PM on decision to turn down regional help: "We've been coping well"

Al­though T&T is fac­ing a dif­fi­cult pe­ri­od fol­low­ing dev­as­tat­ing flood­ing last week­end, Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley ad­mits he felt com­pelled to turn down help from Cari­com coun­tries be­cause "we have been cop­ing .... and cop­ing very well."

Row­ley said he said noth­ing wrong by not ac­cept­ing help from our Caribbean neigh­bours.

The PM made the com­ment ear­li­er to­day as he de­liv­ered the fea­ture ad­dress at the sod turn­ing cer­e­mo­ny for the $49 mil­lion Diego Mar­tin Health Cen­tre.

As he cel­e­brat­ed his 69th birth­day with smiles, an up­beat Row­ley said as cit­i­zens we con­tin­ue to pull our­selves down when we should be putting our­selves up.

“Peo­ple in this coun­try mis­er­able yuh know… can­tan­ker­ous … to the ex­tent that some­times they miss the flow­ers and they miss the gen­tle breeze.”

If giv­en a chance, he said we of­ten find a way to make neg­a­tives out of every pos­si­ble thing.

As he took the op­por­tu­ni­ty to clar­i­fy a cou­ple of is­sues, Row­ley not­ed that sev­er­al Caribbean prime min­is­ters had con­tact­ed him on Mon­day to ex­press their con­cern for the peo­ple of T&T. But he said when his Cari­com col­leagues called to of­fer help, it wasn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly im­plied or meant that they would hand the coun­try a cheque.

“There is an is­sue now that we were of­fered help from our Cari­com ter­ri­to­ries and the Prime Min­is­ter turned it down,” he said.

“It meant that they were ac­knowl­edg­ing we were in dif­fi­cul­ty and they were stand­ing with us first­ly, in spir­it. And sec­ond­ly, if phys­i­cal­ly they could con­tribute then they would. And what was wrong in say­ing to them, yes we have dif­fi­cul­ties but we are cop­ing for the mo­ment.”

Row­ley said the coun­try has to give thanks that hav­ing faced a 6.9 mag­ni­tude earth­quake in Au­gust and the re­cent floods, “Trinidad and To­ba­go can re­port that we lost no life and no limb."

- Shaliza Hassanali

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