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posted 28 Mar 2018, 11:29 by Gerry Kangalee

The National Workers Union (NWU) expresses its bewilderment and disgust at the position adopted by the government of Trinidad and Tobago in opposing the request by the government of the Commonwealth of Dominica to waive membership dues of the Organisation of American States (OAS) for two years because of the difficult situation in which Dominica finds itself in the aftermath of the massive destruction suffered by our Caribbean neighbour from Hurricane Maria.

The NWU is bewildered because this is the same government that extended assistance in the immediate wake of the hurricane and offered sanctuary and school places to Dominicans. The NWU is disgusted because this unexplained action by the government will surely enhance the image of Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean as one of arrogance and fecklessness.

The National Workers Union calls upon the government to explain its stance in this matter, being the only country to oppose Dominica’s request. We wish to point out that when it comes to foreign policy, government (of which ever political party) and the present invisible foreign minister seem to believe that citizens have no right to consultation, information or explanation as to what our country’s stance should be on foreign policy issues or why the government adopts particular positions. The craven abstention of the government on the United Nations vote censuring the USA for its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel springs to mind.

Government seems to subscribe to the view that it is the only entity that should have access to information that could be critical to the present and future well-being of the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago. The much touted concepts of transparency and accountability go out of the window, it seems, when it comes to foreign policy.

The NWU reminds that nation that on 2013-06-04, the we called upon the government to publish the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) it signed with the United States in May 2013, which by all accounts would have given the United States armed forces extraordinary privileges in Trinidad and Tobago, a worrying development given the USA’s military threats and aggression toward Venezuela.

We wish to further remind the population that on 2013-09-24 the NWU called upon the government to publish the memorandum of agreement between the governments of T&T and Venezuela concerning the Loran Manatee gas field. They have never done so.

It is time that the veil is removed and the government take the citizenry into its confidence on foreign policy issues, which in many respects are as critical to our survival as domestic policy positions. There is no better time to do so than now, by explaining the thinking behind the government’s stance on Dominica’s request.