Statement by Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade re: Assistance to Trinidad and Tobago nationals stranded in Barbados against background of COVID-19.
At last week’s Special Emergency Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government, the Honourable Dr. Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, made the wise and profound statement that, “If ever CARICOM must speak for the people it is now. The antidote to the pandemic is CARICOM “.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados therefore finds it regrettable that almost exactly one week later, the Minister of National Security of Trinidad and Tobago, the Honourable Stuart R. Young, would issue a public statement making reference to countries which have failed to respect the border policy of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago; and which, in his words, have permitted their good offices to be used by persons who are intent on compromising Trinidad and Tobago’s current border measures.
Minister Young inferred that the Government of Barbados was one of such countries. The reality is that, in the absence of a representative of Trinidad based in Barbados, the Government of Barbados did no more nor less than simply convey to Port-of-Spain requests for assistance made by citizens of Trinidad and Tobago who were stranded in Barbados.
This diplomatic correspondence, issued to the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs, was in keeping with the norms of recognised international humanitarian practice. In this regard, Barbados acted on the basis of a sincere regard for the welfare of the nationals of a sister CARICOM country.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados is therefore deeply disturbed that this action has been framed as a national security matter.
Barbados continues to treasure the strong fraternal relationship and partnership it enjoys with the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.