Yesterday, two of Trinidad and Tobago's top minds added their voices to a growing call to the Government to do what it must to mend the relationship with the United States in the wake of a visit to this country by Venezuela Vice-President Delcy Rodriguez and an ensuing firestorm that has resulted in the US Ambassador penning an open criticism of National Security Minister Stuart Young's version of a conversation they had on the matter on May 6.
When luminaries Martin Daly and Reginald Dumas speak, they bring years of experience and knowledge from positions of diplomacy to law and public service to the table. Mr Daly and Mr Dumas told the public they are "deeply concerned" about the current situation, which has the potential to "gravely damage our country."
Over the past three days, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has been conspicuous in his silence on this potential threat to the country.
Today makes it six days since he last addressed the nation directly. Last Saturday at a media briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, the PM refused to answer questions about the issues surrounding Rodriguez's visit, a matter in which he and Mr Young are becoming more deeply embroiled in with every day that passes.
The PM's communications since then have been brief, delivered from a distance. A Facebook post about gardening on Wednesday, just as the diplomatic fall-out with the United States was descending to a new low insulted the intelligence of every fair-minded citizen of this country.
Yesterday, the Cabinet met but there was no accounting to the nation through a media briefing.
Deliberately ignoring the turmoil that is increasing in intensity, Dr Rowley chose instead to send a social media post about being awarded $350,000 from a defamation lawsuit against an opposition activist.
The PM's deafening silence about the blatant discrepancies in Minister Young’s statements about Rodriguez's visit and the political storm building since then is totally unacceptable!
This is not a matter that will fade into oblivion. Not when both men have been unable to dispel claims of a breach of the Rio Treaty, a hemispheric defence pact to which T&T has been a signatory since 1967.
The potential for this situation to develop into a full-fledged crisis, with serious consequences for this country, is hardly a matter that can be swept aside. It cannot be business as usual---something that a man with Dr Rowley’s political experience should know very well.
The Prime Minister, as head of this administration, must face the nation and address the issue. There is too much at stake and the PM must say how he plans to fix this situation We could not have put it better than Dumas and Daly, who said: "While Minister Young is pedantically insisting that the Ambassador did not use the word "breach", if the Ambassador spoke of the "consistency" of the Venezuelan Vice President's visit with Trinidad and Tobago's obligations under the Rio Treaty, what other than a breach could he have possibly meant?"