Trinidad and Tobago PM clarifies Commonwealth – CARICOM election observation ‘lime’ talk

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Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, centre, together with some of his guests during a virtual “lime” event broadcast on his Facebook page on Friday night.

By Caribbean News Global contributor

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad — Prime minister, Dr Keith Rowley, apparently had some time to come to his senses following  Friday night virtual “lime” event and upon revision issues a statement Sunday, in an attempt to “clarifying the facts surrounding the invitations extended to the Commonwealth and to CARICOM, to consider sending Election Observation Missions for the general election Monday, August 10, 2020.”

However, the United National Congress (UNC) political leader Kamla Persad Bissessar early Sunday, schooled Dr Rowley with an extensive statement on the matter.

The full text of the government’s statement reads:

“The Government of Trinidad and Tobago continues its efforts to ensure the presence of Election Observers in Trinidad and Tobago prior to and during the National Parliamentary Elections scheduled for August 10, 2020. Prime Minister Dr the Hon. Keith Rowley, extended invitations on July 9, 2020, to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Commonwealth to consider sending Election Observation Missions to Trinidad and Tobago during the upcoming National Parliamentary Elections, scheduled for August 10, 2020.

“It was indicated then, that as part of our COVID-19 protocol, we were requiring that all entrants to Trinidad and Tobago agree to mandatory quarantine for fourteen (14) days prior to any mixing with the local population. As such it was advised that selected observers should arrive in Trinidad and Tobago by July 24, 2020, in preparation for the designated exercise to take place after the mandatory quarantine. 

“Both organizations have advised of their inability to meet the cost associated with the fourteen (14) day quarantine period required for entry into Trinidad and Tobago which is an integral part of our management of the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, they cited constraints due to financial strictures that disallow them from meeting this cost.

“To ensure the integrity of the contribution of the Missions (recommendations and the report of Observation Missions), it is deemed necessary that the host Government (Trinidad and Tobago) not cover the costs related to the quarantine of members of the Election Observation Missions.

“Requests have been made by Trinidad and Tobago to potential benefactors within the Commonwealth community to cover these costs. To date, no definitive positive results have been obtained and the timely arrival has expired if persons were to follow the established mandatory protocol.

“In the event that any alternative arrangement for travel becomes available, such requests will be subject to conditions laid down by the Chief Medical Officer in the most facilitatory and safe way.

“The Government of Trinidad and Tobago continues to persevere in attempting to secure the necessary resources and modalities to encourage the arrival of at least one Election Observation Mission. At this time it appears that only a CARICOM mission might be available if health protocols can be met.”

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