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“Legitimate blast” on US Ambassador- Luncheon

Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon

Even as the Guyana government on Friday remained adamant that its blistering attack on on outgoing United States (US) Ambassador to Guyana, Brent Hardt was justifiable, the Private Sector Commission chided the administration for the manner in which it was done.

“The Private Sector Commission of Guyana Ltd believes the manner in which the Government of Guyana reprimanded the US Ambassador recently for representing the US Foreign Policy Goals in Guyana is not consistent with the norms expected in international diplomacy and of two countries that enjoy a friendly relationship,” the business organisation said in a statement.

At the same time, the PSC called on the Foreign Service community and their representatives in Guyana to respect the Government and the People of Guyana.  

Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon was Friday adamant that its attack on Hardt was a consensus government position that was executed at the most opportune moment ahead of his departure.

Luncheon said Acting Foreign Minister, Priya Manickchand’s attack on the American envoy was a “legitimate blast, a feral blast” that was grounded in Guyana’s constitution that provides for among other features, sovereign equality, mutual respect and non-intervention in internal affairs.

The Head of the Presidential Secretariat said the moment was seized on Wednesday at the US Independence Day reception to tell Hardt how the administration felt ahead of his departure on Sunday, June 6, 2014.

Reacting to calls by A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) for President Ramotar to apologise to the US diplomat, he said Opposition Leader David Granger was known to sacrifice Guyana’s territorial integrity.

Luncheon indicated that the administration’s anger was exacerbated by the Ambassador’s “broadside” against the President, the Guyana government, the General Secretary of the governing Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) Clement Rohee and the party itself with regards to the government’s failure to hold local government elections. Luncheon said Hardt’s remarks “came perilously close to the rankings of the current opposition parties.”  Luncheon accused Hardt of seeking to accuse the President of duplicity about his constitutional role and belittling Rohee. 

Asked whether Hardt’s views that baseless and contradictory excuses were being given by the government and the PPP for not holding local government elections since 1994 were inaccurate, Luncheon said “it has less to do with that and more to do with what was said.”

Manickchand accused Hardt of fomenting tensions between the US and Guyana during his tou-of-duty here and scolded him for “crossing the red line” by making such declarations, accusations, allegations and innuendoes about the Executive President of Guyana or any country for that matter is to our mind totally unacceptable.”  She was booed and jeered by several of the invitees at what was an unprecdented episode at a diplomatic reception. The Head of the Presidential Secretariat questioned where else in Caricom that Hardt could have addressed, rebuke and make such vile statements about the government and its leader.

The PSC called on the Guyana government to use all the diplomatic channels available to them in the future to register their displeasure in the conduct of any Foreign Service Officer and to resolve any differences in those countries’ foreign policy objectives being executed in Guyana.

According to the PSC, Guyana’s Interest should always be represented with the highest standards of Diplomacy and Compliance to International Protocols.