The Honourable Kamla Persad-Bissessar SC, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, arrived safely at the Beijing Capital International Airport at 10. 30 am today.
As she exited the aircraft, she was greeted by the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon Xie Hangsheng, the Hon Winston Dookeran, Minister of Foreign Affairs, the new T&T Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, Chandradath Singh, and Stacey Hinds, Chief of Protocol, of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Hon Prime Minister, her husband, Dr Gregory Bissessar, and the members of the T&T delegation, were taken to the VIP area, where she was greeted by other T&T personnel, including the Hon Kevin Ramnarine, Minister of Energy and Energy Affairs, Reynold Cooper, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister and Head of the Public Service, and Margaret Parillon, Permanent Secretary in the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Before departing the airport, Mrs Persad-Bissessar and Xie Hangsheng held an impromptu news briefing with members of the T&T media who arrived in Beijing last Saturday.
The T&T Prime Minister was then ushered into her official vehicle by a female Chinese Aide in a 20-vehicle convoy. What happened next was awesome.
From the Beijing Capital International Airport to the Diaoyutai State Guest House (25 miles away), the Chinese Police blocked all traffic to allow the convoy uninterrupted access. What would have normally taken 90 minutes in normal traffic, took just 30.
The Chinese Police occupied every artery along the freeway leading to the State Guest House. Traffic backed up along every road leading to the freeway. According to an official Chinese spokesman here, “this exercise is normal for the Chinese Police as we deal with visiting dignitaries very often. Today, we used close to 1,000 police officers on this exercise, and as you see, it went perfect. I am sure your Prime Minister was pleased with the effort.”
Mrs Persad-Bissessar was welcomed to the State Guest House, firstly by a Guard of Honour, and then by the staff, who were at the time preparing lunch for the T&T delegation. The Prime Minister spoke to the T&T media again, explaining what she hopes to achieve during this Official Visit to the People’s Republic of China. Areas for discussion, according to the Prime Minister, include energy, trade, tourism and health.
Today, she will hold bilateral meetings at the State Guest House. Tomorrow (Tuesday), the official programme begins.
Her first appointment will be at 10.40 am at a business forum hosted by InvesTT where she will address the gathering of local and Chinese businessmen.
At 3.20 pm, Mrs Persad-Bissessar pays a courtesy call on His Excellency, Yu Zhengsheng, Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese Political Consultative Conference. This takes place at the Great Hall of the People.
After the courtesy call, the T&T Prime Minister will then be greeted by His Excellency Li Keqiang, Premier of the People’s Republic of China. This also takes place at the Great Hall of the People. Protocol and security will be at its highest, based on a site visit to this venue on Sunday.
There will be restrictions on both the local and Chinese media during this event. After the formalities, the Prime Minister and her delegation sit down for a bilateral meeting with her Chinese counterparts. Following talks, there will be a signing ceremony, to be followed by a banquet hosted by the Premier. There will be no speeches, no toasts and no journalists at this banquet.
Press Secretary to the Prime Minister
February 24, 2014