Trinidad Newsday:- TWO Cabinet Ministers urged the Opposition not to blame Venezuela for certain crime and health woes facing TT, speaking in the House of Representatives yesterday.
Minister of National Security Stuart Young rejected Naparima MP Rodney Charles’ claim that a recent 25 per cent hike in murders in the form of 49 murders in April was largely due to the Government’s “poor policies on Venezuela.”
Young accused Charles of “a desperate attempt to misinform the public and a false narrative.”
He said the Government’s plans to register Venezuelans for one year has nothing to do with recent murders, even as several Venezuelans have been killed in recent months.
In another question, Young said some TT nationals reported as kidnap victims in Venezuela had in fact been involved in nefarious activities, even as he is now considering fitting all local vessels with global positioning system (GPS) devices.
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh likewise defended Venezuelans when asked an urgent question about possible contagion of measles by Venezuelan migrants to Trinidad. He said the latest data showed TT with a 90 per cent vaccination rate, short of the 95 per cent needed to create a “herd immunity.”
Deyalsingh said, “I didn’t want to turn this into a Venezuela issue. It is not a ‘Venezuela issue’; it is a ‘measles issue.’ It is not Venezuela.”
Deyalsingh said measles was less rampant in Venezuela than in the United States, United Kingdom and continental Europe. He vowed to fight the anti-vaxxer movement which he said is taking root in TT.
Foreign Affairs Minister Denis Moses, facing a separate question from Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal, explained TT’s recent abstention at a recent vote at the Organisation of American States on the entry of a shipment of aid to Venezuela.
“Humanitarian assistance should not be politicised,” said Moses, saying the delivery had conflicted with TT’s foreign policy of non-interference.