Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Moonilal confirms that there were no protocol breaches with Chinese visit

Roodal Moonilal told reporters Tuesday the authorities in Trinidad and Tobago followed all protocols during last week's state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The Housing Minister was responding to an article in the Express with the headline, Poor Protocol, in which the paper quoted former ambassador Reginald Dumas saying there were protocol lapses. Dumas spoke about a press photo that showed the president standing behind President Xi.

Moonilal told the Express Dumas may have seen “a few pictures and arrived at conclusions. But those of us who were there (at Piarco International Airport) are very clear,” the Minister said.  
“What they call mix-up was when the Prime Minister was introducing Cabinet members and speaking to the visiting heads." He said there was no mix up. "If the Prime Minister has to introduce the Cabinet, she can’t do that from ten feet in the back. We have confirmed that all protocols have been observed.”
PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar introduces cabinet members to President Xi
Moonilal said one should remember that with the arrival of the Chinese President there was rainfall “and there was a scampering effect. It is not a breach of protocol but people were following umbrellas and so on. So that may have looked a bit as though persons on the move in an uncalculated fashion. But it had to be do with the rain”.

Asked how the Chinese President ended up holding his own umbrella, Moonilal said he did not observe that.

Told that there were photos of this, he said if there was such a picture the protocol officers either at the Chinese or Trinidad and Tobago end would have done that.

He said there were other times when an umbrella was being held over him.

“I saw the Chinese security official holding an umbrella over the President. It may have been one moment when he held an umbrella for a few seconds when the rain came down, but I don’t think the President holding an umbrella for a couple of seconds constitutes this breach of protocol. I have security officers too and if I hold an umbrella for a few seconds, I don’t think that is a breach of procotol.”

The Chinese ambassador explained that President Xi refused to let anyone hold an umbrella for him, adding that it is Xi's custom to hold his own umbrella. The diplomat said the Chinese people consider that an "admirable" act.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai