Mr Weatherhead is being short-sighted | Letters to Editor

NOT believing explanations presented by the Government for a Paria shipment of fuel that ended up in Venezuela, Clyde Weatherhead demanded that the Prime Minister be transparent and tell the truth (Express, May 4).

He likened the Government’s denial of responsibility for the final destination of fuel shipped to Aruba to “the inventor of the nuclear bomb declaring whatever atrocity it is used for, I am not responsible”. Such is the magnitude of the irre­sponsibility Mr Weatherhead attaches to the Government’s position on the fuel deal.

Let us, in a hallucinatory moment induced by the stress of Covid-19 lockdown, imagine the Trinidad and Tobago Government having decided to circumvent US dictates on trading with Venezuela, in order to assist a country crippled in part by unlawful and inhumane sanctions, which have intensified in the time of “corona”. In doing so, the Government struck upon an arrangement to sell fuel to a beleaguered people that seems to absolve it from responsibility for the shipment’s final destination.

In such a case, what exactly is the truth-telling required by Mr Weatherhead? That the Prime Minister appear before the nation and announce a clandestine operation to supply Venezuela with fuel, openly and brazenly courting US sanctions?

And in the aftermath of the announcement, can we also imagine Mr Weatherhead responding, “Oh, Mr PM, why didn’t you tell us that before rather than all this plausible deniability stuff? You should adopt some of the courage shown in my article and let it be known loudly that we are a sovereign people who can trade with whoever we please and who don’t like it, let dem vex.

“I tell you what, Keith, you just spill it all out because I have mobilised civilian forces to defend the republic in anticipation of this moment. I’ll even persuade the Opposition, who threw in the towel before the first bell rang and then volunteered to police our compliance with Trump’s orders, without being asked. I’ll get them off their knees and into a great movement of national unity, in defence of our sovereignty when Trump imposes sanctions.”

I know. Even hallucinations can’t get our minds fully wrapped around this scenario. The hard truth is that none of us is well prepared for the mayhem that the actions of Trump and his lieutenants like Mike Pompeo and Elliott Abrams will unleash in the Caribbean/Latin America region if left unchecked.

Those in T&T who think they can appease the beast by throwing themselves at its feet with bowl in hand have exerted too little effort comprehending its public ruminations on interventions in the region and the geopolitical significance of T&T in these. The personnel charged with US policy and action in the region are to the right of Trump, if you think there is space there.

It is delusional to believe a leader who is prepared to have thousands of his own citizens perish as collateral damage in a pandemic war that must lead to his re-election has your back when you come crawling with gossip on your rivals. Mr Weatherhead does not belong to this category, but he is being short-sighted and irresponsible in demanding that the Government provide alternative explanations to the plausible ones delivered.

David Johnson


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