine my future. Yes you tried when I was younger but I prospered. It started with your ill conceived ideas of governance and your ethnocentric diatribe which you recited there for the world to see. It did not work back then and it will not work today. As the national anthem states “here every creed and race finds an equal place, and may God bless our nation” Happy Republic Day. From slavery to Republicanism it shows nothing has changed with the slave class. They will always be the hewers of wood and the carriers of water.

  • The people of Dominica are not refugees. A refugee is someone who is fleeing persecution, whose life are under threat of death. It could be religious, ethnic, or political persecution.

    The people of Dominica is safe in their homeland, they are not exposed to the elements as people in extreme hot or cold nations.
    They can rebuild their homes and continue their way of life within a few months.

    CARICOM leaders in view of these natural disasters must embark on a plan to act during such a time. That plan must include loans and immediate help towards rebuilding. Further each nation must be scouted to find places where safe storage systems could be built to ensure local help is at the ready. That may include drilling tunnels that can store food, medicine and water in advance of the hurricane season. After the hurricane season perishables can be disbursed for the poor or sent to other nation in need. To not plan for a disaster especially since it can occur even in TNT is simply stupid and tempting fate. Each area in TNT must be familiar as to where help can be accessed in times of disaster. Planning ahead and storing items that can be used or quickly shipped to those in need is part of strategic thinking.

    But I don’t expect much help from this administration. Word to the wise meet and plan in your own district. Don’t wait on this regime for any help.

  • Reverend supports PM’s Dominica call: Reject xenophobia
    Interim Rector of the Cathedral Church of Holy Trinity, Reverend Carl Williams, is calling on T&T citizens to reject xenophobia and to open their homes to nationals of Dominica who have been badly affected by Hurricane Maria.

    • We do have a sizable non-christian population, who in their ascent to becoming a viable minority of this nation’s history, have come to make pagan religious norms acceptable in the wider community. Even though they were the recipients of Christian benevolence, they do not share in providing the same towards others, who do not belong to their pagan orientation. Humanity, giving, love and compassion lies at the heart Christianity and we sometimes take it for granted, that our fellow pagan citizens on the other side share in that belief. But that is not so. The pagan thinks of self preservation first before considering reaching outside of their community.

      As we are seeing, they would like to have us believe that Dr. Rowley is WRONG in his call to be humanitarian. Dr. Rowley’s call is a natural human and christian instinct to resuscitate the deficiencies to which the victims of Maria are experiencing. But the pagans want us to believe that they are coming to take our homes, take our jobs, take our Treasury, take our women, take our children and if we don’t watch it, take our lives too. That is the modus operandi of the kind of pagan activism we are seeing here. What we have seen lately, coming from this group, is that with each iteration of a major disaster, where our fellow regional citizens are in dire need of help, they procrastinate and criticize any government offering (especially when it is done by a Christian oriented government) to these victims.
      They see every iteration of help offered to Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent, Antigua, Barbados and the like as an opportunity to use the ATM, as Kamla Persad Bissessar would have us believe. It is what comes first in their mindset.
      This is unacceptable AND WE SHOULD NOT WASTE ANY TIME IN CALLING THEM OUT FOR BEING NUMB ABOUT christian generosity. THIS IS A CULTURAL FIGHT BETWEEN CHRISTIANITY AND NON CHRISTIANITY. ALTHOUGH MOST OF THESE CRITICISMS ARE WRITTEN TO SUGGEST POLITICAL RIVALRY, THEY ARE IN FACT ROOTED IN RELIGIOUS (non-christian) NORMS OF BEHAVIOUR.

      Whether it is Mamoo or Kangal, the gist is the same. It is therefore incumbent on us to ignore the passions of paganism when our brothers and sisters of the region ask for help. We do not know when “our time will come”. And it is for this reason WE MUST NOT PROCRASTINATE IN OFFERING HELP TO THOSE IN NEED.

      • Careful with your ‘pagan’ term. Aren’t we all sure that Orisha benevolence is on par with Christian benevolence, with Hindus inferior to both?

      • Silly commentary Kian. The Christian world view, is one of love, compassion and caring. What you are promoting is a pan African nationalistic thinking and trying to pass it off as Christian.

        You wrote that Dr. Keith Christopher Rowley is a Christian. Well let’s test that. (1) Thou shalt not commit adultery. Has he broken that commandment. Ask his many outside children. (2) Thou shalt not steal. Rowley made several trips to Dubai as Opposition leader costing a few million dollars. He owns a place at One Woodbrook place costing over a million dollars. Plus Landate $5 million. Where did he get so much money? (3)Thou shalt not bear false witness. Rowley went to parliament with a serious accusation against the then Prime Minister KPB. It was called emailgate. Everybody know it was a blasted lie. (4) Thou shalt have no other Gods before me. Rowley admitted working obeah on Manning. I could go on but according to established Christian standards and practice, he is worst than a Pagan. Nuff said.

  • So, Kian, you say “this is a cultural fight between christianity and non christianity, although most of these criticisms are written to suggest political rivalry”.
    I put it to you that you see it as a racial fight, although you write your criticisms to suggest religious rivalry.
    I’ve noticed that you and other Afro commentators refer to “Hindus” when they wish to imply that “the other” consists of savage pagans with backward rituals and a lack of Christian morality, but “Indians” when the wish to suggest that “the other” is fairly numerous and also genetically blighted.
    Christian benevolence and charity is, admittedly, the better side of a religion that has also backed slavery and, more recently, been shadowed by clergy abuse scandals.
    Islam’s tradition of Zakat and Hindu traditions of daana and utsarga can easily mesh with the Christian approach to charity as we reach out to the victims of the hurricane.

  • The Gods have not ordained hunger to be our death: even to the well-fed man comes death in varied shape,
    The riches of the liberal never waste away, while he who will not give finds none to comfort him,
    The man with food in store who, when the needy comes in miserable case begging for bread to eat,
    Hardens his heart against him, when of old finds not one to comfort him.

    Bounteous is he who gives unto the beggar who comes to him in want of food, and the feeble,
    Success attends him in the shout of battle. He makes a friend of him in future troubles,
    No friend is he who to his friend and comrade who comes imploring food, will offer nothing.

    Let the rich satisfy the poor implorer, and bend his eye upon a longer pathway,
    Riches come now to one, now to another, and like the wheels of cars are ever rolling,
    The foolish man wins food with fruitless labour: that food – I speak the truth – shall be his ruin,
    He feeds no trusty friend, no man to love him. All guilt is he who eats with no partaker.
    — Rigveda, X.117, [18]
    The Upanishads, composed before 500 BCE, present some of the earliest Upanishadic discussion of dāna. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, in verse 5.2.3, states that three characteristics of a good, developed person are self-restraint (damah), compassion or love for all sentient life (daya), and charity (dāna).[19]
    तदेतत्त्रयँ शिक्षेद् दमं दानं दयामिति[20]
    Learn three cardinal virtues – self restraint, charity and compassion for all life.
    — Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, V.ii.3, [19][21]
    Chandogya Upanishad, Book III, similarly, states that a virtuous life requires: tapas (asceticism), dāna (charity), arjava (straightforwardness), ahimsa (non-injury to all sentinent beings) and satyavacana (truthfulness).[19]

  • At several places in the Quran Zakat has been enjoined on Muslims side by side with Namaz. While reading the Quran you would have come across a number of times the command: “Be steadfast in prayer; practice regular Charity.” On several occasions it has been spoken of by the Quran as a characteristic feature of Muslims that, “They establish prayer and practice regular Charity”. These two verses go to show emphatically that those who do not offer Namaz and fail to pay the Zakat are, in fact, not Muslims for the two basic attributes and distinguishing features of a genuine Muslim are not present in them.
    Anyway, habitual neglect of Namaz and failure to practice the Zakat are, according to the Quran, not the qualities of a Muslim but of an atheist or a polytheist. About the Namaz we have a verse in Sura-I-Rum of the Quran, which reads:
    Establish regular Prayer and be not ye among those who join gods with God:
    And about the evasion of Zakat being the attribute of polytheists and infidels we have it in Sura-I-Fussilat:
    And woe to those who join gods with God, those who practice not regular Charity, and who even deny the Hereafter. (XLI: 76-77

    • JMan,
      If you follow my writings, you would know that I do not consider Islam to be pagan. Much of islam follow christian doctrine and principles. Islam carries with it the same universal teachings that is espoused by christianity. The practice of islam by the Indians in Trinidad follows more in line with hinduism than that encouraged by the quran. The practice of muslim identity in Trinidad, is more aligned with hindu teachings than the universality of the principled religion. While some Indians practice true muslim doctrine, others tend to lean towards hindu practices.

      • Again another twisted idea expressed in such a naïve manner, makes me think you a little boy Kian. First of all not all Indians are Hindus or Muslims. The Hindu population in Trinidad is 18%. The Indo Muslims about 2%. And then you have the other 20% of Indians in the various Christian denominations. Meaning that there are a higher percentage of Indians who are Christians than any other.

        Now there is you Standard one lesson in Indianology. This word is copy write to me because no one has ever used it before. Nuff said.

        • If you really want to quantify and qualify what I have written over the years Mamoo, you would note that I have at times differentiated muslims from hindus. The Indian christians are somewhat torn between hardline hindu intransigence and cultural hindu practices that run afoul of their christian beliefs. Hardline Indian political activism, as we are seeing on this issue, is mostly pushed by those of the hindu caste system. This is not to say that Indian christians do not bear racial bias or ethnic alliance, but they are more pragmatic in understanding how to assimilate with the wider population groups. As I said before, the muslims belong to the same tenets of religious schooling as the christian, but in Trinidad, they tend to be more sympathetic towards hindu idealogy on matters of race and religion, than the orthodoxy of their religious teachings.

          Indianology, as well as the statistics you quote belong to you and you alone and you can use it to please yourself as much as you like. If I may add some facts here. For most of its five years and three months in office, the PP government closed the CSO (Central Statistical Office). The new government is now trying to reopen this office for public consumption, so it would be wise to view your statistical quotes with blurred vision. In order to make yourself feel viable, it is of course important for you to view what I have said as naive. But my points remain valid nevertheless. I understand your weakness in this argument and for you to score points you MUST come off the subject matter of hurricane Maria to revert to your favorite subject of Indian racism.

          I am willing to discuss the subject matter anytime you wish, but when the matter is disguised to push Indian political concerns as being victim to the Prime Minister’s directive, then you invite my attention.
          I remember very vividly when, in 20011 or 2012 when Kamla invited Indian nationals to come into this country without visas, I heard no comments from yourself and people like ‘Jed Achong’, but offering help to our Caribbean brothers and sisters is offensive to you guys. Give me a break!

  • Well, I think we can see some positivity out of this horrible disaster…

    Did the PNM hire a new ‘PR’ department?

    Well, Thank you Mr. Khan… I always wondered where was the Chairman of the PNM when ‘Sat and dem’ were barking so loudly…

    ‘Khan: People have lost their humanity
    Kalifa Clyne
    Published: 
    Sunday, September 24, 2017
    Chairman of the People’s National Movement (PNM) Franklyn Khan says some people in this country may have lost their humanity.

    http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2017-09-23/khan-people-have-lost-their-humanity

    And, Aye Stephen, I did not know yuh was Guyanese… But, President David Granger seem to have become the leader of The Caribbean.

    ‘Guyana offers land for hurricane victims
    Thursday 21 September 2017 Miranda La Rose

    Guyana’s President David Granger says his country’s vast land mass can serve as “a gift” to all people from several Caribbean nations to relocate and rebuild their lives in the aftermath of devastating hurricanes Irma and Maria,’

    http://newsday.co.tt/2017/09/21/guyana-offers-land-for-hurricane-victims/

    Wow, and in just one ‘serving’, all hopes of a ‘New Bharat’ in the Caribbean were lost.

  • It is not only ironic but amusing to hear Africans celebrating and heralding their Christianity, an adopted religion which not only advocated their enslavement, but once questioned their humanity.

    • Come TMan.. I know you brighter than that… Or you should be… It’s why we need Radio and TV in T&T..

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGBeO8Wm-70

      Now, why didn’t they bring Christians from Kerala, India (literally the first established Christians)?

    • It is also ironic, when those who profess to know and have knowledge, limit that knowledge only to what was taught to them by the enslaver. While it was true that we were enslaved, we were not the only ones. It might interest you to know TMan that the Ethiopians were amongst the earliest of christians. So early were they that as of this writing, the biblical “ark of the covenant” is being guarded by them.
      If you are a christian, as you claim, you should know and understand what that is. To that end, ‘adopted’ might not be an exact term to describe us. Those who claim to ‘educate’ us were so astounded by the discovery of sphinx and pharaohs, that they had to disfigure the looks of the ancient statutes of ancient Egypt and the Sudan, to deny that we really did it. But you have a right to your opinion.

  • This is the second time that Rowley has divided this society using a disaster to do so. The first was post Bret when South Trinidad was flooded out and no help was offered except excuses by the uncaring Rowley Regime.
    The second is the current post-Maria humanitarian disaster. He did not think through his unilateral decision to make Dominicans refugees and encourage them to abandon their homeland to come to Trinidad when they are badly needed to stay in Dominica and help to rebuild their country with the the aid that is being contributed.
    Every thing is airy-fairy. He should have consulted with the Leader of the Opposition in order to achieve unanimity and consensus going forward and not bifurcate us again. I see that Immigration Officers have gone to Dominica to issue laisser passer galore for Dominicans to land freely in Trinidad. He presented us with a fait accompli with his suspicious grant of asylum the terms of which are not clearly and cogently communicated to the polity when we in T&T are seeing guava season and ketching we nennen but nevertheless sending much needed supplies to Dominica via CAL and the Defence Force and many NGO’s on the ground How can Franklin Khan accuse us of having lost our humanity when we do not share their surreptitious political and electoral agenda for which the PNM is notable? They trying to effect Pro Rowley damage control again.

  • My God, some of these comments have been truly food to uplift the consciousness, is the son in law of the transitioned uneducated Bhadase Maraj aware of that passage of the esteemed Rigveda? my wish is, that the the people of Trinidad read the ancient classics of the east, and in so doing, deposit both Sat Maharaj and Stephen Kangal, in the trash where they belong.

  • LOL!!!!TMan, i mentioned before how comical Mr Kian can be at times.The Professor aint too far behind, although he masks his…AMAZING,in 2017.

  • As usual, Trinidadians miss the point. The most logical course of action for the people whose islands were damaged by the hurricanes is to let them stay in their country and build it. All governments and private aid organizations should give money, material, labour etc. to assist those people to rebuild their lives in their country.

    The UN is good at building temporary accommodation after a natural or man made disaster. We in Trinidad could help financially, materialiy or otherwise. We do not have the housing, schooling, health systems to take another 40 – 100 thousand people from any other country. There are people in Trinidad living in plywood houses without proper roads, water or electricity. Our schools are inadequate to educate our present children. Why are we not looking after these poor Trinis.
    One big question- When will these so called refugees go back to their countries?

  • Are we racist, xenophobic?
    questions over T&T’s response to Dominican invitation

    LEADER of the Movement for Social Justice David Abdulah said his party is “nauseated” by statements he called xenophobic and racist being made by those against people from another country coming to Trinidad.

  • Lending a helping hand shows a spirit of compassion. Just assuming that hurricane ‘Maria’ had hit us with such ferocity we would have appreciated whatever help we can get. Small islanders are known to be a resourceful people but what they need now is food and potable water, materials, finance etc. to get on with the re-building process and bring order back into their lives. Those Dominicans especially fragile in health who have relatives here should be allowed to come into T&T as a temporary measure whilst the able-bodied ones get on with the re-building of their homes and country. I doubt when PM Rowley opened his hands to the stricken citizens of Dominica he did not meant the whole 60,000 would be entering T&T.

    A warning should be heeded by us in the event of a disaster striking us. ‘The love of the Lord is the love for our fellow beings’. Let’s get those 40ft.containers packed and shipped immediately to the land of Dominica.

  • While we have not yet experienced the kinds of devastation that occurred in other parts of the Caribbean, it does not mean that WE CANNOT BECOME a victim in the future. Puerto Rico’s last serious hurricane was in 1932, ours in 1936, yet in September, 2017, it suffered total devastation. We do not understand nature to the point where we should feel invulnerable to destruction of this kind. To those who feel that because we in Trinidad did not suffer at the hands of Maria or Irma, also means that we should have no sympathy for their victims, I say to them YOU ARE VERY FOOLISH AND SELF CENTERED. While I am not a church going member of the christian church, I do not ignore the basic tenets upon which this country was founded – mercy and compassion.

    It is noteworthy, that the opposition to helping the Dominicans comes from a particular community. This same community will, at the least challenge of flood, always confront the government for help. They see government’s assistance as a fixture only for them and nobody else. That is disturbing as well as it is revealing, to know the mindset of these people are so narrow and self centered. They are steadfast in their opposition of help to our neighbors, unless it is Guyana or Suriname. Rather than address the issue of aid, they are calling me out as ‘a comic’, an ‘adopted’ christian and as a slave descendant. Of course those things have nothing to do with help for hurricane victims. But it clearly shows that their behavior of hate is learned by the form of indoctrination that persists and cemented by people like Sat Maharaj. They see their birth here as a privilege that affords them precedents over anybody else, but they offer less allegiance, less patronage and less benevolence than any other groups.

    This is no time for fancy words to describe the opposition to the victims of hurricane. Their xenophobia is despotic and paganistic as well. DO THEY KNOW THAT WE COULD EASILY BE THE ONES SEEKING HELP? DO THEY KNOW THAT, LIKE PUERTO RICO, WE COULD BE ASKING THOSE SMALL ISLANDERS FOR HELP? Am I being too rationalistic? I DONT THINK SO. We live a real world, where everyone of us is inter-dependent as as such we MUST, as a matter of courtesy offer assistance when the call for need exists. No amount of xenophobic comments should deter us from making every effort to help victims of disaster, regardless of their color, creed or race.

    It would be needless for me to appeal to this community to re-think their behavior, because, as I said before, they are indoctrinated to be heartless to others they do not think look like them BUT TO MY FELLOW MEN, DO NOT ALLOW THESE DETRACTORS TO CIRCUMVENT YOUR INSTINCTS TO OFFER WHATEVER HELP YOU CAN.

    And Yes, may God Bless Our Nation.

  • Open your schools to Dominican children, T&T Catholics told
    Archbishop Joseph Harris has called on citizens to heed the call by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to open their homes to Dominican families affected by Hurricane Maria.

  • Dominicans affected by Maria already in T&T
    Education Minister Anthony Garcia yesterday confirmed that several school children from hurricane-ravaged Dominica are already in the T&T system receiving their education. Over the next few weeks several more are also expected, as principals and teachers have agreed to open up their classrooms.

Leave a Reply