Canadian High Commissioner Lilian Chatterjee, Former President David Granger and Former Minister of State Dawn Hastings in knocking glass in happier times
“It surprised me,” outgoing Canadian High Commissioner Lilian Chatterjee said when asked about criticisms levelled against her during the five month long election earlier this year.
The High Commissioner was one of several diplomats who called on the then APNU/AFC government to respect the will of the people.
These calls were on the receiving end of harsh criticism from several groups including some members of the APNU/AFC coalition and supporters.
Some had even opined that the election process was still ongoing and a declaration was not made for the then government to concede as they called on the foreign diplomats including Chaterjee to refrain from meddling.
Chaterjee has maintained that her statements were consistent with Canada’s “views and policies.
“Nothing I said in 2020 contradicted what I said in 2019, I am disappointed that I got the reaction I did, but it is a democracy”.
But some of the criticisms were personal and there were stories that the High Commissioner had even interrupted a GECOM meeting. “Those were fabrications,” High Commissioner Chaterjee would tell us, when we sat with her over the weekend.
High Commissioner Chaterjee described her relationship with the former government and former President David Granger as good.
“President Granger was always very gracious to me, I always had a very good working relationship with him, his government and I worked very well together,” she said adding that this is why she did not expect the criticisms that came her way.
These criticisms were similar to those levelled against her predecessor High Commissioner Nicole Giles.
Giles and other members of the diplomatic corps were criticised by the then PPP government following its loss of the 2015 elections.
High Commissioner Chaterjee is adamant that her and her predecessor had to ensure that they related the position of the Canadian government, that the will of the people are respected.
“Nicole Giles did not favour the APNU administration or the PPP, Canada recognised that the APNU government had won in 2015, same goes for me, I am not for PPP, I am not anti-APNU, it was a recognition of respecting the will of the people and that the PPP legitimately won the elections,” the High Commissioner said.
The diplomat said her government was “looking at sanctions,” if the Granger led administration did not concede, pressed on the types of sanctions, she explained that this is a process and it would have had to be escalated but said that “fortunately those were not necessary”.
High Commissioner Chaterjee confirmed that she will not be meeting with Former President David Granger due to his scheduling issues, but she will be meeting with Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon during this week.