By KHRISNA VIRGIL
Tribune Staff Reporter
FOREIGN Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell says the FNM’s criticism of his latest diplomatic note to the Malaysian government is another attempt by the party to deflect from their Leader Dr Hubert Minnis’ “insensitive” comments where he likened the government to the lost flight MH 370.
However, responding yesterday, FNM shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs Hubert Chipman said it was no surprise that Mr Mitchell threw a tantrum “like a petulant child stamping his feet in anger at being reprimanded for poor behaviour.”
He said: “Mr Mitchell’s irresponsible use of his position as a means of self-promotion continues unabated as demonstrated by his most recent diatribe against the perfectly legitimate right of the FNM to offer its views on what it perceives to be inappropriate action by Mr Mitchell and by extension the government which portrays our country in a poor light.”
Mr Mitchell told reporters at his constituency office yesterday that the day he takes political and diplomatic advice from Mr Chipman will be when pigs grow wings and fly.
“Again it is not about why I issued a diplomatic note,” he said, “the government took a position and the Prime Minister took a public position with regard to this matter and he stated the government’s position and it was of sufficient concern to the Leader of the country that a statement was made. So the Ministry of Foreign Affairs follows the remit of its principal. That’s how these things work.
“We are in routine contact with countries from time to time. All it did was reassert the position of the country that it was a serious matter as far as we are concerned and that we express our condolences. No more, no less. It has nothing to do with our internal affairs but given the background of the statement just in case out of an abundance of caution the government’s leader said this is of sufficient seriousness for us to make and restate the position and we have done that.
“Now all of this stuff its just tiresome they need to go find another issue really, quite frankly.”
Mr Mitchell said he could not say whether Dr Minnis’ comments in which he said: “This government is more lost than the Malaysian airline the world is looking for,” gained any international traction.
Last Wednesday, Mr Mitchell indicated that a message was sent to the governments of Malaysia, China and the United States in which to indicate that the remarks from Dr Minnis did not in anyway represent a diminution of the seriousness of the loss of the plane and the lives therein. He added that the government, along with the people of the Bahamas, took very seriously the tragedy.
A day later, Mr Chipman minced no words of the diplomatic correspondence saying that it was likely to result in embarrassment for the Bahamas. “The governments receiving these notes will likely find them improper and question why they were sent, embarrassing the Bahamas, the government and especially the Foreign Minister,” he said.