Tuesday 27 October, 2020

PM defends Belize trip

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says he has taken note of the criticism of some people regarding his travelling.

But says he will continue to travel as it is part of his responsibility as Prime Minister.

Speaking at a news conference upon his return from Belize on Thursday afternoon, Rowley said he was aware of "some idiot" claiming he was travelling for his birthday.

Rowley celebrated his 68th birthday on Tuesday.

He travelled to Belize to attend the IV Caricom-Mexico Summit.

"As soon as this visit was mentioned that I was going to (Belize), I saw a lot of people being exercised by the fact that I was travelling again and of course some idiot had it to say that I was travelling for my birthday," he stated.

"Yes, I know it was my birthday but I don't know that there was any fun travelling from here to Belize on a five hour trip to go to a one day meeting and leaving at 4 o'clock to get back here. This was all work..."

Rowley disputed reports that he has travelled 17 times in the last two years and said he has travelled far less than previous Prime Ministers. He said most of his travels were to attend Caricom meetings.

Others that were personal in nature, were paid for by himself, he said.

He added that his trips to Tobago was not of consequence as he has a home in Tobago and Trinidad and Tobago is one country.

He said T&T is in talks with several foreign nations and once his presence is required there, he would not hesitate to go.

"As a Prime Minister I will not flinch from discharging my responsibility because somebody has something to say about when I travel and where I travel and somebody is counting how often I travel," he said. 

"I will travel as frequently as required for the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago to travel to discharge the duties upon which I have embarked and that are required to be discharged by the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago."

Rowley said the same persons criticising him for travelling to Belize had criticised him for not travelling to the UN General Assembly.

Referring to an Express report that said he was making his 18th trip, Rowley said the media must not give support to misrepresentation.

"Those who are counting can keep on counting," he said.

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