Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Roger Luncheon has confirmed that Brazil is taking longer than usual to respond to the proposed posting of Local Government Minister Kellawan Lall as Ambassador to Brasilia saying yesterday the delay is the longest in recent years.
Guyana had submitted the request for Agrément to the Government of Brazil shortly after Minister Lall was named to succeed previous Ambassador to Brazil Harry Narine Nawbatt. To date, Agrément has not been forthcoming.
Stabroek News raised the issue with Dr. Luncheon at his weekly post-Cabinet press briefing yesterday and initially he offered a terse response. “On the Guyana Government side I can say that we await Agrément from Brazil”.
But Dr. Luncheon later addressed additional questions saying speculation is expected when the time in getting a decision is put off. He argued the issue involves the actions of a sovereign nation, and he pointed to the actions of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez back in December last year when he rejected the appointment of Larry Palmer as U.S. ambassador to Caracas.
Luncheon responding to the delay, said as far as he can recall Brazil had been more prompt in responding to requests from the government here. However, he stressed that the country’s bi-lateral relations with Brazil extended beyond his time in office.
Luncheon said that Brazil reserves the right to take, “however long they want”, adding that Guyana can always pull the name if it grows impatient waiting on a response.
“I can’t answer that”, Dr. Luncheon said when questioned as to whether Minister Lall is likely to be confirmed and he reiterated that Brazil is a sovereign country.
It is approaching three months since the President identified Lall for the posting, but it is unclear whether he will fill the position. The Minister had no response to queries about the posting when he was questioned by this newspaper earlier this month. Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues also addressed the issue after several requests for information, and according to her the request is being dealt with.
It was back in late March when Luncheon told media operatives that Lall had accepted an offer made by the President to take up the diplomatic posting in Brazil and that PPP/C MP Norman Whittaker had been identified to head Lall’s ministry.
Nawbatt left the post to serve as Guyana’s new High Commissioner to Canada. He had served in that post since November 2008.
Sources say Brasilia was not thrilled with the nomination of Lall. The senior government official has been involved in several incidents here which required police involvement and led to accusations that Lall was being favourably treated.