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What's the PM doing?
In Response To: Manning meets Sharon *LINK* ()

Dookeran, Valley clash over foreign trip

By Gail Alexander
Saturday 26th November, 2005

UNC political leader Winston Dookeran yesterday clashed in Parliament with Trade Minister Ken Valley over the Government's failure to give details of the Prime Minister's current overseas trip.

The episode occurred during Dookeran's contribution to debate on a bill to facilitate trade between Cuba and Caricom states.

Valley, who had earlier piloted the bill, was irked by Dookeran's complaint that the public was in the dark about the agenda of Prime Minister Patrick Manning's three-state trip.

Manning is visiting Israel, Malta and London before returning on December 2.

Dookeran said it seemed to have been an inappropriate time for Manning to visit Israel, since he arrived when Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was making a major announcement about his political career.

"All we hear is that he (Manning) went to discuss crime," Dookeran said.

"This is an indictment on the way we conduct foreign policy and contempt for the people, since the agenda of his trip should have been shared and discussed.

"It should have been done to withstand the test of Parliament to which we pay so much lip service."

Dookeran said it was important that the public be apprised of the agenda of any trip by the Prime Minister, since commitments might be made by him which could have an influence on the public.

"And we have no idea... we're given scant information," he added.

Displeased with the way this aspect of foreign policy was handled by the Government, Dookeran noted Manning was also continuing from Israel to Malta to the Commonwealth Heads of Government conference.

"And again we have no idea of the agenda and if T&T will be supporting any policies at the conference... I hear poverty is being discussed," he said.

Valley appeared to have had enough by that point.

He asked if the NAR's prime minister had divulged details of his trips to the public when Dookeran was a government minister in that administration.

Dookeran replied that even if it wasn't so then, he was speaking about current times when the public has greater participation in matters.

"Why wasn't it done then?" Valley then burst out.

His outburst caused UNC MP Kamla Persad-Bissessar to interject just as loudly: "Don't shout down the place! Ken, you should know better than that!"

Speaker Barry Sinanan had to call for order briefly when the interlude caused rumbling complaints from the UNC benches.

Dookeran, who noted Valley was getting annoyed about the query, reiterated that he couldn't discuss if such disclosure was made in the 1980s under the NAR, since this was a different time.

Valley said an issue of credibility was involved.

But Dookeran, who said Valley had no reason to be upset, added that he didn't see why it was "so sacrilegious" for a prime minister to be open about his meetings.

2004-2005 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

Messages In This Thread

Manning meets Sharon *LINK*
Re: Manning meets Sharon
Manning holds talks with Ariel Sharon of Israel *LINK*
Trinidad & Israel: Commentaries
What's the PM doing?
NAR criticises PM for visit to Israel
Trinidad and Tobago News

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