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FNM: Diplomatic note was 'highly inappropriate'

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Hubert Chipman

THE FNM said yesterday that it found it “most unfortunate and highly inappropriate” that Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell would elevate “unscripted remarks” by its leader to the level of diplomatic correspondence with the countries affected by the loss of Malaysian Flight 370.

If an off-hand remark during debate in the House of Assembly, FNM leader Dr Hubert Minnis expressed his frustration with the PLP government by saying that it seemed “more lost than the Malaysian airline the world is looking for”.

On Wednesday, Mr Mitchell raised these remarks to the level of “formal diplomatic correspondence” by announcing that his ministry had issued a diplomatic note to the governments of Malaysia, China, and the United States distancing the Bahamas from Dr Minnis’ remarks.

According to Mr Mitchell, Dr Minnis’ comments have drawn significant backlash from the local community with pundits suggesting that his remarks were both “insensitive” and “highly inflammatory”.

The FNM’s leader has gone on record to defend his remarks, stating emphatically that he will not apologise for them.

Yesterday, Hubert Chipman, FNM Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs, called Mr Mitchell’s intervention a “clear and sad case” of the Foreign Minister using a tool of foreign policy to play domestic politics.

“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,” said Mr Chipman.

“With these governments still working diligently to discover what happened to MH 370, the note from the Bahamas will seem frivolous, and these governments will recognize and perhaps be annoyed that the Government of the day is using the diplomatic process to score cheap political points.

“It is abundantly clear to the FNM that Mr Mitchell has little appreciation for the responsibilities of his position or for the nuances essential to the conduct of responsible international diplomacy,” said Mr Chipman.

“Apparently neither does the Prime Minister who should not have allowed these notes to be sent,” Mr Chipman added.

The FNM’s shadow minister added that a diplomatic note, which is a highly formal manner of communication between sovereign states, would usually be reserved for a country’s position on important matters/issues between them.

In some instances, he said, diplomatic notes convey greetings and congratulations to mark special occasions like national days or the election of a new government.

“While heads of government and foreign ministers more typically exchange more personal and less formal letters to express condolences to each other following the death of a foreign leader or significant national hero and/or to express sympathy and offer support following disasters, natural or man-made, it is not uncommon for such sentiments to be conveyed via a diplomatic note. In that sense, it would have been acceptable for the Bahamas Government to have issued diplomatic notes of condolence and sympathy to the Governments of Malaysia, China and the United States of America over the mysterious disappearance of Malaysian Flight 370 and the feared loss of its passengers and crew.

“In addition to Malaysia, citizens from two other Commonwealth countries with whom the Bahamas maintains close relations, Australia and India, are also missing on MH Flight 370. Australia is providing leadership to the highly technical team conducting the search for the missing aircraft.

“Minister Mitchell,” Mr Chipman said, “might advise the Bahamian people whether notes of any kind were issued on his instruction to the governments of any of the five countries expressing the solidarity of the Bahamian people with those countries during this most trying time.”

The FNM called on Prime Minister Perry Christie to rein in his “out-of-control” foreign minister.

“It is high time that the Government of the Bahamas focus its attention and action at advancing the interests of all the Bahamian people instead of seeking to continue its two-year long political vendetta against its political opponents. It is long past due for this PLP-led Government to move above petty political stunts. Tricky manoeuvres as undertaken by the Minister of Foreign Affairs in this matter cannot disguise ineffectiveness and it does not attract sympathy for the incompetence being demonstrated by the PLP in office,” Mr Chipman said.

Comments

ThisIsOurs 10 years, 1 month ago

It did look like a heavy overreaction, especially considering the tepidness of the response to the issue of Violence Against Women just a few weeks earlier, currently an issue of global concern.

henny 10 years, 1 month ago

I agree with Mr. Chipman. Mr. Mitchells diplomatic notes to those countries were so unnecessary. Were they even approved by the PM? They probably had no idea of what was said by Mr. Minnis, Therefore, is an embarrassment for the Bahamas. What happened to the plane is for sure a tragedy but it is lost and Mr. Minnis statement was stated without thought but people should not take things so personal and concentrate on making the Bahamas a better place.

TalRussell 10 years, 1 month ago

I thought it was Minnis who is the Doctor? How selectively convenient for the reporter's surgical excision to have cut out from this hereto Tribune story, the ridiculously meaty words from the original text of what Comrade Chippie really did say? Here is what Comrade Chippie actually said: "A better statement that he (Minnis) could have said was they were lost in space." Maybe the reporter knew that, for the vanishing Malaysia MH Flight 370 to have flown in 'space' it would have to have become an orbiting space craft. Understandably, red shirts leaning reporters, protectively try not to add to more embarrassment to a fellow red shirt. The more Comrade Chippie and Co, step forward to defend their leader's actions, the louder the International community is encouraged to laugh red. Laugh that much more, if the International Comrades comes to realize, them reds is actually Her Majesty's Official Government In Waiting.

Comrades i ain't mak'in this silly stuff up. Tis the truth!

ThisIsOurs 10 years, 1 month ago

Oh come on...are they paying you? You know very well that the "space" reference was made about the directionless hydra-headed administration

TalRussell 10 years, 1 month ago

The Italian scientist Comrade Galileo done knew way back then, that red shirts air would be mass and be subject to total bull@#$%.

..../// gravity.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=…

ThisIsOurs 10 years, 1 month ago

The only thing I understood in this statement was bull@#$%.

TalRussell 10 years, 1 month ago

Comrade Chippie explains Plane Flight to he leader Minnis.

How do Aeroplanes fly? Tell Me Why Kids Video Show in 3D Anim

..../// https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvIPRhY…

ThisIsOurs 10 years, 1 month ago

I can't disagree...we are in a sad state. And the majority of people either don't care or don't see it, webshops booming, tourists buying 10 dollar tshirts and getting their hair braided, fish fry pack on Sunday evening, carnival comin...and Perry could dance good at 70 eh?! everything lookin good. Forty years in the wilderness of foolishness and all for me.

Bahamianpride 10 years, 1 month ago

The note was idiotic but the back and forth further confirms that our politicians care only about themselves and being in power. Multiple murders, rapes, robberies, social dysfunctions, unemployment, taxes, environment, health, immigration and many other serious issues to deal with but what does Mitchell and Minnis focus on B.S. Nothing could have been accomplished this week if they had time for this nonsense..

TalRussell 10 years, 1 month ago

Comrade Chippie is known as the quiet red MP in the House, so surprised he's the first and so far only red MP or party executive to have stepped forward, to publicly support Minnis's offensive Malaysian statements but since he done bought he ticket, he might as well hang around to enjoy the rest of the Big Red Tent Circus Acts. He can forgets trying get Loretta to buy one them tickets.

birdiestrachan 10 years, 1 month ago

Petty polotical stunts. ? Now I am wondering what Mr. Chipman and his leader think they are all about? I really hate to say this but what Dr. Minnis had to say about the tragadey and the lost of so many lives in the lost plane was just stupid. But Mr. Chipman agrees with the Doctor. He says " He is my Leader" so I suppose he goes along with what ever his Leader says or do right or wrong. It does not say much about Mr. Chipman.

Bahamianpride 10 years, 1 month ago

Murderers, robbers, rapist, poor education, jobs these r issues, to devote dialog to this foolishness shows how political implants care more about scoring for their team rather than dealing with the fact that our country is going down the toilet, Minnis, Mitchell, Chapman & everyone should contribute to solution. We don't have the luxury of fighting while our young men r shooting each other dead in the streets.

ThisIsOurs 10 years, 1 month ago

Spot on. Grown man fighting like girls. No disrespect to my fellow girls.

Tarzan 10 years, 1 month ago

Fred is a joke....a bad joke. If you don't think the serious diplomatic community resents being "used" as a purely political football, you have no idea how real diplomacy works. This is a national embarrassment, yet one more from Fred's idiotic mouth.

TalRussell 10 years, 1 month ago

"What is a 'just society'? We must wait to see how far Bahamalanders will go to punish Comrades Minnis and Chippie? Do they really think the Freedom in their FNM was incorporated by Comrade Cecil, to allow them to act in such an internationally reaching insensitive manner? Sadly, they seem not to realize that the negative dust will never settle on this matter and the more they stand firm, the longer the politically damaging winds will hover over the entire red shirts path, leading into 2017.

ThisIsOurs 10 years, 1 month ago

You presuppose that the persons reviewing this note have no knowledge of the internal political environment in the Bahamas. And as someone pointed out earlier, you also presuppose that the recipients of the note have no knowledge of the ladder climbing and delusional foreign affairs minister. I was thankful to be reminded of the wiki leaks report. You don't have to kill the messenger but you can assess his character and possible motives....wiki leaks is such good reading material after all....

Bahamianpride 10 years, 1 month ago

How does it benefit the Bahamas to take our personal business & spread it to the world the way mitchell did.. Our little spats should stay among us.. if we took every offensive thing sad internationally people would think what a bunch of morons those people are. I don't care which party or member does it we don't broadcast to the international community to score points.. Country First show some patriotism..

TalRussell 10 years, 1 month ago

Never underestimate Chinese intelligence operations in we Bahamaland, including compiling files on what is posted to this hereto Tribune blog page. What the MP's have to say on both sides of the House of Assembly and outside the House, or any person(s) or place, they select to listen-in on conversations of interest to the government of China. If the PLP government wants to know what's going in in the Numbers Rackets, ask the Chinese? What's going in in Freeport, ask the Chinese?

Comrades Bahamianpride and Chippie, why would you two think the Chinese government would have to wait for Minister Freedy, to dispatch he diplomatic pouch, informing them of Her Majesty's Minnis's, insensitive statement, about the vanishing Malaysia Flight MH370, with the majority of passengers being Chinese Nationals? The world powers are still trying to get a handle on, why the Chinese government would have appointed a fully accredited Ambassador to our so tiny Bahamaland?

paul_vincent_zecchino 10 years, 1 month ago

TalRussell -

Quite right you are, sir. The chicoms' eyes and ears are everywhere, and they miss nothing. They have a long history of gathering intelligence and outright gossip and turning it to their advantage.

They miss nothing. Enjoyed reading your post.

paul_vincent_zecchino 10 years, 1 month ago

Dr. Minnis' comment is entirely understandable, appropriate, and apt. The plane is lost, and there's quite a bit of skepticism over the vague, shifting tales told by the media.

Turning off transponders, as the press falsely claims, does not render aircraft invisible to radar. It just makes the visible blips on the radar screen unidentified. But the press continues to tell this fanciful tale.

We're told the Malay military noted the aircraft was 'hundreds of miles off course' according to their radar screens. Highly doubtful, aircraft are loaded with fuel sufficient to get them to their destination with a slight reserve, flying hundreds of miles off course suggests someone deliberately overfilled the aircraft with for ulterior motives.

When the Malay military noted the plane was 'hundreds of miles off course', what action did it take? They don't say. Or did they just switch off the radar and go watch something better on TV?

Dr. Minnis' comparison was spot-on, no apology needed. And the plane is still lost, perhaps as some learned observers speculate, it's sitting in Pakistan, being refitted for some curious future purpose.

HarryBlack 10 years, 1 month ago

Mr. Minnis's comments were not at all appropriate and utterly insensitive. We all know the plane is lost, but this fact was not relevant to the point Mr. Minnis was attempting to make about the PLP, and frankly, it seemed completely off topic. What Mr. Minnis said is no different than saying, the PLP is as dead as your great grandmother. It's a horrible comparison and anyone with a heart should understand that.

paul_vincent_zecchino 10 years, 1 month ago

Are you certain my great grandmother is dead? How can you be sure? lol

sheeprunner12 10 years, 1 month ago

Good speculation PVZ..................... and the PLP is LOSSSSSSSSSSSSTTTTTTTTTTTTTT

TalRussell 10 years, 1 month ago

Why I always play it safe by leaving personalities out of the discussion, never display anger or take cheap shots when blogging. Comrades the reason you have and will never find me playing stupid mind games, arguing or belittling those who vehemently oppose any position I may have taken on a number of topics is; Tribune readers have no surefire way, not know which one of us is the real idiot. Some politicians might want to learn from what I just said.

Bahamianpride 10 years, 1 month ago

the Chinese own us already so comments from Minnis has 0 meaning. The Chinese stay focus on the prize, the stuff we talk about is mindless chatter to them. The bible talks about the debtor is slave to the lender so our politicians are puppets on a string. U think China with its billion people, firing squads & communism is sitting around worried about comments made by one politician in its newly acquired colony, thats laughable.

Bahamianpride 10 years, 1 month ago

Have u ever seen a sensitive Chinese restaurant owner to a rude paying customer. They like f u too U pay see u tomorrow.

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