Big issues from Post-Cabinet media briefing
In case you missed it, here are the highlights from today’s Post-Cabinet media conference. According to Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs and the Office of the Prime Minister, Stuart Young:
- The Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (GoRTT) has dedicated significant time and resources toward ensuring that the energy sector is returned to stability. This is evident in the conclusion of upstream and downstream contract renegotiations, NGC and CNC negotiations, discussions involving the Dragon field, among others. The GoRTT continues to have good relationships with all parties and have been providing periodical reports over time. Moreover, international legal firms have been retained and the GoRTT has appointed an Empowered Negotiation Team in order to facilitate the best possible revenue deals for T&T. Trinidad and Tobago's Empowered Negotiation Team will be led by the Minister of Energy and Energy Industries, Franklin Khan. Other members are the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, President of NGC, Mark Loquan, Consultant, Leroy Mayers, senior energy advisor - Richard Jeremy, representative of law firm White and Case LLP, representative of Poten & Partners: Energy And Ship Brokerage, local attorney Richard Beckles, Wendell Mottley and Young.
- Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley had a telephone discussion earlier this week with the Secretary General of the United Nations and made Trinidad and Tobago's position on repatriation of Venezuelan nationals very clear. Young said Trinidad and Tobago, as a sovereign state, did everything in accordance with the country's laws. As such, the GoRTT is aggrieved by the UN’s critical statement as there are approximately 40,000 Venezuelans migrants living in T&T who are presently being treated with dignity and respect. A high level UN team from Geneva is to be dispatched to further evaluate the matter. The Prime Minister has also submitted a written expression of Trinidad and Tobago’s position. Young maintained that this country has an excellent record with the UN and this incident ought not be a blot on it.
- The GoRTT has re-filed its case in the Eden Gardens matter following the judge’s reversal of her orders last month. The case, which treats with bribery and breaches in fiduciary duty in the purchase of the Eden Gardens land, included a lengthy process of following the money involved. However, the GoRTT will not engage in any grandstanding; rather, the defendants will have their day in court.
- GoRTT is not presently considering a moratorium on persons who are here illegally. However Trinidad and Tobago will not provide sanctuary for illegal activity. GoRTT takes these matters very seriously as seen by Cabinet’s recent approval to improve conditions of the detention centre.
- As it relates to the issue of the Charlotte Street vendors, there was inadequate consultation between the POS Corporation and the affected vendors. GoRTT, through the Ministry of Rural Development & Local Government interceded in order to facilitate greater consultation & resolution.
- The GoRTT congratulates members of the media on World Press Freedom Day 2018. The GoRTT recognises their very important mandate to defend the public interest. Public consultation on legislation before the Parliament, which may affect the media, continues. The AG is leading this process, nothing will be forced down your throats.
- This matter involving Cambridge Analytica was placed before a Parliament JSC, however opposing members refused to cooperate. As revelations continue to be made, the GoRTT will wait to see how it unfolds.
- Some social media posts have been very disturbing on the issue surrounding Minister Maxie Cuffie’s illness and recovery. Young reminded the public that the Minister is a human being. He said the pictures which were shared confirmed that Minister Cuffie is making progress and appealed to the public to find the humanity in themselves, and put themselves in Cuffie's shoes. He said the Government has made arrangements for Cuffie's constituency and is not afraid of a by-election