AN inspector of missions (or likewise) must now probe the happenings at the TT High Commission in New Delhi, India, that led High Commissioner Dave Persad to resign in frustration, urged Reginald Dumas, former ambassador and head of the Public Service.
In a story on Monday, Diplomatic Free For All, Newsday reported that Persad had alluded to corruption by staff overpaying rent for the High Commission costs by hundreds of thousands of dollars, plus hefty school fees ($120,000 a term) for a low-level diplomat’s child, but had got no response from the government. Dumas told Newsday this situation reflected very badly on this country, and its Foreign Service. “In a properly-run Foreign Service you would have a post of inspector of missions. We have had that in the past.” He named past holders as Eric Murray and John Donaldson. Dumas said the inspector is supposed to visit the missions once a year, although this is a costly business.
“He is supposed to speak to the staff there, find out what is happening. A lot of things won’t be recorded in the official memoranda. The inspector finds out how are relations among staff and with the host country. He holds discussions with staff, then makes a report to the Government with recommendations, and the Government is to then take action.” Dumas said he did not know if anyone now serves as inspector now. “If there were one, the high commissioner could have got in touch with that person, instead of writing the Prime Minister.” He said this seems not to have happened, but Persad ended up offering his resignation, which was accepted.
“Very damaging statements have been made, that people are using government funds, and finger-pointing at staff regarding how they are spending money and how they are treating local Indian staff (who had gone on strike.)
“None of this is good for the reputation of TT.”