By Stephen Kangal
January 24, 2014
Foreign Minister, the Honourable Winston Dookeran posits that were the T&T Consulate in New York to continue to apply to the State Department for the granting of an A2 US Visa on behalf of a member of its locally recruited staff (LRS), that would “breaking US law…” Well the Consulate under different regimes in POS has been applying and the State Department has been granting these A2 visas or variations of stays to it and many other foreign consulate accredited to the State of New York.
Is the State Department guilty of and encouraging the violation of its own US law according to the the GORTT and Minister Dookeran?
Is this not a very damaging assertion in Dookeran’s recent Sunday Express Interview by Ria Taitt in more ways than one? Is he interfering in the administration of the immigrations laws/practice of the US Department of State and insinuating incompetence on their part? Does he know these laws better that the creators of these laws? His position in untenable considering it from several established modus operandi.
How is applying for variation of the conditions of stay of a potential LRS in the US having been admitted legitimately wrong when that is the practice among states members of the international community? On his own admission he indicates that the US State Department has never frowned on this practice or protested against it. According to the Minister the GORTT is a better expert at interpreting the immigration laws of the US than the US itself.
The PPG appears to have no diasporic policy position when it can decant its citizens unto the cold streets of New York without any compunctions visitings of nature and nurture. It is taking adversarial politics unto the foreign setting where all ah we is and should be one-Trinbagonians irrespective of ethnicity and political persuasions.
Being the line Minister Mr. Dookeran has not considered the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations that upholds the principle of extra-territoriality and the inviolability of each diplomatic mission that is in fact a state-within-a-state since the laws of the receiving state do not have legal tender within the mission, official residence and residences of diplomatic agents. Having said this all diplomats are expected not to violate the laws of the receiving state. In the conduct of diplomatic relations the Vienna Convention takes precedence over the laws of the US.
What has in fact been taking place in the Big Apple since the advent of demoted Minister, Nan Ramgoolam and for which several facades have been concocted is a form of political cleansing of the Staff of this Mission. This includes the infamous internal examination unilaterally instituted and inflicted by Consul-General Nan Ramgoolam to victimize those long-serving staff members who constitute part of our diaspora and for which the PP has no cohesive policy position. This illegal exam joke was followed by the refusal to apply for the requisite A2 variation of their legitimate stay in the US to continue their employment.
It appears that this conflict with the LRS recruited previously perhaps under the PNM is the main convulsive impulsive of the Consul-General when she should be trying to deliver the more important trade/market opportunities, investment flows and tourism arrivals.
This is a sad day for the reputation and image of the diplomatic service of T&T now in the hands of the inexperienced and the vindictive who are prepared to take the local politics unto the metropolitan centres.