A request by the Opposition to have National Security Minister Stuart Young sent before the Privileges Committee of Parliament has been rejected by Senate President Christine Kangaloo.
Earlier in yesterday’s sitting Opposition Senator, Wade Mark suggested that Young had breached the standing orders and deliberately misled the House last Wednesday, when he spoke about a May 6 conversation with United States Ambassador Joseph Mondello regarding a visit to T&T by Venezuelan Vice-President Delcy Rodriguez which constituted a breach of the Rio Treaty.
At that time, in the Senate, Young said, “... The United States Ambassador had a conversation with me, as a representative of the Cabinet-level of the Government, and there were other conversations had and there was no raising of the breach of any treaty.”
But in a statement on Tuesday, Mondello “affirmed” that he and Young did, in fact, discuss the Government’s March 27 meeting with Venezuela Vice-President and that T&T had breached the Rio Treaty when Rodriguez was allowed to land in the country.
However, in a response to Mondello’s statement, Young said his comments in the Upper House were “misconstrued.”
“I never said that the Ambassador did not raise the visit of Venezuelan Vice-President Delcy Rodriguez nor did I say that the Ambassador did not raise the Rio Treaty. What I said was the breach of the treaty was not raised.”
In giving her decision yesterday, Kangaloo said having “carefully” reviewed the matter and the chronology of events that led to Mark’s motion, “The Minister, having been provided the opportunity by Senator Mark to elucidate on his previous statements made on May the 13th, demonstrated via his response on the 19th of May, 2020, that there was no intention to mislead or deceive the house. There is also no tangible, independently proved confirmation that it was the Minister’s intention to deliberately mislead the house.”
As a result, she said there was no prima facie basis to support a question of privilege.
Earlier, Mark, noting Mondello’s statement, said it appeared Young’s response to Mark’s question in the Senate last week, “wasn’t merely a contradiction of the Ambassador’s statement, but an untruth seeking to mislead the Senate.”
In Senate debate on the Real Estate Agents Bill, Independent Senator Dr Varma Deyalsnigh also said he’d noted “strained relations” between the US and T&T.