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Speculation over likely Sandy posting
There will be an announcement from Government soon on the situation concerning controversial Ambassador to Geneva Therese Baptiste-Cornelis, Local Government Minister Suruj Rambachan said yesterday. Rambachan, who acted as Foreign Affairs Minister last week, was updating the T&T Guardian on the issue which arose with Baptiste-Cornelis after she delivered a statement at a German symposium. There she spoke at length on issues irrelevant to the topic including her personal life and previous tenure as health minister. This was followed by criticism including from former Head of Mission Reginald Dumas and former Foreign Affairs ministers in the PNM Ralph Maraj and Paula Gopee-Scoon. Baptiste-Cornelis has been incommunicado since. There was no reply yesterday at the phone number for the Geneva mission. Rambachan, who was mandated to do a report on the issue, said he will brief Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran on the issue since Dookeran was due to return to office yesterday after a two-week illness. Dookeran’s secretariat confirmed he had returned.
Rambachan confirmed Cornelis was still in Geneva and that he had been in touch with her late last week. He added, “We had a very frank discussion and I pointed out that as I would point out to all diplomats, the necessity to ensure at all times that a positive image is created for T&T. We had a frank but cordial exchange of views.” Since there has been widespread opinion that Baptiste-Cornelis should be recalled, Rambachan was asked if she will be removed. He declined comment. Pressed on what might be the outcome of the issue, he subsequently said there will be some announcement on the situation soon. After the June 25 Cabinet reshuffle—before Cornelis spoke—Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said she’d offered former National Security minister John Sandy a Geneva post and that was being discussed. Sandy was abroad up to last weekend. Sandy did not respond to calls yesterday. Other Government sources last week projected he might be the one to replace Baptiste-Cornelis.
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