Government appointed a veterinarian who had no foreign service background to be T&T's consul general for Miami, according to information by Foreign Affairs Minister Suruj Rambachan yesterday.
He supplied details of the Consul General-Dr Anil Ramnanan -in reply to Opposition questions in the Lower House yesterday. But Rambachan remained mum on Opposition queries whether Ramnanan, prior to his appointment, had been on disciplinary charges at his former job at the Food Production Ministry and if Ramnanan had been importing dogs into T&T without the necessary permits.
Rambachan said Ramnanan was a public officer for 11 years prior to becoming consul general to Miami in February. He said Ramnanan had been a vet at the Food Production Ministry between 2000 and 2010, as well as being an assistant teacher and part-time UWI lecturer. "He (Ramnanan) was not a foreign service officer prior to his appointment as consul general to Miami," Rambachan conceded. Rambachan also admitted: "Yes, the duties of consul general, in practice, have been performed by senior foreign service officers." He said the previous Government, by Cabinet agreement in April 2009, agreed to the employment of a consul general to New York on a two-year contract.
Rambachan said Ramnanan's appointment as consul general on contract was approved by Cabinet last November. Since Ramnanan was not a foreign service officer, Rambachan said he only would be responsible for administration, security, immigration, reporting on political developments and other duties at the consulate. Rambachan said foreign service officer, Garth Lamsee, was handling the duties of accounting officer at the consulate, since the accounting officer must be a foreign service officer. He did not reply to supplemental Opposition queries whether Ramnanan had been on no-pay leave from his previous Food Production Ministry job, prior to his appoinment, and if he also had been on disciplinary charges.
Nor did Rambachan respond on whether he was aware of civil service regulations regarding public officers on no-pay leave being granted overseas assignments, especially when there were disciplinary charges attached to the officer. Rambachan said he would have to obtain the information. Meanwhile, Government yesterday declined to say exactly whether the Jamaican Government had taken a position against Government's initial nomination of Anthony Moore to be T&T's High Commissioner to Jamaica.
Foreign Affairs Minister Suruj Rambachan, replying to Lower House queries on the issue, said Moore, a petroleum refinery worker of 32 years experience, had been nominated to Jamaican authorities for the post by Government last November.
But Rambachan said, subsequent to that, Moore said he was not in a position to accept the post due to "personal reasons." Rambachan said Government withdrew the nomination. Moore was made chairman of the T&T Postal Corporation. Government subsequently nominated Dr Iva Glouden for the post of high commissioner in February. Rambachan declined to answer Opposition queries on the criteria for the post and whether the Jamaican Government took any position about Moore's nomination, apart from his own decision not to accept the post.
Rambachan said he was not aware of any position taken by the Jamaican Government. PNM MPs, who seemed to know otherwise, bawled in surprise: "Whaaat!" Rambachan said he was aware Government withdrew Moore's nomination. He said the situation never reached to agreement stage since Moore withdrew due to "personal reasons." Those were not stated.