Young fires back: "PM was not snubbed by Chinese Government"

Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 10:00

The reason why the Chinese Government withdrew the invitation to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to attend high-level meetings in China and replaced it with an Official Visit next year, was because the Chinese Government downgraded the scope of the high-level meetings.

Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister and Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs, Stuart Young lashed out at commentators, including three he identified - former head of the Public Service Reginald Dumas, former Minister in the Ministry of Finance Mariano Browne and former senator Robin Montano - saying they should not comment on matters about which they do not have all the facts.

All three had raised public concern about the decision by the Chinese to withdraw the invitation to the high-level meetings.

"A former head of the public service starts off by saying, 'I don't know but'. Quite frankly, if you don't know sir, do not comment. If you don't have the facts before you sir, don't comment," Young said at today's post-Cabinet media conference.

He referred to Browne as someone "who claims allegiance to PNM", saying he took to social media to make comments without facts.

"He is insignificant and he is not going to be able to change the nature and importance of the relationship between the Government and people of the Republic of China," he said.

"We ask in the future, those who want to declare themselves social commentators, please get the facts first," he said.

SEE ALSO: Chinese withdraw PM's invitation to 'high-level meeting'; replace it with state visit next year

He maintains that the Government has no problem with criticism. He said what happened was that persons "jumped out" and twisted the facts.

He insists that the reasons given by the Chinese did not amount to a "snob" as some had been saying.

Although the prime minister is no longer invited to the meetings in their new format, Young maintains the invitation to attend the meetings was not "withdrawn" but rather "replaced".

"Something else took place in China and they came to us and said there have been changes in the format of high-level meetings and downgraded it and therefore they no longer felt the prime minister should attend this meeting," he said.

"They issued a diplomatic note saying they will like to replace the invitation to high-level meetings, and replace it with an official visit next year," Young said.

The Prime Minister had already accepted the invitation to attend before the Chinese told him that his presence would no longer be necessary.

An Official Visit is the highest level of visit offered to a visiting prime minister of Head of State.