Indian High Commissioner rebuffs DPI’s ‘mischievous’ post

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Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, Mahalingam Venkatachalam has called out Director of the Department of Public Information (DPI), Imran Khan for “unprofessional” comments he made on social media relating to the first-ever PIO (Person of Indian Origin) Parliamentarian Conference. The conference was attended by Indian-origin serving Members of Parliaments and Mayors from across the globe on January 9, 2018.

Khan on Wednesday afternoon posted a status on Facebook in which he accused the Indian High Commission of interfering in “Guyana’s internal affairs and attempting to engage in the destabilization of the Coalition Government.”

The DPI Head questioned why Indo-Guyanese ministers of Government were not invited to the conference.

“Did the High Commission only and deliberately invite three Coalition Government backbench parliamentarians while specifically ignoring ministers? If so, on what basis was this decision made?” Khan posted. He also tagged the Indian High Commissioner.

In response to Khan’s post, the Indian High Commissioner deemed the comments to be reckless, irresponsible and unprofessional.

“Hence reckless comments on such a serious issue on social media with the clear intention to mislead the general public by none other than Director of Public Information is unfortunate, irresponsible, unprofessional and to say the least, mischievous given the excellent bilateral relations being enjoyed by both India and Guyana and the ongoing friendly cooperation in various multilateral fora,” the High Commissioner noted.

According to the High Commissioner, many persons in the top hierarchy of the Government of Guyana and Guyana High Commission in New Delhi are aware of the invitations from the Government of India for 23 parliamentarians and three Mayors of Guyana and the rationale behind inviting only those Persons of Indian Origin MPs who are not Government ministers.

Khan’s comment was also deemed “distasteful” by Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence who urged him to remove it.

The conference saw as many as 141 PIO lawmakers and mayors of 23 countries where each country made representation on their experience and expectations of the India connect.

Guyana with 20 MPs and 3 Mayors had the largest representation, followed by Trinidad and Tobago with 16 MPs and 4 Mayors.

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