(Trinidad Guardian) Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has slammed Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar for attempting to tarnish Trinidad and Tobago’s reputation in an attempt to convince the United States to levy sanctions against the country.
Rowley made the comment via a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister yesterday morning, in response to Persad-Bissessar and other UNC MPs recent lobbying for answers in relation to Paria Trading Company’s recent fuel deal with ES Euro Shipping SA, which is owned by Wilmer Ruperti, a long-time sympathiser and supporter of embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
The Paria Fuel shipment went to one of Ruperti’s Aruba subsidiaries but there are reports which suggest Venezuela received a supply from it to the tune of 150,000 barrels.
Both the US State Department and US Embassy here in Trinidad and Tobago are now seeking answers over the deal. They have pointed out that Venezuela remains under an embargo and any country deemed to have facilitated any illegal business deals with them can face sanctions.
Paria Fuel chairman Newman George has stated that the deal was above board and that they did their due diligence in the matter before the sale.
Following is Rowley’s statement on the matter:
Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s rant is not new.
As a desperate and failing Opposition Leader, it has become abundantly clear that it is the UNC’s position that for them to succeed the country must fail. It matters not what they have to do to bring about such failure but fail we must according to them.
For the Opposition Leader to be out front in scaremongering and giving life to rumours that Trinidad and Tobago has dangerously broken US sanctions against Venezuela and we have failed to answer allegations of that nature is as low as Mrs Persad-Bissessar has ever gone.
To undermine the country’s foreign policy is one thing but to invite others to do so is as dastardly and disgusting as it could ever be.
To support a “President Guaidó” that is not acknowledged by CARICOM or the United Nations is one thing but to say that Trinidad and Tobago has not answered the recent allegations is a naked self-serving untruth.
I as Prime Minister, on Wednesday in the Parliament, answered a UNC question and I denied any knowledge of Trinidad and Tobago fuel business making any sales to Venezuela.
The Minister of Energy also responded saying that we sold fuel to Aruba and cannot be held responsible for the end-user of that product.
The chairman of state company Paria also explained how it has transacted business and all of these responses are clear and truthful denials.
Notwithstanding all of this, the Opposition Leader in her desperation for relevance is fuelling unfounded allegations against her own country in the hope that it will result in damaging sanctions which would destroy our economy and our friendly relationship with the United States.
She invites cancellation of visas and a destruction of our economy in support of her Venezuelan President of choice, even as her country steadfastly rely on the rules-based Charter of the United Nations.
If this country had any doubt about who Mrs Persad-Bissessar is and whose interest she serves as Opposition Leader all one has to do is take this disturbing rant for what it is, the dishonest last gasp and gamble of a dangerously delusional woman who will sacrifice her country for a chance at the polls.