T&T declines Dominica's request for waiver of OAS contributions
Anthony Phillips-Spencer, T&T's representative at the OAS
Trinidad and Tobago refusal to support Dominica’s request for a waiver contribution at the Organisation of American States has left that country’s representative in disbelief.
At a Special Meeting of the Council on March 23, Dominica requested a waiver of its contributions for 2018 and 2019 based on the economic challenges the country still faces six months after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.
In her presentation, Judith Ann Rolle, Dominica’s Interim Representative said the hurricane has negatively affected the island’s economy with output expected to decline as much as 16 percent in 2018 and reduce the tax base, worsening the fiscal balance for the next two years.
She said all sectors were heavily affected, with agriculture, tourism and transportations sectors taking the biggest hits.
“Following the passage of Hurricane Maria, the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica embarked on a review of all affected areas with a view of identifying and implement sustainable ways of mitigating the impact to those areas. In assessing its international obligations the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica has identified as a mitigating measure, waiver facilities of its annual contribution over a specified period to address its commitment to international organisations. It is in this regard we have forwarded a request for a full waiver of quota contributions assessed to the Commonwealth of Dominica for 2018 and 2019,” she said.
While all other member countries agreed to the waiver, T&T did not.
T&T representative Anthony Phillips-Spencer said T&T is unable to facilitate an increase in contributions and suggested that Dominica defer payment or submit to a payment plan.
“Given the explanations provided by the chair of the cap, this delegation must advise distinguished colleagues that at other multilateral fora in the hemisphere Trinidad and Tobago has had to explicitly state its concern for the overall impact of adjustments in the established arrangements for quota contributions. In doing so Trinidad and Tobago has offered the proposal, the opportunity, the option for consideration of deferral of payments of contributions by member states and where possible the possibility of a payment plan subject to a review of course,” he said.
A seemingly baffled Rolle, in thanking member states for their support of the request which was approved, said she was unsure of the concern by T&T and needed clarity.
Following the passage of Hurricane Maria, T&T offered refuge to Dominican residents, sent troops to man the port in Dominica as well as food items and equipment.
Calls to T&T's Foreign Affairs Minister Dennis Moses were not answered.