A display of bad diplomatic etiquette
Stabroek News
February 3, 2002

Dear Editor,

Quite innocently I began to read the article captioned "Give collaboration a chance" (30.l.2002) but stopped, literally paralysed, as the import of the words contained in the second paragraph of column six impressed themselves upon my mind.

The words read, 'Following his address to the National Assembly, President Jagdeo visited the state owned Staatsoolie oil refinery at Saramaca where he was briefed on operations and prospects. The briefing included the presentation of a map of Suriname, showing Guyana's New River Triangle as part of Suriname.'

It would be interesting to know whether or not the President sat through that briefing. Because, if he continued to be in that place in the face of such a blatant insult and wantonly knavish display of bad political and diplomatic etiquette, then one would have to wonder as to the reality of the professed patriotism about which we hear so much.

Guyana, by virtue of this ill advised and importune pilgrimage, has been exposed as being nothing but a diplomatic buffoon. Playing at statecraft and placing itself at the mercy of those who would despoil us, like an otherworldly maid or simpleton.

Suriname had the effrontery to invade our patrimony and desecrate its territorial sanctity. In the process, they ingloriously evicted those whom we had sought to accommodate there.

This country offered not a word in apology, neither did they in any way indicate so much as a willingness to think that their supposed claim might be misguided. They remain, to this day, unrepentant, unyielding and unbowed in their triumphalism.

On our behalf, our government and its leaders have blushed, like maidens caught 'in flagranto' and craved the indulgence of leave to visit the homeland of our clearly identifiable territorial violators. One can only cringe at the evident spinelessness and lack of self interest which that move indicated.

Mr Editor, if the president's display of appeasement in Paramaribo epitomized the strongest display of patriotism of which he, as the head of this nation, is capable, then we might as well acknowledge that the soil of the new River Triangle is as good as ceded.

Yours faithfully,

C.R.B. Edwards

Editor's note

It is not the President's patriotism which is in question, so much as the lack of professionalism which surrounded the visit. The Foreign Ministry should have instructed our embassy in Paramaribo to check every detail of the visit, in order to ensure that the President would not have been embarrassed by any of the presentations.