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Wednesday 16 October 2019
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TT fumbled on Dominica, says former diplomat

The baton passing was not good at all.

So said retired diplomat Basil Ince as he responded Saturday to the major faux pas which resulted in Trinidad and Tobago voting against Dominica’s bid to waive its Organisation of American States (OAS) contributions for the next two years.

And he also questioned the Government’s decision to appoint eminent diplomat and international relations expert Christopher Thomas to investigate the circumstances which led to the blunder, particularly in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“What can he do now?” Ince asked in a Newsday interview.

“The damage has already been done. The prime minister (Dr Keith Rowley) put the cart before the horse. The point is that that should have never happened and now you call in Christopher Thomas.”

Ince, a former minister of external affairs and ambassador, argued that Thomas has a wealth of knowledge, information and expertise which could have been utilised, over the years, with a view to preventing such diplomatic blunders.

“Now, you calling him?” he asked.

Ince regarded Thomas as “the top man in international affairs” in the country.

“He was the head at the UN in a committee and also excelled at the OAS. But he reached a top rank at the UN. These people you have them here and what is the story. The man is not dead.”

In an allusion to his days as a champion sprinter, Ince likened the chain of command in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on important regional and international votes, to a relay race.

“A nation’s vote in international organisations, whether it is in the UN (United Nations) or the OAS, is like a relay race, each runner has to play his part.”

Ince said Foreign Affairs and Caricom Minister Dennis Moses should have been apprised that a vote on the Dominica waiver was forthcoming.

“Any good permanent secretary would have said to him during the week that a vote was coming up because a vote is an important thing.

“All the old talk in the UN or the OAS, you don’t hear about that. What you hear about is the vote.”

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