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GUYANA – ALI AWARD

Irfaan Ali received the Global Leadership Award...

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For all of his statements that “A...

TRIBUTE – JOAN BROOMES

COGITO, ERGO SUM .........

GUYANA -DIPLOMATIC DISRESPECT

PoliticsGUYANAGUYANA -DIPLOMATIC DISRESPECT

The US State Department site tells us that their public diplomacy is intended to engage with the people of a nation through several activities- one of which is inviting groups of people to embassy hosted events.

The diplomatic guest list, we acknowledge, would be a composition of both arms of government and members of civil society creating that representative cross section of national polity.

It’s no secret to diplomats –Western or else -that Guyana’s politics run along the fault line of race and identity.

It’s that irreparable colonial inheritance that remains the de facto bias of political engagement which establishes/defines the types and levels of discussion diplomats have with political and social representatives.

So, when social events sponsored by diplomats who, upon presentation of their credentials to the country’s president, pledge to be representative of their country’s politics/policies to all Guyanese, it is implied that there will be no discrimination in their service to any group in the country.

We specially recall this this headline.

And since the CIA World Book informs that Guyana’s racial composition is 40% East Indian, we expect the foreign community to engage in diplomacy in proportional ratio.

Our expectation takes into account, too, the ‘Mission’ Statements of each embassy in Guyana’s diplomatic community and the roles of their Ambassadors.

America declares that its mission is to advance the interests of the US while its Ambassador, Sarah Ann Lynch, in pledging her service to Guyanese, cited the importance of fostering a multicultural society.

The Canadian High Commission’s purpose is comparatively generic and though a careful read discovers that they cite “…supporting the Indigenous people(para 4), as one of their goals they have to know that the politics of race is a debilitating and expanding cleavage in the nation’s politics. Their support of the Indigenous people should not come at the expense of the other five.

And alarmingly as generic, is the British High Commission’s stated purpose for its Guyana location…a copy and paste for every country in which there is one.

China’s high commission seems to equate cultural diversity and inclusiveness, curiously, to Diwali (para 13) and the Indian High Commission offers the bland detail that it runs an inclusive range of consular services to local, Indian and International people in Guyana. b

Could be the scant detail on these sites that do not encourage more questions that could inform on the purpose of resident diplomats, the benefits of international and bilateral alliances; show that there is no substitute for the face to face engagement on burning issues.

What’s reportedly the actions of the Foreign Community, as it pertains to the treatment of some politicians, brings us back to 1963 and the testimony of a Secretary of State Dean Rusk…as America, with its segregation laws, tried to convince the world its way was better than Communism.

Rusk’s testimony “We must try to eliminate discrimination not to let others think better of us but because its incompatible with the great ideals to which our democratic society is dedicated”.
This, we learned, became an operating principle of American Foreign Policy, subsequently.

Guyana’s diplomats are assigned to a country that is a democracy with an existing government that has a Ruling and Opposing arm. Policy measures will be discussed largely with the rulers ….but if there is to be cultural assimilation and diversity in their approach they have to extend similar diplomatic courtesy to the Opposition.

We’ve long been uncomfortable with the US representative, Sarah Ann Lynch, who wasted no time showing us that she was not there for all of Guyana…by the action she took within days of pledging service to the country.

Between her arrival March 9 2019 her pledge to “to deepen the relationship between our two nations and our peoples, moving forward in partnership to our mutual benefit”on March 13th and receipt of email from Mercury LLC on behalf of Jagdeo and his Party about his inveigled No Confidence Motion…it was a diplomatic sprint to the unprincipled and deceptive in all of 30 days.

We’re not blaming her arbitrarily.

We’re just thinking that she was confirmed by Trump and a Secretary of State, Pompeo- both of proven integrity deficit. She was voted for by Marco Rubio who had the ear of the unstable Trump whose political psychoses included invading Venezuela. Once she arrived, Guyana started playing war games .

And we’re not saying all this means anything but the odds of this cosmic alignment of stars for the political benefit of the Madam’s country were too high to be coincidental…is our opinion.

But back to the social events which seem to be an offshoot of her disingenuousness and guest lists which, reportedly, fall generously short of guests representative of the ethnic and political landscape.

The US being the diplomatic body with the highest profile -UN CARICOM- is inarguably the tone- setter of the Western Community and its cohorts.

A low-invite ratio of Opposition members to its hosted events, sets the level of political camaraderie it extends to the non ruling Party and has become as normal as them not extending job offers to locals that do not look like their preferred guest list…per our information.

Domestic politics and international relations are often entangled. The tacit dis-invitation of the Opposition by resident diplomats to their social engagements is not only marginalizing but disrespectful and plays right into that cleavage that straddles our racial divide.

Foreign diplomats know that their policies need a greater degree of acceptance than not for them to be deemed generally accepted and not just a one Party imposition.

Extending an invitation for the Opposition to attend hosted social events where it is not uncommon to discuss policy and other critical matters is, therefore, a simultaneous imperative.

We recognize that the Opposition Leader has been insufficiently effective and that this may be responsible for the guest list imbalance of invitations to diplomatic meetups.

But Diplomats still have a responsibility to engage government which has a two party composition. It was the pledge of the Plenipotentiary Madam, still serving in the capacity, when her credentials were presented and accepted in 2019.

The post 2020 election climate that has fomented doesn’t benefit the Opposition Ministers and Members of Parliament but we feel that it’s up to them to do what their leader is yet to do- establish a working cordiality with the Ministers and others they ‘shadow’ to do the people’s work.

Like his Party, the Opposition lacks direction but that is a reflection of its leadership. Brawling and belligerence has caricatured the office and the designation. The absence of operational structure is decimating.

A new course has to be charted over the remaining years. And the simplest way forward is to saturate the work environment with civility and rapport.

Those are the good graces that show tact and diplomacy…to peers and other entities that engage the government. Branding is integral to marketing and Public Relations. Its present brand has become the Party’s and Opposition’s albatross.

If the Opposition is to avoid the undiplomatic snubbing by its Diplomatic Community it requires a leader of political skill, of less growl and simmering menace.

Being sidelined in ANY way by a foreign entity and especially on home turf is cause for concern…enough cause for the Opposition to address it forthwith.

Socializing with one arm of government mostly, largely, particularly, sends a discriminatory message that goes against that pledge to be in service to all Guyanese.

Guyana’s one Party governance has been condoned despite its record of atrocities, largely documented by the foreign community…thanks to Wikileaks.

And it’s not because they have a 33 seat majority and the small Party Coalition offers its 1 seat as a caucus booster.

The Opposition leader is yet to introduce a workable strategy, a plan to work around factionalism within and the racism that colors politics. That’s the reason.

This leaves the politicians under him, elected to serve their constituents, with the duty of having to make their tenures matter.

Being perpetually contentious is performative patriotism. When you can show absolutely zero meaningful accomplishments – job contracts for the usually overlooked -for your years in office, it’s testament that rancor is not a mediator.

For all that has been heaped upon it because of its flaccid Leadership, what’s left is the remnant of politicians who may want to do more, who may want to show why they are in the business of politics – an immeasurable public service that benefits its recipients when done right.

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