Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo who has come under fire in Trinidad and Tobago for saying the country is falling apart economically has defended his comments and told a press conference that there is nothing new about what he said about the neighbouring oil-producing country.
During a recent visit to the County of Essequibo, the Vice President said the Government of Guyana will invest in infrastructure and other sectors in order to diversify the economy and to ensure Guyana does not become like Trinidad, which he said has been heavily dependent on oil. He said Trinidad’s dependence on oil has left the country falling apart.
The statement was picked up in the Trinidadian media with some readers there saying his comments were disrespectful.
Today, the Vice President stood by his comments.
“If you look at the newspapers in Trinidad and Tobago, every day you will see they are having currency problems, currency shortages and it is a fact that they have had a long period of low growth? – yes COVID has exacerbated it but before COVID it is fact. So what I am saying is not anything new,” Mr. Jagdeo said.
The Vice President said he will not lose sleep over the criticisms he has been receiving.
He said his remarks were intended to make the point of mistakes Guyana should avoid as an oil-producing nation.
According to the Vice President, over the years some Trinidadian officials have had very disparaging things to say about Guyana.
“They talk about the fact that we are undemocratic and if they don’t careful they would go the Guyana route and I did not raise an issue because it is true, many of the things they spoke about our democracy was challenged. So I don’t know if they have a problem with truth- the economy in Trinidad is undiversified and it relies on oil and gas,” Mr. Jagdeo emphasized.
The Vice President said his remarks were not personal and were not directed to the Prime Minister of Trinidad but are a factual representation of what occurs in Trinidad and Tobago.