National Security Minister Stuart Young has responded to calls made for his resignation over the visit of Venezuelan Vice-President Delcy Rodriguez in late March, saying he sees no reason to resign.
Young made the comment at yesterday’s Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 virtual news conference yesterday, as he was asked about repeated calls for his resignation from the Opposition and one newspaper editorial.
Young said, “My resignation does not arise out of this COVID conversation and the answer is no. Quite frankly, I have not seen the reason for resignation, I’ve listened very carefully, I have noted the quarters they have come from.”
He said he noted corrections made in two daily newspapers of misquotes of his statements on the matter, adding those incorrect statements were the basis of the calls for his resignation.
“The whole misconstruing came from that I was quoted as saying something that was then relied on by our US allies, that is what we were told and that turned out to be wholly false and even after the Hansard was put into the public domain and sent to the media, it was still scoffed over and that repeat of a misquotation of me took place,” Young said.
The calls for Young’s resignation came after US Ambassador Joseph Mondello challenged what Young said in Parliament on May 13 about a conversation he had with Mondello on the Rodriguez visit.
In response to a question, Young said, “We continue to have open channels of communication. In fact, last week the United States Government’s head and top diplomat in Trinidad and Tobago, that is the Ambassador, not any underling who may or may not be speaking to the media, the United States Ambassador, had a conversation with me, as a representative of the Cabinet-level of the Government, and there were other conversations and there was no raising of the breach of any treaty.”
But Mondello broke protocol to respond, saying, “I wish to affirm that I expressed concern to the Minister in that conversation about the consistency of Delcy Rodriguez’s visit to Port-of-Spain with Trinidad and Tobago’s obligations as a party to the Rio Treaty.
“Article 20 of the Rio Treaty makes it unambiguously clear that all measures imposed by the Organ of Consultation—like the travel restrictions on Ms Rodriguez—are binding on all treaty parties, whether or not they voted in favour of such measures.”
But Young countered Mondello’s statement, saying his statements were “misconstrued.”
“I never said that the Ambassador did not raise the visit of Venezuelan Vice-President Delcy Rodriguez nor did I say that the Ambassador did not raise the Rio Treaty. What I said was the breach of the treaty was not raised,” he said.
Young also continued to get internal support yesterday, as Minister of Social Development Camille Robinson-Regis gave him her vote.
In a release, Robinson-Regis, who has been announced as the PNM candidate to contest the Arouca/Maloney constituency in the upcoming general election and is also lady vice-chairman of the party, said, “Minister Young has been subject to an aggressive agenda to discredit his track record of performance by a desperate opposition who propels accusations that are baseless, full of malice and simply untruthful.
“While he may be affectionately known as the Minister of everything, his performance may be better summed up as master of everything as he gives his all in everything he does.”