Sunday 17 December, 2017

PM slams ‘political mischief’ over China trip

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley slammed ‘mischief’ raised by Naparima MP Rodney Charles and refuted his allegations that the Government of China withdrew a recent invitation to Dr Rowley to meet with them.

He was answering a question put forward by Naparima MP Rodney Charles in Parliament on Friday.

Since there was no official visit there could be no withdrawal. The mischief that the member is aiming to make is with respect to a conference that I had been invited to by the President of China, subsequent to the Chinese Congress. Immediately after Congress, I received an invitation to attend a multi-head conference led by the Chinese authorities.”

“Apparently that conference has since been re-thought and reviewed and the event is apparently not taking place any longer, and since I have been invited to something which has been removed from the programme, clearly there could be no withdrawal,” he said.

He said that the Chinese government has since invited him on an official visit in early 2018.

“The mischief of the withdrawal of the invitation should end here and stop embarrassing the Chinese…there are other ways of making political mischief, leave the Chinese government and people out of this."

"I cannot, for the life of me, see why any official in this country, especially a Parliamentarian, would want to be so misrepresenting [sic] this matter and embarrass a major partner of Trinidad and Tobago," Dr Rowley said.

Charles then requested that Dr Rowley make the diplomatic invitation available to the public, to which Dr Rowley replied that the Office of the Prime Minister had already conveyed the information to the public.

The Government of China extended an invitation to Dr Rowley in October series of high-level talks with other state leaders, however, Ambassador Song Yumin, made a recent to Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General and extended an invitation to the Prime Minister to pay an Official Visit to China next year instead.

A statement on Wednesday confirmed that Dr Rowley had accepted the invitation for next year, replacing the original invitation.