PM: Int'l pressure on TT a ploy for military intervention in Venezuela
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says the timing of the BBC report on Trinidad and Tobago's handling of the Venezuelan migrant situation, was linked to international efforts to interfere in the Bolivarian Republic's affairs.
He made the announcement on Tuesday as he addressed members of the media on his return from the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
At the media conference, Dr Rowley acknowledged that Trinidad and Tobago is a signatory to the Rio Treaty (1947) which is an agreement between countries in the Western Hemisphere in a mutual defence system. The treaty provides for mutual assistance if an act of aggression threatened the peace of the Western Hemisphere.
According to the Prime Minister, signatories to the Rio Treaty held a vote last week in which they sought to place pressure on Venezuela by putting a vote towards military intervention in the country; an issue he raised with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
"I went to the United Nations [on behalf of CARICOM] to alert the Secretary-General to what was happening with respect to the Rio Treaty being invoked and the threat that it posed taking us back to where we were in January," he said.
"The whole issue of the security of the region is not to be taken for granted because there are powerful forces engaged in seeking to bring about military intervention as a solution to political problems," he continued.
"The kinds of pressure that is brought to bear on Trinidad and Tobago by persons known and unknown, countries known and unknown, is known to the Government. That is why when we saw people misrepresenting our receipt of refugees, we know what that means, we know what that means for Trinidad and Tobago; to portray us as a country harbouring or receiving or bad treating a number of refugees from Venezuela is all part of this whole question of 'how do we get done what we want to get done?'And the timing of certain reportage and certain publications and certain votes and so on, we don't set those timetables others do it."
Reports that T&T produces most ISIS recruits per capita is 'false'
The Prime Minister says he met with the head of the UN's Counter-Terrorism Office while at the United Nations General Assembly as Trinidad and Tobago is known for terrorism worldwide.
He was referring to the US Department of State’s Country Report on Terrorism 2016 which said the twin-island republic had the most number of ISIS recruits per capita in the world.
Dr Rowley says this information is false.
"Some people misrepresent our circumstance again. Some people believe that we are the, on a capita basis, we are the largest supplier of ISIS recruits and so on and so on. We'll have to fight that out and have the facts put before the country. But, we have had people from our country recruited, people are being in touch with externals, some people are radicalized and some support what was, in fact, a major development in the Middle East and we have a responsibility to the people of Trinidad and Tobago to be part of the world's response to terrorism and the counter-terrorism measures and we rely very heavily on the countries that have the resources to monitor both, not only here in Trinidad and Tobago, but our nationals outside of Trinidad and Tobago who might want to participate in this new 21st century development."
He said the UN will host a major counter-terrorism conference in Trinidad and Tobago in 2020 adding that the country will fully cooperate.