Letter by Ravi Maharaj
In usual victim shaming fashion however, our Prime Minister sought to clarify the matter which former national footballer, Mr. Dwight Yorke faced when travelling through a US airport, placing the blame squarely on the Manchester United ambassador, stating that it was his privilege of having and using a UK passport that created the confusion and embarrassment for the sporting legend.
If there were to have been any doubt that Dr. Rowley was clearly annoyed by the entire situation, however, his comment that “If he (Dwight Yorke) was travelling with a TT passport he would have been very aware that we in Trinidad and Tobago require a visa to go to the US“, should dissuade that thought.
For the past few weeks, and really since the election of Mr. Trump, there has been growing concern among nationals living in the USA, both legally and illegally, regarding their status and continued the occupation of US territory. Yet the extremely brief, and deliberately vague release from the Office of the Prime Minister regarding Dr. Rowley’s recent telephone conversation with Mr. Trump made no mention of discussions regarding any immigration matters.
In fact, and as the statement would have us believe, both leaders spent the majority of their time discussing FATCA, trade and security issues, which I will assume indicates that immigration was never brought up, until such time that either the Prime Minister or President Trump reveals otherwise.
Moreover, I have since spoken with officials from the offices of two of the bill’s co-sponsors, Congressman Jeff Duncan, and recently appointed Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney, who have indicated that it is unlikely that any such bill will be re-introduced to the House. Further, is the fact that in speaking to Mr. Mulvaney’s office, it was ascertained that the repeal of the FATCA legislation is not part of his legislative agenda going into the 2018 Budget.
As such, and with the Republican bench now divided on the issue, it is now clear that even if another Bill was tabled to repeal FATCA during the 115th Congress, it would get the majority vote necessary to ascend to the Senate or be enacted into law.
This all being said, it is somewhat evident through my discussions with these US politicians and the statements and actions of our own Prime Minister, that not only is Dr. Rowley aware of these developments, but is also using this knowledge to further his own agenda. It is my belief that not only would this revelation have been made in some grandiose fashion, but his decision to contribute to the hiring of a lobbyist to manipulate the reform of the FATCA legislation in the US would have been hailed as an act of bravery and valiance on his part:
While all of this is taking place, however, not only do our citizens living in the US remain in fear of deportation but are also subjected to having their rights violated if they happen to have kept any of their local bank accounts active. But the really telling part of all of this is that never once did it occur to Dr. Rowley that his position and leverage in the FATCA negotiations could be used to also lobby the US President on the matter of immigration for our citizens.