Guyana’s Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Priya Manickchand, was booed by guests at a reception on Wednesday night at the US Ambassador’s residence as she launched a blistering verbal assault on the outgoing US Ambassador Brent Hardt over his criticism of the Guyana government for not calling local government elections in 20 years.
The reception was held to celebrate the Independence of the United States. Manickchand during her 10 minute prepared speech, wasted no time to convey the concerns of the Government over the Ambassador’s recent remarks about Local Government Elections and the President not doing what is best in the nation’s interest by dodging those elections.
Manickchand said the Ambassador’s most recent statements were uncalled for, and she accused him of siding with the Opposition on issues of national importance. The Acting Foreign Minister, trying to speak over loud heckling that mirrored a debate in the National Assembly rather than a diplomatic reception, lashed out at Ambassador Hardt as she told him that he has “crossed the red line” when it comes to Guyana.
Manickchand said “like his President, Barack Obama, there exists a red line. This Ambassador has crossed that line. And like his President, we are resolved, we have resolved and we have so advised our partners, this is the red line”.
“The Ambassador’s behavior is totally unacceptable”, the Minister said, as she pointed out that “It is this government’s pledge that it will not accept such. The super power status of the United States is acknowledged”.
She told the reception that “For the Guyana government, his nuance resort to justifying insurrection in his remarks to the NGO Blue Caps, and here tonight, is profoundly disturbing. A collection of young minds being invited to such a mindset of future engagement with an elected government, warrants our immediate repudiation”.
That statement by Manickchand is in response to the statement by the US Diplomat at the closing ceremony of a training programme on democracy and other social factors which was organised by the new non-governmental group, Blue Caps.
The Acting Foreign Minister said the US Diplomat was uninformed on many issues and depended on the Opposition and the “Opposiiton media” during his tenure. She stayed away from talking about the many programmes and bilateral arrangements that Guyana and the US have entered into during Ambassador’s Hardt stint as the US Government’s Chief Diplomat.
Many of those who were gathered at the reception including politicians and private sector representatives appeared shocked by Manickhcand’s attack. Some were heard murmuring that she was “out-of-place and did not understand time and place”. Between the loud booing and shouts of “Call local government elections now”, Manickchand continued with her speech and ended it by offering a toast to the US Government and its People.
In an unprecedented move, the Ambassador who had already delivered his speech, returned to the podium and remarked “Oh what a send off”. He challenged the Guyana Government to show evidence of him not acting in the best interest of the country and its people. Ambassador Hardt leaves Guyana in a matter of days after completing his three-year stint as the US Government’s representative in Guyana.
With Presidential Advisor on Governance, Gail Teixiera at her side, Manickchand hurriedly left the reception after her speech.
CLICK to Listen to the Minister’s remarks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCrd0LIm9AI