(Trinidad Guardian) Dr Neil Parsan, T&T’s ambassador to Washington, has been reported on an official Web site as saying the local East Indian community is the “most well-to-do and culturally strong and progressive ethnic group in the uniquely plural society of T&T.” The remark, contained in a speech, posted on the embassy’s Web site, www.ttembassy.org, and delivered in New York, has caused offence both at home and abroad.
Parsan said he was addressing members of the Indian diaspora at a function by the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin on November 7 in New York. With the exception of Sat Maharaj, secretary general of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha, those interviewed by the T&T Guardian, including Selwyn Cudjoe, president of the National Association for the Empowerment of African People, disapproved.
PNM MP Dr Amery Browne and Khafra Kambon of the Emancipation Support Committee also did not agree with Parsan. In response, the Washington DC envoy said the offending lines in his speech were from a first draft and were deleted. He said in the speech he delivered, those lines were left out.
He added: “Usually, I would sit and edit my speech before I deliver it. It is the first draft with the lines in question that was posted on the T&T?Embassy’s Web site.” Up to yesterday evening, it was still online. Parsan said the only part from the paragraph that he kept was that East Indians were “the largest numerical representation in the entire Caribbean.”