THE Prime Minister says there is no diplomatic fall out between this country and Barbados over statements made by National Security Minister Stuart Young criticism of an unnamed Caricom country being used as “a jumping point” by people trying to get to TT while its borders are closed.
At a news conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s on Saturday, Dr Rowley said, “There is no fall out between the Minister of National Security and Barbados. Let me start with that.”
“The relationship between Barbados and TT is as good as it has ever been. TT and Barbados remain very close, brothers and sisters.”
Rowley added, “If there is a difference of opinion on a matter, that is not a fall out.”
For those people who think there is a problem, Rowley said, “I can tell you, you are mistaken.” At a virtual health news conference on August 22, Young said Rowley had instructed Foreign and Caricom Affairs Minister Dennis Moses to write the unnamed country citing this country’s position.
He said the country was asked to respect TT’s decision to close its borders in light of the covid19 pandemic and not allow its good offices be used by people trying to reach TT. Young said TT respected that country’s decision to keep its borders open.
On Friday, the Barbados Foreign Ministry said it was “deeply disturbed” by Young’s statement and described it as “regrettable.”
In a statement, Naparima MP Rodney Charles said the Opposition apologised to Barbados for Young’s comment. Charles criticised Young for being insensitive to the plight of TT nationals stranded overseas.
Last week, 33 TT nationals who were stranded in Barbados for close to a month were allowed to return home and are being kept in isolation pending medical clearance. The group had been on a cruise in South Africa and failed to reach back home before the borders closed on March 23.
Rowley said there are over 330,000 TT nationals overseas and this country must keep its borders closed for the time being as it tries to prevent the spread of the pandemic. He announced the extension of the border closure until May 15.