Port-of-Spain, Trinidad; – A recently published investigative article by the Guyana Guardian, surrounding a phone call between the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, and US President Donald Trump took political centre stage yesterday in TnT after thousands of Trinidadians on social media and a section of the political opposition began to press Prime Minister Keith Rowley for answers.
The article (see here) was practically claiming that it was possible that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago had paid a lobbyist up to TT$3 million to lobby for Trump to prioritize a call to Rowley in an effort to boost his political image. But the Trinidadian political leader has dismissed those claims.
In responding to the article, the Prime Minister established that while Trinidad and Tobago has a lobbyist in the United States, the call that US President Donald Trump had made to him last weekend was not one that was influenced by a lobbyist.
According to a report in today’s edition of the Trinidad Express, the Prime Minister who was addressing parliament at the time explained that Trinidad and Tobago do have a lobbyist in Washington DC. But that representation did not organize the Trump phone call, neither was there any cost to Trinidad and Tobago, as was reported earlier by the Guyana Guardian.
The Trinidad Express had quoted the Prime Minister as saying “Yes, we have a lobbyist, the Government has a lobbyist. I spent nine months trying to get the Central Tenders Board to hire a lobbyist because we need a lobbyist. You know why? Because our interests need to be protected and we need people to speak for us and push and open doors in the correct place so we are not harmed by accident. ……. So when we hire a lobbyist, whether it costs a million dollars or half a million dollars, it is to protect the interests of Trinidad and Tobago”.
He was further quoted as saying “We need a lobbyist to ensure that correct information about Trinidad and Tobago is transmitted to the decision-makers….we want to make sure what is said about us, what is portrayed about us is correct,”
Another section of the publication had also carried comments by Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young, who said that there was absolutely no truth to the claims made by the Guyana Guardian, which had stated that a lobbyist was paid to organize the call.
The Guyana Guardian had carried a reported on the 22 February, 2017 with the caption “President Trump’s phone call to Prime Minister Keith Rowley may have cost Trinidadians over TT$3 million”.
The article was since republished by at least three major US news publications, in addition to several other international news outfits.
This has since prompted the Prime Minister to further state that Trinidad and Tobago was making world news today (23 February), (but) not for the best reasons.