nThe Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that it has formally approached the Canadian High Commission in Georgetown seeking an explanation in relation to what it said was certain breaches of protocol by one of its diplomats, who escorted APNU+AFC parliamentarian Charrandass Persaud to a flight leaving the country on December 22nd.
A release issued by the ministry yesterday said that in keeping with normal diplomatic procedures, a Note was dispatched on January 7th to the High Commission and meetings were subsequently held on Wednesday and yesterday with Canadian High Commissioner Lilian Chatterjee.
The ministry said it “is duty bound to seek clarification on reports of breaches of diplomatic protocol by a foreign mission. This process is ongoing and the ministry is working with the Canadian High Commission to ensure that the matter reaches a satisfactory conclusion.”
The ministry has not released the text of the note delivered to the High Commission.
A statement issued on January 7th by Ogle Airport Inc (OAI), in response to media reports, the administration of the airport said Persaud, who was a passenger on an outgoing LIAT flight on the morning of December 22nd, 2018, was accompanied by Mr. Richard Beliveau, Mission Security Officer of the High Commission of Canada, together with Mr. Peter Ramsaroop.
“Mr. Beliveau presented himself and his Ministry of Foreign Affairs ID Card to the Airport Duty Officer and requested a pass to accompany a passenger to the aircraft. Mr. Peter Ramsaroop also requested a pass saying he was part of Mr. Beliveau’s party. The Airport Duty Officer, in accordance with an established courtesy practice as is requested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs extended to diplomatic personnel, granted a Protocol pass to both persons. The passes were duly returned in exchange for their respective ID documents on their departure from the Airport.
“Both Mr. Beliveau and Mr. Ramsaroop, as well as Mr. Charandass Persaud, were subjected to full and complete screening before entering the Departure Lounge in accordance with the requirements of the Aviation Security Programme approved by the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority,” the statement explained.
It is customary for persons in any country to reach out to their diplomatic representatives for a range of consular assistance. In this case, Persaud, a citizen of Canada travelling on a Canadian passport, said that he felt he was in grave danger after voting on December 21st in the National Assembly with the opposition PPP/C on a motion of no-confidence against the APNU+AFC government. His vote resulted in the motion of no-confidence succeeding, thereby triggering the holding of new elections within three months.
Since Persaud’s vote, he has been targeted by the government and its agencies on several fronts. His being escorted through the Ogle airport is now the subject of an investigation. He has also been accused of being involved in bribery and this is being investigated by the police. The government has also lodged a court case saying that he was ineligible to vote on the motion by virtue of his Canadian citizenship.