Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley addressed ‘mischief and misinformation’ regarding a delay in signing the CARICOM Protocol on Contingent Rights.
Speaking at Thursday’s post-Cabinet briefing on Thursday regarding his trip to the 39th meeting of the CARICOM heads of government in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Dr Rowley said that Trinidad and Tobago intends to sign the Protocol once he refers to the Attorney General, who is currently out of the country.
“If an individual accesses Trinidad and Tobago from another territory, that person might have a family and it is the position that the contingent rights of such persons should be acknowledged…without hindrance. The spouse should be able to work and children should be allowed to access school and healthcare. This decision was taken since 2014 but it has not been operationalised by the territories,” he said.
Dr Rowley said that Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness sought advice from the Attorney General of Jamaica to ensure there was no conflict in the period between 2014 and now before signing and he sought to do the same thing but could not, at Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi was not present at the time.
“Trinidad and Tobago took the same position but I too would like to have a word with my Attorney General to make sure that as I sign there is no issue which would have risen during the delay period so that we wouldn’t have any conflict. The Attorney General was not available to me so I needed a few days to get that done,” he said.
Dr Rowley said he was disappointed by the ‘attack’ as a result of this.
“I was disappointed to see an attack made…by a person who was completely without any information on this matter. But as is common in Trinidad and Tobago you start by saying you don’t know then you get on your high horse and prance,” he said.
He said Trinidad and Tobago will sign that Protocol at the ‘first opportunity’.
In November, Trinidad and Tobago will host a special meeting on CSME during which these issues will be addressed.
Dr Rowley said that meeting was at his request in order to ‘crystallise’ the new CSME measures.
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