Jagdeo ‘arrogant, hostile and xenophobic’ -T&T Foreign Minister

Fallout and reverberations continue throughout the Caribbean from installed Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo’s “Trinidad falling apart” statement made recently in Essequibo. Today, March 26, 2022, Trinidad and Tobago’s (T&T) Foreign and CARICOM Affairs Minister Dr. Amery Browne, in a contribution to the T&T Guardian, weighed further into the issue than he had initially done with his Guyanese counterpart, Hugh Todd. Dr. Browne had said Todd was “well-positioned to advise his government on matters of regional history, integration, and respect which our foreparents worked so hard to achieve across this region.”

In the Guardian, Dr. Browne articulated the intertwined history of the two countries. Though not mentioning former President Jagdeo by name, all the clues were there: “The region recently witnessed some politicians in Guyana offering public analysis of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, with one of them describing his own discourse in this manner—“it sounds arrogant, but it’s not hostile or xenophobic”. Well, the truth is that some of the comments have been all three: arrogant, hostile and xenophobic.”

Dr. Browne quizzed, “So what exactly is this repeated public commentary about Trinidad and Tobago by a few Guyanese public figures designed to achieve? Who is their target audience, and what are their objectives?” “There are many Guyanese and Jamaicans and Grenadians and Barbadians and Vincentians and others from the region who migrated to Trinidad and Tobago over the generations and have done extremely well for themselves and are now an integral part of our diverse, melting-pot society.”

The Foreign Affairs Minister admitted there have been examples of “mistreatment and a better-than-thou attitude as exists in every society, but it is a complete disservice to our country to make those exceptions the rule and to disrespectfully paint an entire nation with one broad brush. Many Guyanese have done very well here and remitted money back to Guyana over the generations and many continue to do so. That is something that we can be very proud of, as we are all part of one CARICOM family.”

He pointed out that his country wrote off billions of dollars in debt owned by Guyana, helped in our protracted electoral process in 2020, supported Guyana in its border controversy, provided aid during the floods last year, among other undertakings. “Speaking publicly about Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago, in the manner that has been done recently, without referencing such tangible realities does a great disservice to the truth and is an offence against the warmth that our people and nations have shared and must continue to share,” Browne stated.

Browne said, “Arrogance and xenophobia have no place in the modern politics of the Caribbean Community…and any public figure in our region who seeks to nourish insularity and distill hostility within CARICOM in the year 2022 has not been paying sufficient attention to the harsh lessons of the past.”

More, In The Ring.