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

Dear Editor,

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.

Yours faithfully,
Wesley Kirton
Original Post
The presence of Brazilian governor on party campaign platform was an assault on sovereignty of Guyana
By Stabroek Letters.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dear Editor,

I read with absolute horror the news report that the Governor of a neighbouring superpower was invited to be present at and speak on the platform of one of the parties contesting the upcoming elections.

I cannot imagine a more dangerous assault on the sovereignty of the Republic.

It is a long established law of international and diplomatic relations that foreign governments should not intervene in the internal affairs of any independent state, and to have a local political party, which professes to be national, invite a foreign government to endorse its election to office, is violation of that principle.

If we were to even remotely contemplate venturing down the road of inviting foreign governments or agents to endorse domestic political parties we might as well place the country on the auction block.

Has the party upon whose platform the Governor sat and spoke, considered what the consequences would be if every party contesting the election were to solicit support and endorsements from its favourite foreign government? Our friends in Caracas cannot believe their good fortune.

I have no doubt that the well equipped foreign ministry, with its corps of outstanding diplomats, must have read the New York Times article published on 4th instant entitled ‘Brazil’s Rising Influence meets Resistance,‘ immediately before the invitation to the Governor was issued.

The article opined “Brazilian endeavours are being met with wariness in several countries. A proposal to build a road through Guyana’s jungles to its coast stalled because of fears that Brazil could overwhelm its small neighbor with migration and trade. In Argentina, officials suspended a large project by a Brazilian mining company, accusing it of failing to hire enough locals.”

Isn’t it ironic that the party of Comrade Cheddi Jagan who complained so bitterly about being removed from office by covert foreign intervention in the 1960s, has now begun a new race for the overt intervention of foreign governments in the elections of an independent and democratic Guyana?

Unless this grave assault is rectified immediately the resignation of a high official from Takuba Lodge would be a minimum starting point.

Our national poet Martin Carter perhaps said it best “No madness like this sanity.“

Yours faithfully,
C A Nigel Hughes

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