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Foreign Affairs Ministry Responsible for Diplomatic Fiasco
Posted: Thursday, November 12, 2009

By Stephen Kangal, Caroni
November 12, 2009

From documented evidence available to me I can state categorically that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is solely responsible for the diplomatic furore involving a Saudi Arabian diplomat, Fawaz Alshubaili and ACP Raymond Craig at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. There is no need for any inquiry in this matter.

The Ministry of National Security was informed by letter twice that Mr. Alshubaili was coming to T&T to perform an official consular function to issue visas to T&T Islamic pilgrims. They were told that the diplomat was a Second Secretary of the Saudi Arabian Ministry of External Affairs, held a Diplomatic Passport with the number given and was being sent on official mission to T&T. I understand that a Protocol Officer from the External Affairs met the diplomat at Piarco and requested the requisite visa waiver.

Why did the Foreign Affairs Ministry not request that Mr. Alshubaili be attached albeit temporarily to the Diplomatic Staff of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Caracas that is accredited to T&T and be issued with a T&T Diplomatic Identity Card since he was engaged in performing official consular duties? Why did ACP Raymond Craig not contact the Foreign Ministry since he knew before the incident that Mr. Alshubaili was in fact a Saudi Arabian diplomat, had a Diplomatic and had to be treated carefully?

For Minister Gopee-Scoon to reduce the Saudi diplomat to the status of Brian Lara while the latter is on T&T soil to justify police intransigence is pure foolishness. For ACP Raymond Craig to suggest on television that since the Saudi diplomat was not accredited to T&T he can be treated as any ordinary T&T citizen intensifies the level of official foolishness.

If there were reasonable suspicion of Mr. Alshubaili having committed or likely to commit an infringement of our laws he should have been asked to leave forthwith after cancellation of the visa waiver to which he was accorded at Piarco upon arrival.

Failure of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ascertain before hand where the Saudi Diplomat will be performing his consular functions leaves that Ministry open to a charge of dereliction of duty.

Did the Ministries of National Security and Foreign Affairs exchange information they both had on the Saudi Arabian diplomat as they must?

We are drifting aimlessly from the foolish to the ridiculous with a bunch of political misfits in charge of the destiny of Trinidad and Tobago.

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