The public outcry over the Roraima Governor’s presence on a PPP/C platform was uncalled for
By Stabroek staff Letters.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
The issuance of a statement by the Federal Government of Brazil through its diplomatic mission in Georgetown reiterating its respect for Guyana’s sovereignty and making its neutrality clear about the upcoming national elections is a welcome and masterful use of public diplomacy.
But I am of the view that, in the first place, too much was made of this issue by the opposition parties. Was a public demonstration outside the Embassy of Brazil really necessary? Did the Governor’s presence really amount to Brazilian interference in the internal affairs of Guyana?
As a matter of fact, the Governor, as reported in the press, never addressed the issue of the upcoming elections. He did not encourage people to vote let alone vote for any political party.
Undoubtedly in the Governor’s view there have been some positive developments in the relationship between the Jagdeo administration and his (Roraima State) and he chose to praise Jagdeo, having been invited by the President to speak at the rally. While the Governor’s decision to speak at the PPP rally might not have been an appropriate one, to elevate it to an accusation of Brazil’s meddling in the internal affairs of Guyana, especially through public statements in the media and in the form of a demonstration outside the embassy, was equally inappropriate. In the conduct of international relations a country can choose its friends but not its neighbours.
Brazil has historically been a good neighbour to Guyana, more so in the light of claims to our territory by our two other neighbours, currently headed by two leaders who can be described as at least unpredictable. Brazil has no claim to any part of Guyana and has steadfastly supported our border with Venezuela based on the 1899 Arbitral Award. Brazil’s support might well have and perhaps continues to make Venezuela think twice about any military action in support of its claim.
The maintenance of our diplomatic friendships, particularly strategic ones, should not be sacrificed on the altar of partisan political expediency. The Opposition Leader and other opposition members of parliament should have sought private meetings (or a joint private meeting) with the Brazilian Ambassador in Georgetown to register their perceptions about the inappropriateness of the Governor’s presence at the PPP rally. To have chosen to make a public outcry about this issue was uncalled for and in poor taste, if not a poor showing of their public diplomacy skills.