MP Rodney Charles has expressed great protocolary concern at the recent meeting between Prime Minister Rowley and the Venezuelan ambassador (Newsday, December 23).
He is reported as saying that diplomatic meetings are usually held between equals, and that the Prime Minister, “unfamiliar with the finer points of diplomacy,” has committed a diplomatic faux pas in meeting with an ambassador, someone of lesser status than he.
I used to be a head of mission myself, and during my time in that capacity I had several one-on-one meetings with both heads of state and heads of government. Among them were president Hoyte of Guyana, president Nyerere of Tanzania, prime ministers Barrow, Charles, Compton and Mitchell (respectively of Barbados, Dominica, Saint Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines), prime minister Desai of India, and so on. All had agreed to see me; some indeed had asked to see me.
But perhaps they all considered me at least their equal.