Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has accused a sitting MP of “touting” to find T&T nationals who remain stranded abroad and basing assurances of re-entry on the premise that their constitutional rights are being violated by the State.
Referring to the issue during Saturday’s media briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, Rowley did not call names but alluded to an individual who has had some legal training.
The comments followed on the heels of a statement by National Security Minister Stuart Young regarding the return of T&T nationals who remain scattered across the globe, as he explained that local repatriation efforts are being done on a phased and controlled basis.
Rowley said there were people taking advantage of the opportunity to be “two-faced” at this time.
“In one breath, they are calling for action opposite to what the Government is doing…holding themselves out as wanting to participate in the management of this crisis, but behind your back, they are moving heaven and earth to create problems for T&T,” he said.
“There is one particular Member of Parliament who has legal training of some sort and jumps out here publicly, calling for all kinds of cooperation with the Government but behind your back, he is writing and seeking out people abroad. Touting, that is what it is called, and telling people that the Government is violating their constitutional rights and he can get them into T&T because a denial of entry is a breach of their constitutional rights.”
To the unnamed MP whom he claimed was an organiser of this category of people and whose relatives were being encouraged to protest for their return to T&T, Rowley said “COVID-19 does not respect anybody’s constitutional right and all that we are doing in T&T is to protect the lives of the people of T&T, and if it is that their contribution is to encourage people to demand their right, expect that the Government of T&T will resist in the protection of the 1.3 million people within our border.”
He lamented the lack of support by colleagues in T&T during a time such as this.
Ramadhar: T&T nationals homeless in other countries
Meanwhile, in a release Saturday, St Augustine MP Prakash Ramadhar claimed there were T&T nationals abroad now living on the streets as they could no longer afford accommodations in some of the countries where they have been stranded since March.
Ramadhar said he had received reports from people who are now in public shelters in the US because they no longer have places to stay.
Ramadhar claimed they were “basically homeless and stateless in other countries.”
He added that they now faced all forms of torture in terms of their physical health, the lack of medical attention, and the lack of money to buy food.
Ramadhar signalled his intention to go to court if need be, to force the Government to reopen the borders. The borders have been closed since March 23 but exemptions have been granted for the gradual return of nationals during that time to present.