In what is believed to be an unprecedented diplomatic development, India’s High Commissioner to Guyana, Mr. Venkatachalam Mahalingam yesterday took on Director of Public Information, Imran Khan, over a social media post.
Khan took to Facebook on Wednesday evening, stating that ‘something smells and it ain’t parfum’. He questioned whether the Indian High Commission in Guyana was interfering in Guyana’s internal affairs and attempting to engage in destabilization of the Coalition Government.
His post was in connection with the 23 representatives from Guyana who attended Tuesday’s special conference for the People of Indian Origin Members of Parliament, held in India.
Guyana’s delegation was the largest and included 20 MPs, 17 from the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and three from the coalition Government.
The PPP fielded just 12 members at Wednesday’s sitting of the National Assembly which was designated private members’ business day, designed to primarily address matters brought by the opposition.
“Were any of the Indo-Guyanese ministers of government and sitting Members of Parliament invited to the Persons of Indian Origin Members of Parliament Conference currently ongoing in India? Or did the High Commission only and deliberately invite three Coalition Government backbench parliamentarians while specifically ignoring ministers? If so, on what basis was this decision made?” Khan questioned.
Khan also tagged the Indian High Commissioner in the post. Several comments supported Khan’s decision to express his views via his personal Facebook page while others were critical of a senior government spokesman making his views public.
Some persons called on Khan to remove the post, including Minister of Public Health Volda Lawrence.
“This is distasteful and not in keeping with how this Government treats their guests,” Lawrence stated in response to Khan’s post. Up to last evening, the post was not removed
Kaieteur News understands that the post has not been well received by the Indian diplomatic missing in Guyana.
According to Mahalingam, many in the top hierarchy of the Government and Guyana High Commission in New Delhi are aware of the invitations from Government of India for 23 MPs and 3 Mayors of Guyana and the rationale behind inviting only those Persons of Indian Origin MPs who are not Ministers.
The High Commissioner described Khan’s comments as reckless in addressing a serious issue on social media. He stated that comments were a clear intention to mislead the general public by none other than Director of Public Information.
“[It] is unfortunate, irresponsible, unprofessional and to say the least, mischievous, given the excellent bilateral relations being enjoyed by both India and Guyana and the ongoing friendly cooperation in various multilateral fora,” Mahalingam stated.
According to Indian officials, the PPP delegation was led by Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo; and includes Clement Rohee, Irfaan Ali, Anil Nandlall, Dr. Frank Anthony, Dharamkumar Seeraj, Dr. Vindhya Persaud, Indranie Chandarpal, Collin Croal, Bheri S. Ramsarran, Zulfikar Mustapha, Ganga Persaud, Neendkumar, Dr. Vishwa Mahadeo, Nigel Dharamlall, Bhagmattie Veerasammy and Vickram Bharrat.
The coalition members who attended the conference are Rajcoomarie Bancroft, Charrandass Persaud and Haimraj Rajkumar. Corriverton’s Mayor, Krishnand Jaichand, was in attendance along with Anna Regina’s Mayor, Rabindranauth Mohan, and Vijay Ramoo, the Mayor of Rose Hall.
The Indian Government believes the one-day interaction will help to establish a network with leaders of Indian origin in various countries, and get a feedback on the direction in which Indian engagement with the Diaspora should proceed.
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