Government unaware of Mark’s claims of US concern over extra-judicial killings

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Opposition Senator Wade Mark –

Opposition Senator Wade Mark is claiming that the US is concerned over a spate of extra-judicial killings, in a question he asked in the Senate on Tuesday. However, Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs Dr Amery Browne said the Ministry of National Security was unaware of his claims.

Mark’s question was: “In light of concerns…by the US Government over alleged extra judicial killings…by members of the TTPS, which could hinder this country’s eligibility for US national security assistance, can the minister advise as to the steps being taken to address this situation?”

Browne replied, “The Minister of National Security is unfamiliar with and unaware of the concerns referenced in this particular question, and therefore is not in a position to respond further.”

Mark, in a supplemental question, asked if the minister knew of a US State Department report on the issue of extra judicial killings in TT, which he said should have reached the ministries of National Security and Foreign and Caricom Affairs.

“The question is whether the minister has read the contents of that report from the US State Department dealing with extra judicial killings in TT.”

Browne replied, “The Minister of National Security is unaware and unfamiliar with the concerns referenced in both the question and the supplemental question as posed by the member, and therefore is not able to respond further.”

Mark pressed to ask if the minister did not know of such a report.

Senate President Nigel de Freitas disallowed the question, saying, “That question Senator Mark has already been given.”

Mark did not provide the title, date or online location of any such report. However the US State Department’s 2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Trinidad and Tobago, stated, “There were credible reports that police committed arbitrary or unlawful killings.”

Opposition Senator David Nakhid, in a supplemental question, asked, “Is the minister aware the English cricket team being sequestered at their hotel because of the coming at them?” De Freitas disallowed it, saying, “That question does not arise. It is so far outside of what is relevant.”

Finance Minister Colm Imbert rose to answer another question, but chuckled at Nakhid’s question. “I was just astonished at that last supplemental – about a cricket team,” Imbert said.