Kamla Courts Sanctions, Rowley Responds

T&T FACES US SANCTIONS – ROWLEY’S DANGEROUS ALLIANCE WITH VENEZUELA CAN NOW DESTROY OUR ECONOMY

By Kamla Persad-Bissessar

Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Keith RowleyGood morning everyone.

It is with serious alarm that I note a report in today’s Trinidad Guardian about the United States probing our country over a Trinidad &Tobago fuel shipment linked to Venezuela. If true, our country’s very economic survival is at stake. This since, as our longstanding and greatest global ally, any such rift could gravely damage our very beneficial trade, national security and foreign relations with the United States.

Since January 2019, Venezuela’s Government under President Nicolas Maduro has been deemed illegal, brutal and corrupt by the US. The US and 50 other countries have instead recognized the Venezuelan Opposition Leader, Juan Guaido, as the country’s legitimate President. Further, the United States has imposed sweeping sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry, and last month charged Maduro and other senior Government officials with “narco-terrorism”.

Under Maduro, Venezuela has essentially collapsed into a failed State, and is in the throes of a very serious humanitarian and food crisis. This has caused thousands of Venezuelan refugees to flock to our shores since last year. The Rowley Government, however, has openly supported Maduro’s globally denounced regime.

In January 2019, Rowley even got into a very public row with the US Ambassador to Trinidad &Tobago, Joseph Modello, when he said Rowley’s continued recognition of Maduro’s regime was “deeply concerning”. Now, the alleged illegitimate actions of the Rowley regime in their ongoing, questionable and dangerous support of Maduro could cause the US to impose costly and detrimental sanctions for Trinidad & Tobago

This is in regard to a controversial shipment of gas fuel from the State’s Paria Fuel Trading Company, which left Trinidad &Tobago’s shores on April 21, 2020 for Aruba. Global reports have indicated that this fuel shipment may have eventually been sent to Venezuela. According to the Guardian report, both the US Embassy’s Public Affairs Section and a State Department Representative have confirmed that the US Government:

– Is aware of these damning reports
– Has warned other nations against assisting embattled
Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro and his regime.
– Has served notice to foreign institutions that they will face
sanctions for being involved in facilitating illegitimate
transactions that benefit Nicolas Maduro and his corrupt
network
– Has stated that it does not matter how the transactions with
Venezuela are conducted, whether using currency or in-
kind exchanges
– Nor does the US care about whether these transactions are
otherwise legal under another country’s laws
– Is now probing T&T’s possible violation of the sanctions
that the US has imposed against Venezuela
– Notes that if T&T is found to have assisted Venezuela in
getting fuel, it could open our country up to US sanctions.

The Guardian further notes that Rowley and his Energy, National Security and Communication Ministers, Franklin Khan, Stuart Young and Donna Cox, respectively, have consistently refused to answer their questions as to whether:

– T&T is facilitating fuel shipments to Venezuela
– this deal was discussed during the visit with Venezuelan
VP Delcy Rodriguez last month (where they opened up the
locked borders)
– PDVSA head Juan Santana also at this meeting

Several newspaper reports (2019) have recorded my public condemnation of Rowley for his dangerous stance against the US. I’ve also consistently warned that any fallout with the US, and resultant sanctions, can seriously damage T&T in the following ways:

– There are more than 200,000 Trinidad and Tobago citizens who hold United States visas which can be seriously impacted
– This will gravely affect their ability to visit the US for studying, tourism, cultural and trade related activities
– The US has a large TT diaspora who can similarly be affected negatively by being unable to move freely between the countries
– 70 per cent of all our food is imported from the US at an annual cost of over US$1 billion (TT$7 billion)
– Any US sanctions, especially in a post Covid-19 world, can therefore deeply affect our already precarious food supply
– The current widespread hunger crisis will therefore seem like a joke
– T&T exports more than US$2.7 billion (TT$18.9 billion) annually to the US in the energy sector
– Sanctions can therefore deplete our already deeply strained revenue stream, potentially causing an irreversible economic crisis
– Sanctions can cause T&T to lose out on its privileged status as the biggest beneficiary of the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), under which we receive trade preferences
– These grant duty and quota free access to the US to the tune of US$400 million (TT$2.8 billion) annually.
– Participation in CBI requires, among other things, a waiver of certain WTO (World Trade Organization) conditions
– T&T’s current waiver will expire in 2021 and the US president and Congress have to approve renewing the agreement.
– The CBI also grants TT very important technical advice and cooperation on border control, Customs and Excise and mutual assistance
– Such heavy features of T&T’s national security apparatus can therefore be lost, causing our crime ridden country to suffer even more

I am therefore calling on Rowley to come clean and tell this country the true state of this possibly illegitimate fuel shipment. His ongoing reckless, dangerous and questionable governance has truly led to our beloved nation’s destruction in every possible way. It must no longer be tolerated, for Trinidad &Tobago’s very survival is now at stake.

T&T FACES US SANCTIONS – ROWLEY’S DANGEROUS ALLIANCE WITH VENEZUELA CAN NOW DESTROY OUR ECONOMY Good morning everyone….

Posted by Kamla Persad Bissessar on Friday, May 1, 2020

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dr Keith Rowley

Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s rant is not new.

As a desperate and failing Opposition Leader it has become abundantly clear that it is the UNC’s position that for them to succeed the country must fail. It matters not what they have to do to bring about such failure but fail we must according to them.

For the Opposition Leader to be out front in scaremongering and giving life to rumours that Trinidad and Tobago has dangerously broken US sanctions against Venezuela and we have failed to answer allegations of that nature is as low as Mrs Persad-Bissessar has ever gone.

To undermine the country’s foreign policy is one thing but to invite others to do so is as dastardly and disgusting as it could ever be.

To support a “President Guaidó” that is not acknowledged by CARICOM or the United Nations is one thing but to say that Trinidad and Tobago has not answered the recent allegations is a naked self- serving untruth.

I as Prime Minister, on Wednesday in the Parliament, answered a UNC question and I denied any knowledge of Trinidad and Tobago fuel business making any sales to Venezuela.

The Minister of Energy also responded saying that we sold fuel to Aruba and cannot be held responsible for the end user of that product.

The Chairman of state company Paria also explained how it has transacted business and all of these responses are clear and truthful denials.

Notwithstanding all of this the Opposition Leader in her desperation for relevance is fueling unfounded allegations against her own country in the hope that it will result in damaging sanctions which would destroy our economy and our friendly relationship with the United States.

She invites cancellation of visas and a destruction of our economy in support of her Venezuelan President of choice even as her country steadfastly rely on the rules-based Charter of the United Nations.

If this country had any doubt about who Mrs Persad-Bissessar is and whose interest she serves as Opposition Leader all one has to do is take this disturbing rant for what it is, the dishonest last gasp and gamble of a dangerously delusional woman who will sacrifice her country for a chance at the polls.

Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s rant is not new.As a desperate and failing Opposition Leader it has become abundantly clear…

Posted by Dr Keith Rowley on Friday, May 1, 2020

13 thoughts on “Kamla Courts Sanctions, Rowley Responds”

  1. Dr. Rowley is know to help his friends and in return they help him. As my mother used to say it takes two hands to clap. He stood in parliament and said in Hansard he knew nothing about this deal with Maduro. Reuters reported on it but one must give the honorable Prime Minister the benefit of the doubt. He must have been not been told by his honorable Minister of Energy.

    If you don’t know something why the need to respond to it? The Opposition Leader is a lawyer and gave a detailed report based on her information. This being an election year, things that was ignored in the pass will play into the narrative of the national psyche.

    Sometimes there has be a balance between politics and nationalism. The right thing for the PM to do if this report is true is to admit it and step down. If not then he must ride the wave and continue to work hard for the nation. The US will not want to jepordize its relationship with TnT because Prime Ministers come and go, so I cant see any sanctions in the near future. However, they will be keeping a closer eye on this Prime Minister.

  2. She finally took her mask off Kamla is a US asset and several of her party members too, there are a few of them masquerading as journalist and columnist also. The US is looking for international cover to invade Venezuela i.e through OAS which they do not have the votes hence the reason Pompeo meet them Yardies, Haitians (who is clinging to power due to US ) Bahamas and the two other idiot countries. They mad at Mottley, Rowley and Gonzalves for not playing along. Guaido is an unknown in his own country the Venezuelan opposition they are not even united around him. My question when this war starts will US take the 10-15 million refugees? NO they will not; we the little islands in Caribbean will be stuck with the burden. As Bleach boy (Trump) indicated in Iraq why don’t they just take the oil. This is what they what to do with Venezuela. Venezuela has long been under economic hardship way before Maduro and Chavez. The ruling elites in Venezuela have been ignoring the poor for decades hence the reason why Chavez and Maduro are very popular in the country otherwise they would have been toppled by the very poor people and not thoes fake paid for demonstrators who they have to bus into to demonstrate. It is clear that “Marli Street” prefers KPB and UNC party because these people are not patriot or loyal to TnT. A lot of UNC supporters and Financiers live in Ft Lauderdale, Scarborough/Mississauga Ont and Queens N.Y so they don’t care and give a damn about the country.

  3. T&T Opposition playing with Fire

    My family left T&T in 1971. However, we still have roots in T&T. I have followed what has been going on in T&T since our departure. I have observed that too many Indo-Trinis are too eager to surrender the independence (?, T&T and the Privy council) of T&T to the US. This was particularly true during the UNC rule.

    The US does not have friends (allies), it only has US interest in so-called independent countries. I agree that T&T should have friendly relations with the US, however, only one of mutual respect for each others sovereignty. The current Opposition is playing with fire. Currently, the US has the most ignorant, puerile, vindictive, and incompetent President in its history. To think that the current US regime will not bite at the sanction apple the Opposition is offering is naive or operating from a lack of historical perspective on how the US operates.

    If the Opposition thinks I’m wrong, the next time they win the election I would suggest that they request that the US allow them to establish a T&T military base in Florida under the pretext of helping the US fight the war on drugs in the Caribbean.

  4. Now that Persad-Bissessar is out of the limelight, a forgotten political bygone, now that the Prime Minister and the administration together with our health personnel are doing so well against the Covid 19 pandemic, getting international recognition for their efforts, Persad-Bissesar and her minions are trying their best to get back into the spotlight. And what better way than to try to destroy your own country? What better way to hog some spotlight than to try to get the most powerful country on earth to apply sanctions on your own country so that we become like the starving people and the suffering children we see in those parts of the world where sanctions have been applied. What better way to try to acquire political power than on the backs of starving children? But that is what Persad-Bissessar has been doing since she was booted out of office by the people of T&T. Lusting for power, by any means necessary; she has undermined, sabotaged, lied and provided misinformation and now through malicious misinformation is trying to get sanctions applied to us so that you and I, no matter what your ethnic background, no matter what your political background, your religion, your gender, she hopes all of us will suffer and be reduced to the kind of starving people and children that you see and distress over in those pictures in other parts of the world. I personally don’t think that Persad-Bissessar is clever enough to manipulate and fool President Trump with her lies. I think President Trump is more concerned with bigger issues at this moment than paying attention to some unknown political loser coming from some small island state or as he colorfully puts it “sh….le country” who wants to appear important . But Persad-Bissessar will do anything, will sell out her mother and you and me and every Trinidadian, just to acquire political power. In the Bible, James4:1-2 it is written, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.” Bissessar-Persad covets power and cannot obtain it, so she is willing to destroy T&T to obtain power. Persad-Bissessar has declared war on T&T, trust me there will be a reckoning.

    1. “Bissessar-Persad covets power and cannot obtain it, so she is willing to destroy T&T to obtain power. Persad-Bissessar has declared war on T&T, trust me there will be a reckoning.“—Birdie.
      Any decision on sanction violation will have to go before the US senate. They will decide not KPB. The information about the shipments is public knowledge the Americans know about it.

      The big question Birdie is what is in it for this Rowley administration. As we all know the PNM does not do these things for nothing risking international sanctions. Could it be that there is a plan ahead to use Venes to vote in the next election. An ID card with a Vene pic was found in Chaguanas with an Indian name. You can’t make this up. Living Waters was accused to training Venes to vote PNM.

      It is a known fact that the PNM playbook has not change since 1956. (1) Eric gave Burnham oil to the tune of $500 million US which Jagdeo begged Panday to help remove. Rowley is now sending gas to his friend Maduro…. (2) Burnham funded his supporters with money and food. Today if you have an Indian name chances are state money ain’t reaching you. (3) in the 60s over 50,000 islanders flooded TnT, they were given jobs in the oilfield and ID cards and told to vote PNM. The same thing is happening with the influx of Venes.

      The Rowley administration and their minions have made it their duty to blame Kamla for all the wickedness they doing. Yet she let $32 billion extra that they devouring up like a hungry dog…nuff said.

      1. Mamoo, I heared what is going before the US Senate is since Jack Warner got charged more than $500 million TT in the US courts recently (by US District Judge William Kuntz a few months ago) whether Kamla is still “standing by” Jack Warner as she did when she was PM and he was her chief cabinet minister. The big question Mamoo, is whether this issue with Jack is what Kamla and her UNC minions are trying to distract from since they were all involved.

        1. Birdie you can’t blame the Opposition Leader when Rowley is the one caught with his pants down. It seems as though PNM supporters still believe Kamla running the country.

          Keith Rowley stood up in parliament and read a set of fake emails. For this mischief he walks free protected by police and DPP. Then there is the $90 million fake oil scandal, again he lawyered up, the police provided with bank account in Florida proudly announced “nothing there”. Now this situation with Maduro and the selling of gas. Let’s see how this one plays out.

          If TnT get sanctions the obviously blame will go to Kamla because Rowley could do no wrong.

  5. “It is the view of the MSJ that the UNC’s position makes them unfit for being the government of Trinidad and Tobago since they will turn us into a semi-client state of the US. We need not state the obvious—we pass the stage when we had a governor, long time ago…”

    The following press statement on Trinidad and Tobago’s alleged facilitation of fuel to Venezuela and, in particular, the subsequent response by UNC MP Dr Roodal Moonilal was submitted to Wired868 by David Abdulah, political leader of the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ):
    https://wired868.com/2020/05/03/msj-backward-and-opportunistic-kamlas-unc-is-acting-like-tts-fifth-column/

  6. THE Opposition’s open courting of sanctions on this country by the United States marks an all-time low in the political history of independent Trinidad and Tobago. Whether one supports the ruling party or not, the letter sent to the US ambassador by United National Congress MP Dr Roodal Moonilal and echoed in a social media post by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, should offend every citizen for having crossed an unforgivable line. Our differences with each other could never be so extreme that we are willing to throw our country and its people under the armada of a superpower.
    https://trinidadexpress.com/opinion/editorials/unc-s-act-of-disgrace/article_fb744186-8da8-11ea-a25e-47269a29583a.html

  7. “If true, our country’s very economic survival is at stake. This since, as our longstanding and greatest global ally, any such rift could gravely damage our very beneficial trade, national security and foreign relations with the United States.” ….Kamla

    Kamla, this statement sounds like a child, dependent on its mother for sustenance and hoping the mother will listen. Let me remind you that Trinidad and Tobago is a sovereign country. I am aware that you and the people you represent may not harbor your identities as true patriots of this country, but rather citizens who earn the right to speak as they please. And this worries me.

    Our constitution does not give the UNC (as Opposition) the right to speak for this country and I’m appalled at the behavior of you and fellow UNC representative Roodal Moonilal inviting the United States to invoke sanctions on our elected government of Trinidad and Tobago. You and your minions do not deserve the votes of right thinking citizens to form a national government.
    Your views are nonsensical in value and do not represent the wishes of most citizens of this country.

  8. This is not a complicated matter. The information regarding the sale is out in the public domain. All government agencies of the countries involved are aware.
    Why was it necessary for Moonilal to send a letter to the US ambassador to T&T requesting an investigation, putting the country at further risk? Is this action patriotic?
    The Opposition is highlighting this matter under the guise of accountability at a time when an election is near for purely political reasons. This is going to backfire. It will be perceived by object observers as an attempt to undermine the country rather than to hold the PM responsible for wrongdoing.
    Kamla’s motives might be honourable, but her strategy for dealing with the matter is severely flawed.
    There are more effective ways to find answers to this fiasco rather than to seek headlines with public letters.
    The Opposition is recognizing the success of the government’s handling of the Covid pandemic and is looking for issues to put themselves back into the limelight. Their failure on this issue is forcing independent supporters to look away from then.
    It is being looked at as bad faith advocacy against your own country.

  9. PM Rowley should have levelled with the population a long time ago and made the case for assisting Venezuela. Trinidad and Tobago should do business with Venezuela under the current Maduro regime.

    Every time the Opposition and the Maduro regime in Venezuela are close to signing an agreement to resolve their differences and to chart a path forward, the US threatens punishment. Most people do not understand that the US’ position on Venezuela is not based on any international law, and as such, we are not obliged to go along. Of course, the PM would also have to ensure that we are not totally dependent on the US and that the population is prepared for additional hardship if the US decides to place sanctions on this country. Past and present governments have left us in this vulnerable position where they stay silent or go along with the US even when they disagree with its actions. We should diversify our economy in such a way as to allow a measure of protection when a rogue country, like the US, decides to squeeze our economy when we demonstrate opposition. This requires a shift in politics and the COVID-19 pandemic offers us an opportunity to make such changes.

    If we put principles aside, the UNC may have hoped that T&T would have been ravaged with COVID-19 to gain the upper hand for the upcoming elections. So far, the country appears to have done satisfactorily; the PNM has done all in its power to remind the public of how lucky it is to have the party at the helm. The UNC would need a seismic event to diminish the Rowley regime in the eyes of the public. Writing to the US was their desperate plea for relevance.

    By genuflecting to the US, the UNC’s position is to side with the bully in the hopes of being favoured by the US for the upcoming elections. The party hopes that the Trump regime would put pressure on our country in such a way as to create more hardship for us so that we may vote for the UNC.

    Anyhow you look at it, T&T is saddled with lousy politicians.

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