Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 7th 2013 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, May 7, 2013
India High Commissioner Malay Mishra
prefers to put behind him an incident
last week in which immigration offi-
cers at Piarco International Airport in-
sulted and humiliated him over
completing a form.
"You are inflaming a minor diplomatic
incident to a major one. I would like to
let it go at this time," he said. "This is the
first time this happened to me. I have
been here four years in the country."
The Sunday Guardian reported the inci-
dent after Mishra wrote to the paper to
complain about it.
Mishra, contacted for an update yes-
terday, told the T&T Guardian he had
informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
about the incident because, being of a
diplomatic nature, it was incumbent upon
the High Commission to do so. He said
the ministry was yet to respond to him.
However, Mishra said it was not really
a complaint, but more of a report.
At the time of the incident, he said, he
was using a diplomatic passport...which
gives some privileges to the holder.
"In this case, there is a separate lane
for diplomats, and since not many people
are usually in it, you pass through quick-
"That s the case at Piarco Airport, in
India and in airports all over the world."
But Mishra said the diplomatic passport
does not exempt the holder from filling
"Like any other passenger, I have to fill
Asked how diplomats expect to be treat-
ed, Mishra said the Vienna Convention
of 1962 allowed them certain privileges
and immunities, including protection by
the host government.
"Countries that have signed on to this
convention give respect to diplomats. There
are 190 missions in India," he said.
Pressed as to whether he felt the immi-
gration officers had breached any of these
immunities, he replied, "I think so. They
could have been a little more courteous,
if nothing else."
Mishra suggested the issue should not
be about how diplomats ought to be treat-
ed but that the immigration officials should
not exhibit that type of behaviour to any-
one, diplomat or ordinary passenger.
Mishra also said an important point to
focus on is that such behaviour at the
point of entry into a country is counter
productive for tourism, especially when
that country wants to boost its tourism
Lisa Daniel Charles, communications
head at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
said Minister Winston Dookeran has
expressed concern and regret over the
incident involving Mishra.
In a release yesterday, she said the matter
had been resolved and corrective action
was being taken to prevent recurrence.
Asked by the Guardian what corrective
action was being taken, Charles said Dook-
eran had contacted both parties. She said
she was unable to give further details.
The councillor who mounted Jack
Warner s campaign platform on Sunday,
levelling stinging criticism against Local
Government Minister Surujrattan Ram-
bachan, has lost the support of colleagues
at the United National Congress-controlled
Princes Town Regional Corporation.
In a telephone interview yesterday, the
corporation s vice chairman Gowrie Narine
Roopnarine distanced the council from
statements made by Lengua/St Julien rep-
resentative Alvin Lutchman.
Describing Rambachan as a raging bull
at Warner s re-election campaign launch
in Felicity on Sunday, Lutchman claimed
the minister was abusive to him and threat-
ened to ensure he does not make it back
into office if he supports Warner.
Roopnarine said Lutchman did not attend
the council s infrastructure meeting yes-
terday and the matter was not "discussed
"But none of the councillors share the
views of councillor Lutchman," Roopnarine
"We don t even believe that the minister
made those remarks to him. We are not
supporting those statements made by coun-
Roopnarine said the council has always
had a cordial relationship with the minister
and he has their full support.
Reiterating that the council believes
Lutchman was not speaking the truth, he
said, "We do not stand behind councillor
Contacted for a comment yesterday,
Lutchman said, "I am not going to give any
Asked why not, since he had spoken on
a public platform Sunday, Lutchman said
he would give an interview today.
Attempts to reach chairman of the cor-
poration Ramraj Harripersad on his cell-
phone for comment were unsuccessful.
Suruj may be UNC
UNC deputy leader Suruj Rambachan is
tightlipped on whether he will recuse himself from
UNC s screening team for the Chaguanas West seat
following incumbent Jack Warner s criticism and
allegations about him.
Last Sunday Warner, launching his campaign for
re-election to the seat from which he resigned last
week, made statements about who he described as
"our present super minister, the Minister of Local
Government and the Minister of Works and Infra-
Rambachan holds both portfolios.
The party last week stated that when the seat is
declared vacant - on Friday - the screening team
would be set up and nominees screened.
UNC s screening team has traditionally comprised
the party leadership and other executives.
Rambachan was asked yesterday whether he would
recuse himself from UNC s screening team following
Warner s views about him up to last Sunday.
Rambachan said, "The screening team hasn t been
established yet... when the time comes, we ll see."
Rambachan said he had no feelings on what Warner
and councillor Alvin Lutchman had said about him
on the platform at Warner s meeting last Sunday.
Rambachan added: " Nothing is new in politics."
Meanwhile, UNC general secretary Dave Tankoo
has said no correspondence was sent to any UNC
MPs or officials suggesting they adopt any position
regarding Warner s Chaguanas West campaign.
Tankoo said this yesterday when asked about last
Saturday s Express claim that "correspondence and
communication went out to party members, MPS,
activists, constituency executives and other UNC
supporters to distance themselves from Warner s
Tankoo said he had no knowledge of any such
correspondence and hadn t seen any to that effect.
Asked about views Warner could be disciplined
for contesting independently, Tankoo said while UNC
can only have one candidate who uses the party logo
and colours, there could be independents in any elec-
tion, but they could not use UNC s logo or colours
if the party is putting up a candidate of its own. He
referred T&T Guardian to the UNC s constitution.
On reports that PP Senators Vasant Bharath and
Kevin Ramnarine were front runners for the candidacy
since their names were being promoted for the seat
on various blogs, other top level UNC sources were
sceptical of their success since they said Bharath for
instance, was not from the area.
Bharath said he hadn t been approached and as
far as he was concerned the party would decide on
Asked what he would do if people asked him to
accept nomination, Bharath said, "I d have to consider
Canadian High Commissioner Gerard Latulippe, left, presents a French text book to
principal of the St Augustine Girls' High School, Joanne Mahadeo, at a ceremony at the
school. The function was attended by Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh, centre,
yesterday. Textbooks were presented to the school in keeping with the High
Commission's pledge to donate texts to all the secondary schools that participated in
School Francophone Week hosted recently by the Alliance Francaise.
PHOTO: ANDY HYPOLITE
BOOKS AS PROMISED
If a member of the party shall, in opposition to
any party candidate or nominee or otherwise in
defiance of or contrary to any arty directive or
(i) publicly announce his intention to
participate in or contest, or be a candidate or
nominee for election to a seat in parliament or
any public forum or municipal corporation;
(ii) accept nomination or appointment to any
such public forum or municipal corporation
shall thereupon cease to be a member of the
Party and shall not subsequently be or be
entitled to be a member of the Party except
after the expiration of five (5) years from the
date of such announcement or participation or
acceptance or consent or otherwise as the case
may be as determined by the National Executive
and then only upon the approval of and on such
terms and conditions as the National Executive
UNC CONSTITUTION STATES
...about immigration discourtesy at Piarco
Mishra had called on the ministry to
investigate what he labelled a "human
behaviour" problem which played itself
out at Piarco Airport when he arrived
there from Grenada on May 3.
He said he was required to fill out an
immigration form, but none was given
to passengers on board the flight and
he had to wait until he reached Piarco.
On arriving, he went to the
diplomatic queue for clearance and
obtained a form, but was directed to a
line with a no-entry barricade.
When he came back, an immigration
officer shouted and pointed at him and
told him to fill out the form.
When Mishra told him he was
representing a sovereign country, the
officer told him he was misrepresenting
Princes Town councillors 'spit out' Rambachan critic
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