While we, along with the rest of the international media, were too busy gazing in adoration at Peng Liyuan’s steel drum solo during her and her husband’s visit to Trinidad and Tobago, citizens of the island nation were left mortified by their government’s handling of China’s first couple.
Former diplomat and head of the public service Reginald Dumas told the Trinidad Express that he was shocked by the “glaring protocol lapses” which occurred during the three visit.
Dumas wasn’t the only Trinidadian to feel #soembarrassed, he said he got emails from concerned citizens.
“You had the Chinese President arriving in rain. I would have thought there would have been some kind of canopy over the red carpet…there was none. I was also surprised to see the President (Xi) himself holding an umbrella over his head and that of his wife’s head. I have never seen this before. Where were our (protocol) people?”
Clearly, Dumas did not get the memo that only snobby Muslim socialists force other people to carry umbrellas for them.
Dumas said people also noticed the Chinese President walking not with our President, but with the Prime Minister slightly behind him and the President of Trinidad and Tobago Anthony Carmona “somewhere in the back”. “What’s going on? What is this?” he asked.
What’s going on? What kind of world is it that someone might walk alongside a person not of the exact same rank and title as themselves? Madness.
“Who advised Andy Johnson (of Government Information Services)? Andy is not a protocol expert. Was there the meeting of minds with the President’s office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the embassy of China? I don’t know. Because all of this should have been worked out in great detail…and written down.
Clearly Johnson was not so advised because he promptly calls on the President of China (to speak before the Prime Minister), much to the President’s consternation.
How can the guest speak before the host?”
Come on Andy Johnson, this is Chinese Presidential Visit 101 stuff.
“My general reaction to all these lapses I have been seeing domestically, and now internationally, is one of dismay and wonderment that more than 50 years after independence, we should be making these elementary errors.”
In international diplomatic protocol terms, Trinidad and Tobago will always be the 6 year old at the birthday party with jelly on his face.
“One would always make mistakes…but these are avoidable mistakes. And as someone who has spent so long in the foreign service at home and abroad, I am embarrassed.”
Dumas said up to yesterday morning he was talking to a number of people and wondering how he could go about getting people to understand what is the correct thing to do.
Clearly country-wide seppuku is the only option remaining.