The cronyism, nepotism and promotion of unqualified persons by Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissessar have been now exported to the CARICOM and international posts. The two most recent nominations she made have failed to receive both Caribbean and wider international support.
The first of these failed nominations was Mr. Hamid Ghany, a known insider to the Mrs. Persad-Bissessar’s cabal and propagandist for her directives. He was nominated for the Secretary General of the 79-nation African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group even though he had no relevant experience in trade negotiations, in the workings of the ACP group, in international affairs or in relations with the European Union.
Mr. Ghany’s candidacy was not taken seriously by any country. When he turned-up at a meeting of the Council of ACP, no ACP Ambassador knew him – not even those from the Caribbean. Hence, Trinidad and Tobago was treated with scant regard and he spectacularly failed to be elected.
Remarkably, Trinidad and Tobago did not send its Foreign Affairs Minister, Winston Dookeran, to that ACP Council meeting. Instead, another Persad-Bissessar known-crony, Bhoe Tewari, was sent to the Council meeting. He, too, was unknown to the Council members and his representation of Ghany made no impact.
The same Minister Dr. Bhoe Tewari is the other nomination that Mrs. Persad-Bissessar is trying to foist on the Caribbean and the Commonwealth. This time, it is for the post of Secretary General of the 53-nation Commonwealth. Dr. Tiwari is relatively unknown in the Caribbean and the Commonwealth, as a diplomat. He has no experience in diplomacy and Commonwealth affairs. He is a poor candidate.
Since July last year, when Mrs. Persad-Bissessar put forward his name to the 12 Commonwealth Caribbean countries for possible endorsement by the Region, he has been firmly rejected. Twice at Commonwealth Caribbean meetings (in December in Cuba in the margins of the Cuba-CARICOM Summit and in the Bahamas in February). Dr. Tewari has received no support, except from Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
In other words, from the 12 Commonwealth Caribbean governments, he got 1 vote – Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s. These nominations of unsuitable cronies of Mrs. Persad-Bissessar are making Trinidad and Tobago the laughing stock of the CARICOM region and the international community.
Sir Ronald Sanders, secured the support of 9 of the 12 governments.
I want to make it quite clear that if Trinidad and Tobago had an outstanding, an electable candidate – and if we did not already hold two of the three top posts in the inter-governmental Commonwealth – the PNM would have backed such a candidate to the hilt. But we do not have such a candidate and we cannot expect to hold the top three posts in the Commonwealth.
Therefore, the PNM fully supports the Antigua and Barbuda nominee who already has majority support from the 12 Commonwealth Caribbean countries. He is an outstanding candidate, recently honoured by the UWI at the St. Augustine Campus, with Honorary Doctor of Letter (D. Litt) for his outstanding work in the Caribbean and the Commonwealth. He is also a well-known Caribbean man.
This cavalier approach of cronyism and nepotism which passes for diplomacy under this UNC government, has the potential to hurt the interest of Trinidad and Tobago in future dealings when Trinidad and Tobago put forward qualified candidates who may be shunned by our CARICOM colleagues in response to our current behaviour where we failed to acknowledge superior candidates from other territories, put forward our own poor quality candidates, who do not represent the best of Trinidad and Tobago but prepared to back them to the end.
I am calling on the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago to act in the interest of the people of Trinidad and Tobago by withdrawing the unsuitable candidacy of Minister Dr. Bhoe Tewari and provide our prestige and support to a consensus CARICOM candidate so that in the future when we put forward candidates that have what it takes to rally consensus from our neighbours, we would be assured of such support and our ambitions will stand a realistic chance of success.
Dr. Keith Rowley
Leader of the Opposition