Observation: Misrepresentation At International Conferences Is Insulting

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room


Misrepresentation At International Conferences Is Insulting

Why on earth send the Minister of Education to the AfriCaribbean Conference in Barbados instead of the Antigua Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

Our Prime Minister himself should have availed himself to attend this most important first of its kind AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum, which seeks to bring Africa and the Caribbean closer together, and convened by the African Export Import Bank.

The AU Commission, Africa Business Council, African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat, CDB, Caricom and the Caribbean Export Development Agency comprised the heavy weights attending in Barbados.

Did someone in the Prime Minister’s Ministry fail to brief P.M Browne on the importance of the event, and benefits to be gained from the august gathering of African and Caribbean movers and shakers, seeking to build economic and financial bridges cross the pond.

Was the PM so busy engaging his Northern, Middle & Far Eastern investors, that he just could not bother with those black people bonding in South-South investment and trade.

Even if PM was not interested, or busy, he could at least have sent a representative who could contribute to discourse on international trade and finance.

Misrepresentation of our country at such a important and cultural event can only send the wrong message to the gathering, bordering on insult and disinterest in the mission of the conference. Not to berate the intelligence of the attendee, but years of involvement in trade, commerce and finance allows for greater participation, and even in understanding the discourse as the language is often specific, expecting delegates who work in the various fields to understand intricate theories with the applicable abbreviations. Misrepresentation can also be embarrassing for the delegate whose limitations re subject matter could retard interactive contribution.

Where is the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade? If he was incapable of attending the AfriCaribbean Conference, clearly a more directly involved representative should have replaced him, even the Junior Minister of Finance who is accustomed to International Fora, having worked at the World Bank, or the Ambassador in the Office of the Prime Minister who also has an international profile and whose work has taken him to Africa.

Antigua must have been a very lame spectator, signing the Agreement and coming home empty handed.