BARBADOS’S Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Ministry says it is “deeply disturbed” by statements National Security Minister Stuart Young made about its handling of Trinidad and Tobago citizens who were left stranded there when the borders closed.
In a statement on Friday, the ministry said it was “regrettable” that Young would issue a public statement pointing to countries “which failed to respect” TT’s border policies.
At a Ministry of Health virtual media briefing last week on the Government’s covid19 measures, Young said TT citizens oversees were using a particular Caricom country as “a jumping point” to enter TT while its borders are closed. He did not name the country.
Young also said the Prime Minister had instructed Foreign and CaricomAffairs Minister Dennis Moses to write to the country that TT nationals and non-nationals were trying to use to enter TT.
While TT respected that country’s right to keep its borders open, Young said, it was asked to respect TT’s decision to close its borders. That country, Young continued, was also asked not to “permit your good offices to be used by those who wish to compromise our current border measures.”
In its statement, the Barbados Foreign Affairs Ministry said, “Minister Young (implied) that the Government of Barbados was one of such countries.
“The reality is that, in the absence of a representative of Trinidad based in Barbados, the Government of Barbados did no more nor less than simply convey to Port of Spain requests for assistance made by citizens of TTwho were stranded in Barbados.
“This diplomatic correspondence, issued to the TT Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs, was in keeping with the norms of recognised international humanitarian practice. In this regard, Barbados acted on the basis of a sincere regard for the welfare of the nationals of a sister Caricom country,” the statement said.
The ministry’s release was published on the Barbados Government Information Service (GIS) website on Friday.
In its response to Young’s statements, the Barbados Foreign Affairs Ministry defended its handling of the TT nationals.
The group returned home on Tuesday and is under quarantine.
The Barbados government took them in as they were not allowed to enter TT on March 23 because borders were closed on March 22. They had flown in from London on their way back from a cruise that sailed from Dubai earlier in March.
The Barbados ministry said it was “therefore deeply disturbed that this action has been framed as a national security matter.
“Barbados continues to treasure the strong fraternal relationship and partnership it enjoys with the Republic of TT.”
It also referred to statements by TT’s Prime Minister at last week’s special emergency meeting of Caricom heads of government, at which Dr Rowley said: “If ever Caricom must speak for the people it is now. The antidote to the pandemic is Caricom.”
Barbados’s statement said it was regrettable that a week later, Young would issue his public statement about countries failing to respect TT’s border policy.
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