Pan-Africanist and Opposition parliamentarian Trevor Prescod has chastised Minister of Commerce Donville Inniss for his criticism of the Nicolas Maduro administration in Venezuela and its supporters whom he referred to as a “gang”.
Prescod told Barbados TODAY that Inniss, who is also Minister of Industry, International Business and Small Business Development was not only out of place, as he had no ministerial responsibility to speak on the issue, but he had also made a political misstep.
Addressing the unrest in Venezuela, which has included almost daily anti-government protests that have left about three dozen people dead in the last month, Inniss last week blasted activist David Comissiong for his support of the embattled Maduro administration and said if he were so supportive of the regime, he should pack his bags and move there.
Expressing concern about that “outburst”, Prescod said: “Inniss spoke of Maduro’s ‘gang’, which I believe, by extension, he was also speaking about those people who are part of the ruling party defending the interests of the ruling party. This ‘gang’ also includes allies beyond the shores of Venezuela . . .
“I was a bit disappointed to hear a minister of a friendly state referring to a constitutionally elected government as a gang. Maduro was elected through a democratic process. Unaware of the intricacies, Inniss proceeded to refer to the government in those pejorative terms. I do not even know if it deserves my describing it as unfortunate. I believe that based on the fact that he addressed an issue that did not fall within his portfolio, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart should take action. There cannot be any explanation, so the Prime Minister cannot ask for one. This minister has been going on with this type of tirade for a considerable time,” he said in an interview with Barbados TODAY.
Prescod contended that only a man with a colonial mindset could not see Venezuela as a sister state of the region whose sovereignty must be defended at any cost.
Like Comissiong did in a statement he issued over the weekend in his capacity as spokesperson for the Caribbean chapter of the International Network in Defence of Humanity, Prescod questioned the accuracy of media reports about the state of affairs in Venezuela.
And, like Comissiong, Prescod argued that there was an imperialist plan to destabilize the South American nation.
“The Americans have been working for a considerable length of time to undermine the Maduro administration. At one time they were talking about drugs. The latest accusation has been the shortage of goods. One of the items they always highlight is the shortage of toilet paper. As far as I know, the same toilet paper is being exported from Venezuela to other Latin American countries. There are products that are manufactured in Venezuela that Venezuelans do not have access to. The businessmen are denying the people at home any access to products.”
Meantime, Inniss’ other attack on Comissiong, regarding his lack of support for the Hyatt Centric project on Bay Street, also came in for criticism from Prescod.
The minister had suggested that unemployed artisans should assemble at Comissiong’s law chambers on Crumpton Street, The City, in search of work, after the activist lodged an injunction in the Supreme Court that has so far prevented the project from getting off the ground.
Minister of Housing Denis Kellman had also said in the House of Assembly recently that anyone who is opposed to the construction of the Hyatt Hotel is an enemy of the state.
“Do you understand what is happening in Barbados? It is unbelievable that you have ministers expressing themselves in this loose manner, as if the Government has no special direction,” Prescod said.