THE EDITOR: I am getting the impression that although we are a mere seven miles from Venezuela, have potential energy interests there to safeguard and cultivate, we also have even more compelling economic, technical co-operation and diasporic interests within the US that is in fact our largest trading partner and source of actual and promising huge investment prospects.
Why is TT giving undue precedence to propping up illegitimate and dictatorial Nicolas Maduro and humiliating the US in our current foreign policy posturing?
That undiplomatic, crass and downright arrogant outburst of Prime Minister Keith Rowley in Parliament last week towards US Ambassador Joseph Mondello has brought the proceedings of the House of Representatives to an unnecessary all-time low. The ambassador was not there to defend himself against the anger of Rowley.
The Prime Minister, having assumed the leadership mantle on foreign policy, appears prepared to sacrifice our important national interest with the US to prop up a well-known and discredited dictator who has impoverished Venezuela and brought it to a potential doomsday scenario.
Further to his denigration of Mondello in the full glare of the public for all to see and hear, Rowley alleged without evidence that the ambassador was interfering in our internal and domestic political affairs by urging the UNC to adopt a position in favour of supporting Juan Guaido’s interim presidency. The UNC does not possess the right to recognise heads of State, only governments do.
All of this tirade/charade is patently unjustified since it was a US Embassy statement. There are more established civilised and protocolary procedures such as summoning the ambassador to Whitehall/Knowsley and giving him a dressing down but on what basis I cannot fathom.
This public display of who’s in charge in TT and the public dressing down of Ambassador Mondello are not the stuff which underpinned the legacy of our past diplomacy. Our diplomacy is now in the hands of untutored novices with plenty robber talk and king sailor dance.
While there is a caveat on an accredited ambassador interfering unduly in the internal affairs of TT (telling the UNC who to support) there is no such prohibition on an ambassador commenting on the foreign policy of TT. He/she is free to do so and to disagree with our foreign policies. That is the practice/policy that is well recognised internationally.
There is no bar to a foreign diplomat holding up our foreign policy to scrutiny and that is what the ambassador did.
We did that against apartheid.
STEPHEN KANGAL, Caroni