According to reports, Persad Bissessar, in offering help, said that the affected countries must use Trinidad’s contractors, labour and materials in their rebuilding programme.
Critics in the region said that the Prime Minister’s request was unfortunate and called for a boycott of Trinidad and Tobago’s products.
However, acting Prime Minister Jack Warner said that Persad Bissessar was not being insensitive or breeding insularity when she said her country must benefit from assistance given to other Caribbean islands.
Warner criticized the leader of the opposition, Keith Rowley’s criticism of the prime minister’s stance, saying there was nothing wrong with the statement ensuring the country benefits from any investment or assistance provided to Caribbean neighbours.
He said Rowley must come to grips with the reality that this is not the People’s National Movement (PNM) and, whatever investment this country makes, there must be returns for the people of Trinidad and Tobago.
“Historically, under the PNM, money was given away with no consideration for our future. The very countries we assisted traded in goods with other countries who had no interest in their development,” Warner said.
“The question Rowley must answer is what is so wrong in requesting that these countries purchase our cement, our oil, our gas and the goods we can place on the market to trade,” he added.