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    October 23

  • 03:41 PM

Dominica PM to speak with his Trinidad counterpart following OAS vote 


Added 02 April 2018


Dominica's Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit. (FILE)

BRIDGETOWN  – Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit is expected to speak with his Trinidad and Tobago counterpart, Dr Keith Rowley on Monday as the two countries seek to renew their “solid” relationship that might have come under strain following the decision by Port of Spain not to back a waiver Roseau had been seeking on its assessed quota contribution to the Organization of American States (OAS) for the 2018-2019 period.

“We will speak today,” Prime Minister Skerrit told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) in a WhatsApp message after he was asked whether or not he had spoken to Rowley or had intention to meet with him since the OAS issue meeting late last month.

Skerrit had earlier in a Whatsapp message to the host of a television show in Trinidad and Tobago, indicated that the relationship between the two Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries “is still solid” and that “The Trinidad and Tobago government and indeed the whole of TT have been very supportive of our efforts.

“I do not think that the PM would have been aware of the vote at the OAS prior. This is one of the usual miscommunication occurrences which happens to all of us from time to time,” he said.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Ambassador to the OAS, Anthony Phillip Spencer, said despite the “goodwill” expressed by the other delegations, including those from the (CARICOM), his country would not support the waiver, adding that Port of Spain would instead consider supporting either the “deferral of payments of contributions by member states and where possible the implementation of a payment plan”.

Dominica is recovering from the destruction caused by the passage of Hurricane Maria on September 18 last year and the island had gone to the OAS meeting here last week urging member countries to approve of the waiver estimated at US$20,000 annually.

Dominica’s alternate representative to the hemispheric body, Judith-Anne Rolle, told the Special Meeting of the Permanent Council on March 23 that the post disaster assessment situation in Dominica undertaken in collaboration with a number of regional and international organisations, including the World Bank and the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) had painted a very dismal picture of the island.

“The post disaster needs assessment also concluded that Hurricane Maria resulted in total damages of US$931 million and losses of US$382 million to the productive, social, infrastructure and cross cutting sectors amounting to 226 per cent of the GDP gross domestic product) of 2016,” she told the meeting.

Last week, the Trinidad and Tobago government said “a suggestion by a public servant at an OAS meeting that Dominica’s dues not be collected at this time but be deferred to some future time in no way reflects any change in the demonstrated concern of Trinidad and Tobago for the welfare of the people of Dominica”.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it regretted the “misrepresentation of the position of Trinidad and Tobago offered by a public official of Trinidad and Tobago” and that an investigation has since been launched into the matter.

It promised that a “report, as requested, would be made available to the Honourable Prime Minister.

“Trinidad and Tobago’s solidarity with the people of Dominica is without question. The actions, cooperation – be it technical, financial or diplomatic – with Dominica and advocacy overtime, most recently in the advent and aftermath of hurricanes, Erika and Maria attest to the strong and abiding relationship between Dominica and Trinidad and Tobago.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the “position presented at the OAS is not aligned with the actions, policy or orientation of Trinidad and Tobago towards Dominica.

“The unswerving commitment of Trinidad and Tobago is that the fraternal bond between CARICOM member states and peoples of the Caribbean continue to be further strengthened.”

In his Whatsapp message, Prime Minister Skerrit said “we in Dominica are heartened and touched by the continued love, care and concern which TT continues to demonstrate towards us and this transcends all strata of society including political parties.

“Much thanks from we (us) in Dominica,” he added. (CMC)



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