The United National Congress has issued a statement calling on Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley to "take his own advice and "shut up” and stop misleading the people of our country".
The following is a statement issued by the UNC today:
"In his attempt to defend his statement, Rowley claimed that members of the Opposition made negative comments regarding the Government’s plan to offer refuge to Dominican citizens who were devastated by the effects of Hurricane Maria on their island.
There is absolutely no truth to that statement.
The party states categorically that no UNC Opposition Member has made any negative comment on this issue, and the Prime Minister’s statement is deliberately deceptive, misleading and dishonest.
However, it is understandable that the Prime Minister's announcement was met with skepticism given his poor track record for planning and delivery.
We all know that the Prime Minister does not like to be opposed - the wider society has grown tired of Rowley's immaturity where even when given constructive advice, it is met with disrespectful and unbecoming responses such as "shut up".
We call on the Prime Minister to provide evidence on his claim that Opposition Members said anything to elicit his statement that, “I was talking to my Parliamentary colleagues … who are again at it”.
The country heard Rowley’s contemptible statement against all voices who expressed their views regarding his Government’s plan.
We view Rowley’s comments as unbecoming of a Prime Minister, and he should take his own advice and refrain from saying anything further on this matter.
On the matter of his offer to the Dominican people, Rowley was once again being disingenuous.
As stated by the UNC Political Leader and Leader of the Opposition Kamla Persad-Bissessar on Tuesday 26th September, the Prime Minister should have gotten the advice of his three Attorneys General before he made his rushed announcement.
The Law is very clear - every CARICOM national has the right to enter any Member State and stay in that country for a period of six (6) months, which is a right that is conferred by adherence to the principles that were derived from the provisions of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas to facilitate free movement throughout CARICOM, and the agreement arrived at in 2007 at the 28th Meeting of the conference of Heads of the Caribbean Community.
This right was recognized by the Caribbean Court of Justice in the case of Myrie v Barbados  CCJ 3.
The UNC is mindful that we have a duty and responsibility to assist, not only the citizens of Dominica but also the citizens of Antigua and Barbuda as well as the citizens of other CARICOM countries devastated by these natural disasters.
However, the Prime Minister's proposal will provide no relief to the people of Dominica, neither would it assist in channeling the charity and generosity of our people to those most in need.
We wish to remind the Prime Minister that Trinidad and Tobago is a democracy, and the right to freedom of expression is protected under our nation’s Constitution.
This is a right that is guaranteed to all the people of our country by the State.
Dr. Rowley’s statement contrary to furthering and guaranteeing the rights of our citizens, evidence a creeping dictatorship, in which the arms of the State are ready and quick to pounce on dissenting voices in our society.
This is nothing more than another attempt by Keith Rowley to mislead and deceive the people of Trinidad and Tobago, and the Opposition is urging him to take his own advice and “Shut up.”