GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Aug 21, CMC – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General, Irwin LaRocque says he is looking forward to the “on-going involvement and guidance” of Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley, who was sworn into office on Wednesday for a second consecutive term as head of government in the oil-rich twin island Republic.
Rowley led his ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) to a 22-19 victory over the main opposition United National Congress (UNC) in the August 10 general election, one seat less than he had enjoyed in the previous 41-seat Parliament. The swearing in ceremony had been delayed after the UNC unsuccessfully challenged the outcome of the results in five constituencies.
In his congratulatory message, LaRocque also praised the people of Trinidad and Tobago “on the conduct of the elections under the difficult circumstances occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic”.
Port of Spain had extended an invitation to both CARICOM and the Commonwealth to observe the poll, but both indicated that they were unable to accept for various reasons occasioned by the 14-day mandatory quarantine period for persons entering Trinidad and Tobago, whose borders have been closed since March.
“Prime Minister, your success at the polls is an indication of the confidence that the people of Trinidad and Tobago have in your stewardship and the plans you have outlined for their future,” LaRocque wrote, adding “as you begin this new term of office, you can be assured that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and its Secretariat offer full support as your Government seeks to build upon the achievements of this first term, and continues its efforts to improve the lives of its citizens and the wider Community”
The Dominican-born Secretary-General said he was looking “forward to your on-going involvement and guidance as a member of the Conference of Heads of Government as you continue your service to Trinidad and Tobago and the region”.
Earlier, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, who is also the CARICOM chairman, had in a message to Rowley wrote “congratulations to my brother and friend, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and the PNM team on their electoral victory.
“We look forward to growing our already strong relationship with the government and people of Trinidad and Tobago”
The United States has also extended congratulations to Rowley with the acting Assistant Secretary for the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Michael Kozak, praising also the free and fair elections in the country.
He said Rowley had been sworn in following “a transparent process that accurately reflects their (people’s) will.
“The United States congratulates Dr Keith Rowley on his election victory, & wishes the people of Trinidad and Tobago continuing prosperity,” he said in his Twitter post.