By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Loud booing and heckling erupted in the National Assembly this afternoon (Thursday, July 10), when Education Minister Priya Manickchand stood in the House to defend the speech she delivered one week ago which has been widely deemed as an assault of United States Ambassador to Guyana, Brent Hardt.
Opposition Parliamentarians booed and shouted “shame” almost drowning out the Minister. Manickchand was responding to Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister Africo Selman’s call for her to issue an apology to the nation, pointing out that her behavior was an embarrassment.
According to Selman, she is personally aggrieved and condemned what she said was the Minister’s inappropriate behavior which was displayed at the Ambassador’s local residence to celebrate the July 4 US independence.
“It was an attack that was most inappropriate and of bad taste,” Selman said despite objections from the government benches.
She recommended that if the administration had objections to the manner in which the Ambassador was operating, they should have called him behind closed doors or his principals should have been asked to recall him.
However, Manickchand responded pointing out that the administration has in fact met with the Ambassador behind closed doors and addressed his “frequent breach of diplomatic protocol but to no avail.”
According to the Minister, “Guyanese do not have the luxury to say yes to the United States to avoid trouble or please the US because Guyana is a sovereign state.”
She said government is of the firm view that Hardt was meddling too much in local politics and his remarks at a public functions days prior, called for an insurrection in the country.
“Two days before I delivered that speech the Ambassador undiplomatically denigrated and libeled President Donald Ramotar, lashed at and mocked the General Secretary of the ruling party and represented the two opposition parties against the government.”
Manickchand maintained that her response to the Ambassador was fitting and within established diplomatic protocols.