TT Prime Minister apologizes for post-Tomas comments


Trinidadian Prime Minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, has apologised to the region for recent biting comments which drew the ire of several regional heads, the business community, and media.

Addressing a press conference in Trinidad, in late October, Mrs. Persad-Bissessar said that her administration had no intention of helping CARICOM countries hit by Tropical Storm Tomas without some benefit accruing to the twin-island republic.

Angry Caribbean people described her comments as insensitive and said they went against the principles of regionalism.

There were scores of stakeholders calling for a boycott of Trinidad products.

Now more than two weeks later Mrs. Persad-Bissesar has apologised on RJR's Beyond the Headlines.

“Ah maybe, it was most unfortunate and I do apologize for the statements that have been taken in this regard. I remain committed to regional integration and to our CARICOM brothers and sisters,” Mrs. Persad-Bissesar said.

The Trinidad Prime Minister says since the controversial comments were made, her administration has extended the hand of assistance in the form of several shiploads of containers dispatched to the islands affected by the recent flood rains.

She added that Haiti is also to receive assistance despite the logistical problems.

The Trinidad Prime Minister went on to clarify her comments.

“The way I envisioned it is that, I can only give from my home, I think [St. Lucia] Prime Minister Stephenson King put it in these words and I appreciate, when he said what Kamla is saying…that we don’t expect her to go out and shop for us and so she would give us goods and supplies out of Trinidad and Tobago, that is what I meant really. It is most unfortunate the way my comments have been received and I do apologize for that,” she said.