Harmon to Jagdeo: “Diplomats don’t dictate to us”

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 June 2016, 12:43 by Denis Chabrol

US Charge D'Affaires, Bryan Hunt delivering a stinging farewell speech. At left are Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and Mr. Hunt's partner, Haroon.

US Charge D’Affaires, Bryan Hunt delivering a stinging farewell speech. At left are Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and Mr. Hunt’s partner, Haroon.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon on Thursday denied claims by Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo that government has been taking instructions from key Western diplomats on how to run Guyana.

“We are not being dictated to by any foreign diplomat and we will not be dictated to by any foreign diplomat,” he told a news conference.

Harmon expressed confidence that the diplomats here understand their position and would not attempt to dictate to the Guyana government. He, however, said the Guyana government was willing to consider suggestions and recommendations.  “It is up to us as an independent country with an independent government and an independent cabinet to decide what is in the best interest of the people of Guyana,” the Minister of State added.

His comments came days after outgoing Deputy Chief if Mission of the United States embassy in Guyana, Bryan Hunt outlined the need for Guyana to end winner-take-all politics by embarking on constitutional reform rather than merely hold workshops on social cohesion. He has also called for several systems to be put in place to deal with conflict of interest and disclosure of assets by public officials as part of efforts to stamp out corruption.

Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo

Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo

The Minister of State stressed that foreign diplomats were not telling the elected coalition government led by President David Granger how to manage Guyana. “Diplomats don’t dictate to us. We are an independent country,” he said, adding that “we have a strong President, we have a strong government that discusses things and where necessary consult with the people on matters that are of mutual interest to all of us in Guyana,” he said.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon.

Opposition Leader Jagdeo has said that as a former president and patriot he was pained to see the Guyana government “groveling” and “sucking up” to junior foreign diplomats in the international community as if their suggestions and advice were “gospel.”  “We can’t put junior officers up on a pedestal from the foreign service of any country and then like compliant people, all the ministers, sit like compliant students and get lectured about how we run our country, when their countries are sometimes in a mess more than ours,” said Jagdeo.