Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 2nd 2018 Contents A20
Monday, April 2, 2018
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The nation is yet to have a credible explanation as to
what really happened regarding proposals to waive
Dominica’s Organisation of American States fees and
the country’s official position on the matter.
The irony in all this is that whoever took issue with
the waiving of the fees had at least a point (shame that
he or she then decided to throw our representative at
the OAS under a diplomatic bus).
Our geographical location means that Caribbean
islands are always exposed to major natural disasters:
hurricanes, earthquakes, flooding or volcanic
eruptions can strike at any time. This is our reality, as
pretty much every country, over the years, can attest.
Ad hoc decisions, even when well intended, can have
unexpected long term consequences. What would be
the criteria, in future years, for similar waiving of fees
to other natural disaster-torn countries? What is the
threshold for help – scale of damage, GDP per capita,
debt levels? Should a joint fund be created to help
nations in distress with their international obligations?
In fact, none of these questions have been answered
and they should be.
Once the Prime Minister emerges from his Easter
break, together with dealing with whoever is
responsible for this diplomatic faux pas, perhaps he
could also explain Trinidad and Tobago’s preferred
policy to help hurricane-ravaged neighbours, with the
ever important detailed criteria. That would go some
way towards fixing the mess.
Pope Francis’ Easter message focused on Syria’s plight,
where its citizens have been going through seven years
of a horrific civil war, with thousands dead and many
In his message, he said he hoped the light of the
risen Christ would ‘illuminate the consciences of all
political and military leaders, so that a swift end may
be brought to the carnage in course; that humanitarian
law may be respected; and that provisions be made to
facilitate access to the aid so urgently needed’.
Although human nature tends to suggest otherwise,
let’s hope he will be heard.
Sometimes the simple things make most sense. This
Easter long weekend, it is a pleasure to see families
enjoying kite flying together in our parks and green
This is more than sentimental longing for an
innocent past that never existed. It’s because better
adults need to enjoy better childhoods, and family
play is a key element to achieve that.
To waive or not to waive
T&T dealt heavy diplomatic blows
governance is rapidly descending.
In these times of degeneration
in social order, one feature that is
emerging is the tendency to suggest
that the military can rescue the day
for failing governance.
In the US and other countries, the
Cabinet and top Executive positions
are increasingly being populated
with military men on the assump-
tion that they are disciplined and will
In our own Government, there are
several such ex-military or quasi-mil-
itary persons, including in our diplo-
The Trump White House and
administration has already demon-
strated the fallacy of this notion of
superior organisational and govern-
ance capability of the military per-
Our Governance needs renewal on
a democratic basis.
Empowering the body politic in de-
cision-making to favour the interests
of the majority is vital to putting an
end to this all-round degeneration.
The collapse in our social structure
reflected in the collapse of our insti-
tutions, in rampant criminality, cor-
ruption and social and moral decay
can only be ended with democratic
renewal of our social and political
processes–our governance arrange-
ing or apologies to the people of
Dominica or the region will solve the
On December 21 last year, at the
United Nations, when the world took
a stand against the US provocation of
recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s cap-
ital and Trump’s decision to relocate
the US Embassy there, T&T repre-
That was a blot on our country’s
proud record in the UN and other-
wise by the positions we have taken
in opposing the US embargo on
Cuba, on Apartheid and other issues.
Such was our prestige in global affairs
that our small country sat at the UN
Security Council and had the respect
of others, large and small.
when in 1983,
we refused to
join other re-
gional nations in egging on the US in
its military intervention in Grenada.
In the UN and now in the OAS, our
diplomatic record is dealt two heavy
Whether the Foreign Affairs inves-
tigation blames any individual for
this latest embarrassment, it is clear
that this is further evidence of the
abyss into which our society and its
or the second time in just
about three months, this
country has been put in
the position of another
episode of diplomatic
At a recent OAS, in contradiction to
the common position of our Caricom
partners, the Trinidad and Tobago
objected to hurricane-ravaged Dom-
inica’s request for a two-year waiver
of it fees to that organisation.
There was an immediate gasp of
horror and condemnation of our
country’s position nationally, region-
ally and further afield.
This week, the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs issued a statement suggesting
that the T&T position stated at the
OAS meeting was “not aligned with
the actions, policy or orientation of
Trinidad and Tobago towards Domi-
If this country’s position presented
by its representative at a hemispheric
body is “not aligned to our country’s
actions, policy or orientation”, then
whose position was it?
No ambassador or representative
at such bodies acts on important mat-
ters like this without direction of the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
But, obviously embarrassed, that
Ministry is now investigating “the
briefing arrangements of T&T’s rep-
resentatives at the OAS meeting”.
What are they saying?
The Ministry or Minister did not
brief the delegation?
The Ministry’s briefing was “taken
out of context?
The delegation acted as renegades
and took this country’s diplomacy
into their own hands?
Whatever the excuse that will
emerge, the fact is that this country’s
diplomacy for the second time in just
three months has embarrassed us as
No amount of blaming and sham-
Rapid Fire Kidz Foundation founder Kevin Ratiram presents a gift to Kaitlyn Lewis during a distribution of gifts and
treats to children at the San Fernando Children’s Hospital, San Fernando, on Saturday, as part of the foundation’s
Easter Holiday gift-giving project.
PICTURE KRISTIAN DE SILVA
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