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Guyana minister sticks to her guns over breach of diplomatic protocol by US ambassador
Published on July 12, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

Guyana’s Acting Minister of Foreign Minister Priya Manickchand (R) and outgoing United States Ambassador to Guyana, Brent Hardt sharing a toast on the celebration of the 238th independence anniversary of the United States of America

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (GINA) -- Minister of Education Priya Manickchand has again reaffirmed the government’s position on the former US ambassador’s interference in Guyana’s governance.

The minister took the opportunity to do so in the National Assembly on Thursday as opposition member of parliament, Africo Selman called on the minister to apologise for her statements at the United States Independence celebration on July 2.

Selman said in a statement, “We hold the view that if a country has a problem with a diplomatic representative the authority should call him behind closed doors.”

Manickchand started by quoting Mahatma Gandhi, saying, “A no uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a yes uttered merely to please or worse to avoid trouble.”

The minister noted that Guyana and Guyanese citizens, particularly Guyanese leaders, do not have the luxury of saying yes to merely avoid trouble or to please the United States of America or any other country, particularly because Guyana is a state.

“We are proud that we have been able to do as we were mandated to do by the people of this country, and that we represented the Guyana position against interference, that is undiplomatic and against the Vienna convention to which those countries are signatories, and to which those countries are bound,” she said.

Manickchand said during her speech on July 2 at the US Independence Anniversary observance at Ambassador Brent Hardt’s residence that the administration was responding to a speech made by the former diplomat two days prior.

In that speech, the minister said the government was firmly of the view that the ambassador called for an insurrection in Guyana.

"Two days before I delivered that speech, the ambassador undiplomatically denigrated and libelled President Donald Ramotar, lashed at and mocked the general secretary of the ruling party and represented the two opposition parties against the government."

Further, it was pointed out to the National Assembly that the speech clearly represented the two main opposition parties.

“I wish to respond to the honourable member where she said diplomacy would have called for discussion of this issue behind closed door; I would advise that when she is going to speak on an issue, she should be informed,” Manickchand said.

The government has said it had repeatedly attempted to address the matter of the former ambassador’s frequent breach of diplomatic protocol behind closed doors, but to no avail.

“No one has come forward to say this matter has not been addressed behind closed doors, I would expect her to call on the ambassador to apologise to this nation for repeatedly breaching protocol. We stand proud that we represented the people of Guyana,” Manickchand continued.

Unfortunately, the minister said the administration is disappointed in the joint opposition for letting the people of Guyana down and saying yes simply because they wanted to please the United States.

On July 2 at the US Independence celebration, Manickchand in her remarks spoke of the ambassador’s interference in governance matters.
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