T&T envoy to Switzerland loses job after gaffe
(Trinidad Express) Trinidad and Tobago’s Ambassador to the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland, Therese Baptiste-Cornelis, has been recalled from the post.
A statement on Thursday from Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Dookeran stated that her “tour of duty” will come to an end in September and “she has been recalled to headquarters”.
This was also confirmed by Minister of Communi-cations Jamal Mohammed at yesterday’s post-Cabinet press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair.
Mohammed said that Baptiste-Cornelis will be meeting with Dookeran on September 3.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry statement did not refer to Baptiste-Cornelis’s much-criticised lecture which she delivered in June in Geneva on the topic of cultural diversity.
The lecture was uploaded to YouTube on June 28 and attracted a storm of criticism on social networking sites over some of Baptiste-Cornelis’s statements.
Baptiste-Cornelis, a former health minister who was removed after a Cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, was appointed as ambassador in August last year.
Her speech was also criticised by the opposition People’s National Movement.
When the Express called Baptiste-Cornelis’s international phone number yesterday, a man answered and asked who was attempting to contact her.
Told it was the Express, he responded that Baptiste-Cornelis was “not available”.
He said he would not answer any questions about her being recalled and terminated the phone call when asked for his name.
The phone was subsequently switched off.
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley yesterday likened her appointment to that of Reshmi Ramnarine to the post of director of the Strategic Services Agency (SSA) in 2011.
“It is in a similar vein,” Rowley said in a telephone interview yesterday shortly after the announcement. “But I am not surprised, I expected it.”
Rowley said Baptiste-Cornelis got her initial appointment as Minister of Health because she taught Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
“And she got the ambassadorship in the same vein. The Prime Minister has to be held accountable,” he said.