History will record 2023 as one of the most temperamental years in foreign diplomacy across the globe as governments draw lines in the sand in regard to the numerous conflicts between warring nations that move the needle ever so closer towards a potential World War 3. Global communications is the newest weapon being used by these nations to sway public opinion on the morality of conflicts such as Russia vs Ukraine, Palestine vs Israel, Pakistan vs India, Venezuela vs Guyana and the BRICS vs the USA and as such, leaders are now more wary than ever regarding which side of these disputes they choose to support. For this reason, we are now also witnessing certain nations using diplomacy as leverage against certain parties with whom they disagree, such as Canada and certain European nations who are willing to cut ties with other countries over ideological differences which might not even affect them directly.
With tensions across the globe at an all-time high, it was therefore fascinating to read a letter published recently in a daily newspaper which tried to downplay the importance and relevance of a majority of the foreign diplomatic corps in T&T attending a Divali function hosted by the Political Leader of the UNC Hon Kamla Persad Bissessar SC. And I say this because as this was being coordinated by the Leader of the Opposition, this was not a State hosted event, for which the patronage of the Diplomatic Corps would make more sense. As such, at a time when diplomatic relations have become a study of who to avoid, the fact that an organization that stands opposed to the government was able to attract so many foreign diplomats to celebrate with them is a testament to the global perception and standing that the UNC has been able to maintain under the stewardship of Mrs Persad Bissessar and her team.
It should also be noted that this stands in stark contrast to the numerous embarrassments caused by the PNM government in their attempts at foreign diplomacy. This includes the sanctions by the European Union on fishing in T&T, the unauthorised incursion onto foreign soil by local law enforcement officials, the continued downgrades in security ratings by foreign governments, the dishevelled appearance of the Prime Minister at the podium of numerous international events, the deliberate misrepresentation of the Attorney General in a foreign court, and the refusal to commit to multiple treaties and cooperative agreements such as in relation to our position on issues regarding CARICOM, Venezuela and Guyana.
The fact of the matter is that the foreign stock placed in T&T has never been lower than it has been under the current PNM regime, which is the reason why the employment of lobbying groups is so important for us to have a voice in certain other countries. For this reason, the fact that so many of the diplomatic corps are willing to engage in diplomacy with the Opposition should be something that is celebrated instead of being criticized by those with selfish agendas. Because while it has been widely known for some time that the UNC is committed to providing representation to the nation in the Parliament, they have now shown that they are capable of providing it at an international level and giving a voice to the people on a global scale.
Ravi Balgobin Maharaj
Mob: +1 868 476-6181