Opposition MP Rodney Charles

Gail Alexander

This country desperately needs a visionary leader like Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley given the number of uncontrollable challenges T&T faces and Barbados’ success in overcoming theirs and also because of Barbados’ pace in addressing COVID-19 issues.

UNC MP Rodney Charles said so yesterday as Caricom leaders, including Mottley, attended the 32nd Caricom Inter-Sessional Meeting.

T&T Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley who is Caricom’s chairman this year chaired the virtual meeting.

Charles said, “For example, after being on the European Union’s blacklist since October last, Barbados two days ago was removed from the blacklist of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes. While T&T, despite all the tax legislation brought to Parliament by our Attorney General, still remains blacklisted.”

He said Barbados is also better placed to vaccinate over 39 per cent of its population against COVID-19.

“T&T by contrast, at this time, is expected to vaccinate only 3.9 per cent of its population (50,000 citizens) through the COVAX arrangement whenever those vaccines arrive.”

“Barbados has already, in addition to the 108,000 vaccinations from the COVAX facility, sourced a gift of over 100,000 doses from India. Two thousand of these have been gifted to T&T. This country is way behind Barbados and even Dominica as reportedly we haven’t yet contacted India to access the free gift facility.”

He said, on COVID tests conducted to date T&T has tested 6.8 per cent of its population, Barbados 42.4 per cent.

“TT’s Government has already withdrawn US$1.2 billion to treat with COVID. Barbados by contrast has done a much better job with no equivalent reduction in their savings.”

He also said Mottley had assisted stranded T&T citizens “better than our own Government.”

“Barbados rose to the occasion in March last year when they magnanimously accommodated our stranded citizens left to their own devices by T&T Security Minister Stuart Young while on their return flight from London.”

“Barbados’ Attorney General Dale Marshall commented then that Barbados made a ‘humanitarian decision’ to assist.”

Charles added that on an international scale, travel advisories give T&T much worse ratings than Barbados.

“The latest US advisory on Barbados only warns about Covid restrictions – not crime.”

“ It’s clear that PM Mottley has what it takes to deal with the myriad challenges facing small Caribbean states. PM Keith Rowley clearly does not.”