Once again it is clear that our Government in general and PM Rowley in particular are unfamiliar with the finer points of diplomacy. Diplomatic meetings, all things being equal, are normally convened among equals and there are clear and understood levels in respect of what is considered appropriate.
It is for this reason that a US, or Chinese, or Russian President Putin would not for example have a one on one meeting with an ambassador.
At the UN General Assembly, for example, there is a clearly articulated pecking order regarding which country’s representative speaks before whom. Speaking in order of precedence at UNGAs are first Kings and Crown Princes, followed by Presidents, then Heads of Governments, then Foreign Ministers and lastly Ambassadors.
Exceptions for historic and other reasons are made for the US as host country and Brazil.
On the last day of UN General Assemblies one therefore sees a preponderance of ambassadors considered not so high in the diplomatic scheme of things. Heads of Government speak on the last day if his/her name came in very late.
So how in heaven’s name could our PM as our Head of State (and the next rotating Chair of CARICOM) convene a high level meeting with a Venezuelan diplomat?
That meeting should have been held between our Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs and the ambassador.
Let’s face it in the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry there must be a pecking order of diplomatic appointments. Considered plum assignments, given Venezuela’s geopolitics and also defense and trade considerations, would be the Russian Federation, China, Iran, Cuba and possibly the UN.
Where a Venezuelan ambassador to TT fits in the overall calculations of the Venezuelan government is anyone’s guess. These matters must be factored into who represents our country at meetings.
Diplomacy is not for everyone. There are many unwritten rules as to what is appropriate and what is not. Countries may choose not to play by the rules. But these decisions must be based on cold, hard calculations and not because of a complete lack of understanding of what is appropriate.
MP for Naparima