How did we get here? How did we end up with a Prime Minister who is prepared to put the country at risk of being subject to US sanctions?
What we know as fact is that Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley welcomed Venezuela Vice President Delcy Rodriguez and a delegation that included at least one official, who, like Rodriguez, is sanctioned by the United States.
We also know they came to T&T on a plane belonging to Venezuela's state oil company Petroles De Venezuela Sud America (PDVSA) that is also subject to US sanctions.
The Opposition has tried to link the delegation’s visit and the reported shipment of gasoline to the Bolivarian Republic, which, it is alleged, came from T&T via Aruba. This is still subject to investigation and for now, no conclusion can be made.
The Prime Minister has tried to defend what happened by denying he knew all the members of the Venezuelan delegation save the Vice President. If this is true, then why are Foreign Minister Dennis Moses and National Security Minister Stuart Young still in the Cabinet, having put the Prime Minister in a position where our Head of Government met individuals without having a clue as to who they all were? Surely, this cannot be plausible and if so is very disturbing.
Secondly, Dr Rowley has tried to play down the seriousness of the US sanction against Venezuela, saying it is a US presidential order and not a UN sanction and therefore not subject to T&T's laws. This may be so, but the US has never suggested it is international law. Rather, the US, which is our second-largest trading partner and the most influential global power, has simply said if a country breaches that order it will impose similar limitations on that country.
We only have to look at the collapse of Venezuela to see the potential impact and risk running afoul of the sanctions can do to realise the danger the PM has placed the country in.
If Dr Rowley really believed this, why did he pull out of the Dragon Deal blaming it on sanctions? Prime Minister, no amount of unseemly attack and going below the dignity of the office to call Mrs Kamla Persad-Bissessar a traitor will change the risk you have put the country at.
Similarly, the attempt by the UNC and its political leader to constantly raise a narrative to get sanctions placed on this country reeks of desperation, in which it matters not what happens to T&T as long as it helps the party's election cause.
One must not forget that as prime minister, Persad-Bissessar supported President Nicolas Maduro and her about-face seems nothing but political expediency.
This is a matter which requires diplomacy and leadership in the interest of Trinidad and Tobago. Unfortunately, we are not getting it from either on this matter.