Govt denies US fighter jets

(Trinidad Guardian) – High-ranking government officials have said that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago will not be granting permission to any country to land fighter jets on local territory as part of the security arrangements for the Summit of the Americas.

The T&T Guardian had reported on Saturday, quoting sources who attended a security briefing at the Hyatt Regency the day before, that the US Government had made a request to park 25 fighter jets in Tobago to ensure the security of US President Barack Obama, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the American delegation, which is estimated at more than 1,000.

High-ranking government sources, reacting to the newspaper report, said that the government would not be granting permission for any fighter jets on T&T sovereign territory. The officials did admit that the government had granted permission for military transport aircraft to land in this country before the summit. The sources stressed that these are not combat aircraft but will be used to for transporting personnel. Some 33 heads of government, and their delegations, from all of the countries in the Western Hemisphere will be visiting this country for the fifth Summit of the Americas.

T&T’s closest neighbour, Venezuela, is expected to send the one of the largest Summit delegations which will be headed by President Hugo Chavez. The Fifth Summit of the Americas will be held here in one month’s time.

The periodic meetings bring together the 34 democratically elected heads of state and governments in the Western Hemisphere to discuss regional issues. The first summit was held in Miami, Florida, in December 1994. The most recent took place in Mar del Plata, Argentina, in November 2005.

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