The UNC’s open courtship of sanctions on Trinidad and Tobago by the United States, as it relates to the US investigation into the now controversial sale of 150,000 barrels of gasoline by State-owned Paria Fuel Trading Company destined for Aruba.
It is now alleged to have ended up in US sanctioned Venezuela in US efforts to oust its embattled President, Nicolas Maduro from power and have him replaced with its preferred candidate Juan Guido, is indeed a cause for grave concern since such misguided actions on the part of a government in waiting can send the wrong signal which can be perceived as an invitation for US to intervene in our country’s internal affairs.
T&T’s general elections is only a few months away and the UNC with its back up against a wall seems to be grabbing at straws in order to secure a much sought after victory. As it stands now, the only hope for the party to gain some much needed political ground is for the PNM Government, in light of its favourable ratings locally and rankings in the international arena for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic is to make a big misstep.
Therefore, it is not far fetched to think perhaps the UNC recognising that it cannot solely rely on the race factor to score a victory, is now placing its political come back on a negative outcome of this US investigation. If this is true, it is indeed a sad day for adversarial politics in the life of our country. T&Ts electorate is now a well-informed one which does not need a reminder from the Opposition, or any government detractors as to what form any threatened US sanctions would take, inclusive of visa restrictions and trade embargoes, so what is the UNC really advocating?
It all boils down to stirring the pot of fear-mongering, putting politics above the country while the country suffers on account of COVID-19. It is for the most part, a disingenuous ploy aimed at portraying itself to the US super power for the time being as a most useful and trusted ally against Maduro, but embraced him prior to losing the 2015 general elections. Its open courtship of sanctions is no doubt aimed at undermining the Rowley administration, even if it means undermining T&T’s sovereignty as well, just for the sake of winning an election, but afterwards would have to intricately step aside when it finds itself in government having to interface with Venezuela as a neighbouring country with Maduro still at the helm, thus embracing him once more.
The customary problem of pirate attacks on T&T fishermen as well as their habitual encounter with Venezuela’s Guardia Nacional border control is one such example, since a UNC in government in any rescue mission of T&T nationals will have no choice but to use the same much criticised PNM diplomatic approach in dealing with what will then become for them a very tricky diplomatic situation to navigate.
T&T’s foreign policy of non-alignment and non-interference in the internal and domestic affairs of another sovereign state has always been jealously guarded by all T&T governments. It has served us well since our independence.
In the case of our neighbouring Venezuela and its current impasse with US, it is critical for the Caribbean to remain a zone of peace by maintaining friendly bilateral relations with both the US and Venezuela and help secure a peaceful resolution which T&T and other member states of Caricom speaking with one voice, is currently engaged in through a Caricom declaration on non-interference and non-intervention for a peaceful resolution initiative.
Therefore, it is expected that the ongoing investigations by the US on this matter will clear the T&T government of any wrong doing as the government has already made it abundantly clear that there was none.
Moreover, Dr Rowley got elected because he is a truth teller, therefore if you don’t want the truth you don’t want him. It is as simple as that! If the Opposition intended purpose is to score an election victory by any means necessary, for all intent and purpose then this should be seen for what it truly is, an extreme act of desperation and deception on its part.