Friday 25 September, 2020

Young slams media as Rio Treaty issue continues to stir

A defiant Minister of National Security, Stuart Young, is responding to what he referred to as misquotes in media reports regarding whether Trinidad and Tobago's alleged breach of the Rio Treaty was raised in a conversation between him and US Ambassador Joseph Mondello. 

In a Facebook post this morning, the Minister again posted a video showing his response to a question posed to him in the Senate last week. In the video, the Minister says, “there was no raising of a breach of any treaty”.  

Despite the video, Young noted that newspaper reports identified otherwise. 

“The author reported, in direct quotes, that the US Ambassador did not cite the Rio Treaty to complain to me. [redacted] misquoted my response,” he wrote. 

Taking aim at two other daily publications for the same misquote, Young says the consistent violations compelled him to respond. 

“I am compelled to point out and correct these continued attempts to mislead the public by misquoting me so that the record reflects exactly what I said. The previous inaccurate reporting of what I said on May 13, 2020 in the Senate has already led to unnecessary misunderstandings and must not be repeated. I do not expect those who have agendas to mislead to do the right thing, but I don’t expect flagrant irresponsible journalism,” he ended. 

Young’s comments after a media release issued by the US embassy said that the US Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago indicated he and the Minister did discuss the Rio Treaty during a conversation earlier this month. 

The allegations are that Trinidad and Tobago may have been in breach of the Rio Treaty by facilitating a visit paid to Trinidad and Tobago by Venezuelan Vice President, Delcy Rodriguez in March of this year. The release from the US Embassy indicated that "all measures imposed by the Organ of Consultation -- like the travel restrictions on Ms Rodriguez -- are binding on all treaty parties, whether or not they voted in favour of such measures."

Since the VP's visit, the opposition and newspaper editorials have heaped calls for Young's resignation due to the questions surrounding the issues arising from it.

Editor's note: The headline on this article has been changed to reflect that the Minister's comments arose from ongoing conversations on the possible breach of the Rio Treaty.

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