The National Democratic Congress regards with much alarm and disbelief, the reaction of Prime Minster Mitchell and other Government officials to the embarrassment caused to the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, and indeed to the Government and People of the People’s Republic of China, by the recent statement of Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Senator Winston Garraway.
Last Sunday evening, at the Media Workers Association of Grenada Awards, Senator Garraway addressed the gathering on behalf of the Prime Minister, who was scheduled to address the gathering but was not in attendance. With the Chinese Ambassador sitting at the head table almost directly in front of him, Senator Garraway made it a point to heap praise and thanks upon the Government and people of Taiwan for agreeing to grant a fifty percent haircut on the debt owed by Grenada to Taiwan.
From all appearances, the Chinese Ambassador was so deeply offended by the lack of sensitivity that she walked out of the ceremony, to return only after Senator Garraway had completed his remarks.
The National Democratic Congress considers this treatment of the Chinese Ambassador by the government official to be most unfortunate, totally inappropriate and uncalled for. While we are a sovereign nation and reserve the right to thank those who assist us, diplomatic conventions must be respected and observed. In our view, there is a time and place for everything and Sunday evening at the Grenada Trade Centre was not the time and place for the Government official to express his sentiments regarding Taiwan.
The statement by Sen. Garraway demonstrates not only a failure to exercise good diplomacy, but a flagrant disregard for the sensitivity of the Chinese government and people on the issue of Taiwan. Conduct of this nature casts a stain on our international reputation and can only call into question Grenada’s stance on the One China Policy.
We are especially disappointed that the Prime Minister has failed or refused to appreciate the magnitude of this blunder and to see the need to issue an apology or expression of regret to the Chinese Ambassador. To the contrary, the Prime Minister is defiantly holding to the position that we are a sovereign nation and that we are free to do as we like. In our view, being a sovereign nation is not, and never has been, a good or justifiable reason to insult or be insensitive towards a friend.
The NDC calls on the Prime Minister Mitchell Government to take the necessary steps to repair this severe diplomatic blunder on behalf of the people of Grenada.
In light of the Prime Minister’s comments as reported in the media, we further call upon the NNP administration to clarify its position on relations with China and in particular, its position on the One China Policy.