Young hits UNC claims on Delcy Rodriguez’s 2020 visit

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

FLASHBACK: Minister of Energy Stuart Young with Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodríguez during Young’s visit to Venezuela on November 4, 2023. –

Energy Minister Stuart Young has slammed the Opposition UNC for continuing to perpetuate a false narrative that Government invited Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez to come to TT during the pandemic for discussions.

Young made his feelings known in a Facebook post after statements by Opposition Senator Anil Roberts in the Senate on November 28, and then at a news conference at the UNC’s headquarters in Chaguanas on December 1.

“Once again, the UNC opposition has created a fake and false narrative which they are busy spreading,” Young said in his FB post.

The minister supported his position by providing Hansard extracts of what he and Roberts had said in the Senate on November 28.

Young said the content of Roberts’ Senate contribution was the same at the subsequent news conference.

“The first blatant untruth that can clearly be seen, is that at no time did I ever state that I invited the Vice President of Venezuela to Trinidad and Tobago during covid.”

Young said, “When the Vice President of Venezuela requested to come to Trinidad and Tobago to meet with the Honourable Prime Minister I granted permission for her so to do as the Minister of National Security, as the borders were closed.”

He added, “The more offensive untruth and wholly unacceptable false narrative that is being spread by the UNC opposition including Anil Roberts and David Lee, MP, is that I have said that the meeting held on March 2020 between the Vice President of Venezuela, Delcy Rodríguez, the Honourable Prime Minister and myself involved the Dragon gas field.”

Young said, “This is not so, I have never said this and in fact, no such conversation ever took place at that meeting in March 2020.”

He reiterated, “I stand by what I said in 2020 about the said meeting with Vice President Rodríguez and what I carefully said in the Senate this (last) week.”

What Young said:

Energy Minister Stuart Young’s Senate contribution on November 28, at 3.30 pm:

“When we were in the middle of covid and our borders were closed and the Vice President of Venezuela who remains the Vice President today, Delcy Rodríguez, wrote to us diplomatically and said, ‘I would like to come to Trinidad and Tobago,’ and I as the Minister of National Security on the advice of the Prime Minister, allowed the Vice President of Venezuela to come (to) Trinidad and Tobago.

The Opposition led the charge on behalf of (then Venezuelan Opposition head) Guaidó who, they do not know where he is today, to say that the Prime Minister – they wrote to the United States Government – that Prime Minister Keith Rowley and Stuart Young should be sanctioned. That is the behaviour of the Opposition, to undermine what is being done for the people of Trinidad and Tobago. We pressed on.”

What Roberts said:

Opposition Senator Anil Roberts’ Senate contribution, November 28, at 5 pm

“The honourable Minister of Energy and Energy Industries who was then the honourable Minister of National Security said that he had no idea who was coming, what they were coming to talk about, that Delcy Rodriguez was in charge of (the) covid response, that she came to get hampers for Venezuelans, all of that.

But today on Hansard, the honourable Minister of Energy boasted that back then, the negotiations for Dragon field were going on and during covid he invited Delcy, he and the Prime Minister invited Delcy Rodriguez.

They came here to discuss Dragon gas, they came here to discuss energy, he said so today. But back in 2020, he was telling a different story. He say he did not know how they reached. He say he did not know the place was sanctioned. He doh do dat, is a public servants. That was his statement. But today we get the truth, you understand?”