(Trinidad Express) It was unintentional and the Prime Minister is sorry.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley apologized yesterday after receiving a tongue tingling over the insensitivity of a Facebook post expressing grief over the murder of Ashanti Riley and in the same breath lambasting the narrative-pushing “imps” that Trinidad authorities turned a load of Venezuelans drowned.
Both events were judged to be “double doses of grief”.
The post on the Prime Minister’s Office Facebook page yesterday was deleted after a stream of comments criticizing her language and insensitivity.
An edited split version was then posted on Rowley’s personal Facebook page.
Riley, 18, is alleged to have been stabbed and beaten to death by an accused PH driver. Her body was found in a river off Upper La Canoa Road, Santa Cruz, last Friday.
The bodies of some 20 Venezuelans including children were found over the weekend in Venezuela’s waters.
The post on the Prime Minister’s Office Facebook page linked the two events, describing them as “double doses” of grief.
The post which raised eyebrows and caused strife:
“To the Ashanti family and every other family member who experiences this unholy hurt I share with you (sic) pain.
Our grief comes in double doses. As we bury our dead we continue to receive updated news of the tragic loss of many lives off the coast in Venezuela.
But do you find that the OAS, our Opposition and other Trinidadian and Venezuelan agents and agents lie in the face of the information and evidence that we have available?
These imps have now been pushing a narrative that these illegals and their criminal traffickers have arrived in Trinidad but our Authorities here overturned them which is why they drowned in waters off the coast of Venezuela in Syria. This is their lie!
Our Coast Guard never saw or interacted with these trade merchants and their cargo. These liaisons operating in Venezuela and in Trinidad and Tobago now know that they are now to be held criminally liable, not only for encouraging Venezuelans to break the law while trying to penetrate our borders but in fact, physically arranging their dangerous transport and illegal reception. Trinidad.
The law will follow its course in every case in Trinidad and Tobago but in the meantime we advise everyone, including local good people and the press and international agencies, to stop encouraging and exposing ordinary Venezuelans to take risks. ‘ u lives in the waters between our two nations.
It may seem to some to be a short journey but these waters are very dangerous and they should not risk their lives or the future of their children coming to Trinidad and Tobago, illegally, where the borders are closed in a pandemic and the only legal way at present. to enter is by visa application.
We, the people of the small nation of Trinidad and Tobago, at the mouth of the Orinoco River in Venezuela, currently welcome just over 16,000 registered, protected Venezuelan migrants in a neighborhood, under Government authority and Trinidad and Tobago laws .
We, the Government, receive no assistance from any agency to care for these migrants, many of whom arrived relatively recently who came into our country or who were illegally traded, however, last year, in empathy, we registered them all and allowed them to do so. try to make an honest living within our borders. Most of them follow this path offered to them.
However, regardless of the political or economic issues in Venezuela, or any other territory, everyone who interacts with Trinidad and Tobago must do so under the understanding that we all do so in accordance with the laws of Trinidad and Tobago. ”
The post went viral on social media with many not believing that the Prime Minister could have posted such, questioning whether the Prime Minister’s official page was compromised and whether it would clear the air.
Shortly after 3pm the Office of the Prime Minister issued an apology from Rowley for causing postal distress.
“The previous post should have been written as two separate statements and was intended for publication on the Prime Minister’s personal social media account. I regret and apologize to everyone for the distress caused by the job. ”
The initial post was then split into two posts on Rowley’s page.
The first was the paragraph in relation to Ashanti and the second about the Venezuelans, omitting the words “Our grief comes in double doses. As we bury our dead… ”
The founder and executive director of the Women’s Alternative Development Institute (WINAD) Folade Mutota commented on Facebook when the original release appeared, noting that the page was probably compromised because of the language.
He later told the Express that the Prime Minister’s apology was welcome as “surveillance is a requirement for representation”.
Kamla: A shameful statement
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar criticized the Prime Minister’s post, pointing to the urgent need for a full investigation into the incident in relation to the boatload of drowned Venezuelans.
“Earlier today, the Prime Minister’s Office released a shameful statement of shame on its Facebook page. Calling the recent horrific murder of teenager Ashanti Riley, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley sought to blame the American Provinces Organization (OAS) and the UNC Opposition for the tragic death of migrants while trying to reach our shores, ”said Persad-Bissessar.
The former prime minister said Rowley knew he was guilty of failing to make a proper refugee policy, as well as securing our borders.
“Judging by his nonsensical social media post, which has since been removed, he is clearly trying to lodge a plea of insanity in his defense,” he said.
Persad-Bissessar noted that it has been reported that Venezuelan nationals are trying to flee Venezuela Maduro as thousands of others have done.
“This tragic incident, as well as the overflow of these illegal crossings, and the links to human trafficking, need urgent full investigation,” he said.
“Instead of immigration policy and border security, Keith Rowley chose instead to spew hatred, malice, confusion, and has revealed his fragile mental state. He clearly cannot demonstrate leadership on this serious issue, ”he added.
Persad-Bissessar said Rowley “most brazenly” continues to attack the OAS, an international organization that has long been a key ally of T&T.
“It is no coincidence that the only other person to attack the OAS in this disgraceful way is Rowley’s ally, Nicolas Maduro. Now ask whether Keith Rowley makes Maduro’s offer? ”He questioned.
Persad-Bissessar said the current refugee crisis will not disappear anytime soon, adding that it needs clear, clear and safe leadership.
“Unfortunately for our nation, these qualities seem beyond Rowley,” he said.