Foreign Minister Winston Dookeran posits that were the T&T Consulate in New York to apply to the State Department for the granting of an A2 US visa on behalf of a member of its locally recruited staff, that would be “breaking US law”. Well the consulate, under different regimes in Port of Spain, has been applying and the State Department has been granting these A2 visas or variations of stays to many other foreign consulates.
Is the State Department guilty of and encouraging the violation of its own US law?
Is this not a very damaging assertion in Mr Dookeran’s last Sunday Express interview by Ria Taitt in more ways than one?
Is he interfering in the administration of the immigration laws/practice of the US Department of State and insinuating incompetence on its part? Does he know these laws better that their creators?
How has applying for variations of the conditions of stay of a potential locally recruited staff member in the US been admitted legitimately wrong, when that is the practice among state members of the international community?
On his own admission, he indicates the US State Department has never frowned on this practice nor protested against it. According to the minister, the Government is a better expert at interpreting the immigration laws of the US than the US itself.
Being the line minister, Mr Dookeran has not considered the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations that upholds the principle of extra-territoriality and the inviolability of each diplomatic mission that is, in fact, a state within a state since the laws of the receiving state do not have legal tender within the mission, official residence and residences of diplomatic agents.
Having said this, all diplomats are expected not to violate the laws of the receiving state. In the conduct of diplomatic relations, the Vienna Convention takes precedence over the laws of the US.
What has, in fact, been taking place in the Big Apple since the advent of demoted minister Nan Ramgoolam, and for which several facades have been concocted, is a form of political cleansing of the staff of this mission.
This includes the infamous internal examination unilaterally instituted and inflicted by Consul-General Nan Ramgoolam aimed at those long-serving staff members who constitute part of our diaspora and for which the People’s Partnership has no cohesive policy position. This illegal exam joke was followed by the refusal to apply for the requisite A2 variation of their legitimate stay in the US to continue their employment.
It appears this conflict with the locally recruited staff who were recruited previously, perhaps under the People’s National Movement, is the main convulsive impulse of the Consul-General when she should be trying to deliver the more important trade/market opportunities, investment flows and tourism arrivals.