The Trinidad Guardian / Even as Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley waits on a report on the circumstances that led to T&T’s representative at the Organisation of American States (OAS), Ambassador Anthony Phillip-Spencer to vote against Dominica’s bid to waive its OAS contributions for 2018 and 2019, a copy of a memorandum, obtained by the T&T Guardian, surfaced yesterday stating that T&T’s Mission in Washington had suggested to the Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs in T&T, that this country should support Dominica’s bid.
Note 4 of the memo dated March 22 stated: “The Mission is of the view that the Commonwealth of Dominica should be supported as a fellow Caricom Member-State that has been subject to the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria.”
“In this regard, the Mission would like to seek the guidance of the Ministry on this matter in advance of tomorrow’s Regular Meeting of the Permanent Council which is set to begin at 2.30pm on March 23, 2018.”
The ministry has since claimed that T&T’s position offered by Ambassador Phillip-Spencer was “misrepresented.”
Foreign Affairs Minister Dennis Moses had said in an interview that T&T supported Dominica’s bid to waive the fees.
Moses had said, “Our position is not in variance with what was being sought by the country concerned.
What was being sought by the country and agreed upon across the board we are not at variance with that position.”
In a telephone interview yesterday, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar called on the Government to explain why T&T representative at the Organisation of American States (OAS), Phillip-Spencer declined to support Dominca’s bid to waive its OAS contributions for 2018 and 2019.
Persad-Bissessar noted that the Mission was in support of Dominica waiving its OAS contribution for 2018 and 2019, and yesterday questioned why a different decision was made.
She said, “In that memo it states that they (the Mission) recommended and that T&T support the resolution by Dominica. What happened when that recommendation was made by the Washington Mission?
What happened thereafter where our representative at Washington had an about-turn.”
She added that the Ambassador may be a “scapegoat” for the ministry given the March 22 memorandum.
“I do believe that they are trying to throw a public official under the bus with this. He is a man that has served our country very well, he has a very long history of service to T&T.
In terms of having seen that memo our Mission was recommending that we support Dominica, so what happened between that (on March 22) and the action taken (on March 23)?”
Describing the action as hypocritical, Persad-Bissessar said on one hand when the hurricane occurred Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley had said open your homes for Dominican nationals who were affected by the hurricane, but then on the next hand T&T was not supportive of Dominca’s bid to waive the fees.
Phillip-Spencer had reportedly said after the meeting that T&T would instead consider supporting either the deferral of payments of contributions by member states and where possible the implementation of a payment plan.
The ministry, in its statement said, “In an unqualified way the Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs regrets the misrepresentation of the position of T&T offered by a public official of T&T during a meeting of the OAS’ Permanent Council relative to a request from Dominica for a waiver of its financial contribution to that organization for 2018 to 2019.”
The ministry confirmed that an investigation into the briefing arrangements of the public official and the circumstances involved in the discussion at the OAS is underway.
It stated its unwavering support for Dominica.
SEE Editorial on Page A18
Kamla: They’re trying to throw diplomat under the bus
Con Información de The Trinidad Guardian
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