China has rejected the person nominated by Grenada to serve as its Honorary Consul to Hong Kong, as well as three other persons submitted for consideration by Beijing for diplomatic appointments.
THE NEW TODAY has obtained confidential diplomatic notes sent by the Chinese to St. George’s in which they snubbed Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nicholas Steele who was seeking to get the Chinese to appoint the four persons with Far Eastern surnames.
The diplomatic notes showed that Minister Steele made a serious blunder in seeking the blessings of the Chinese to appoint the persons to serve as Grenadian diplomats in Hong Kong which is administered politically by the Mainland.
The four were identified as Yanxia Cao as Honorary Consul, Nancy Yunlin Wei as Deputy Honorary Consul and two Ambassadors-at-large – Xiaoguang Yang and Pen-Chung Wang.
During a sitting of the Senate on April 4, the Leader of Government Business, Kenny Lalsingh in answer to a question posed by Opposition Senator, Dr. George Vincent had released the names of the new Grenada diplomatic appointments to serve in Hong Kong.
However, the documents in the possession of THE NEW TODAY indicate that Minister Steele committed a major error when he misdirected his letter seeking the four appointment by sending it directly to the authorities in Hong Kong.
The authority wrote back to the senior government minister in Grenada advising him that he should not address them on this particular issue but it was one to be handled directly by the Chinese government on the Mainland.
The source spoke of Beijing being eventually contacted by the local Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese wrote back rejecting the four nominees.
The letter from Beijing pointed out to Minister Steele that Mr. Cao would not be appointed by China to serve as Grenada’s Honorary Consul to Hong Kong since the individual was not even living in Hong Kong which amounted to a breach of diplomatic norms.
Minister Steele was told bluntly by the Chinese to put forward another name that was suitable for consideration.
The Chinese also informed the local Foreign Minister that the other three appointments being sought would violate the 2006 protocol agreement signed between the two countries in 2006 when they established ties at the expense of Taiwan which was dumped by a former Mitchell government.
The China/Grenada agreement specifically addressed the number of persons to be accredited as diplomats to serve in each other’s territory.
A high level government source who confirmed the authenticity of the Chinese Notes questioned the competence of Steele as the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.
“This is really embarrassing. After one year and more in the job as Minister of Foreign Affairs is that all Steele can do? How can he make such a basic mistake as to write Hong Hong to get these people appointed and not Beijing? Even a first year university student doing International Relations would know that he had to send such a letter to the Chinese Government and not the regional authority in Hong Kong”, he said.
“Look at it this way in terms of the Grenada context – is like someone writing to the Ministry of Carriacou & Petite Martinique Affairs asking for a particular person to be appointed to serve as a diplomat in Carriacou when indeed and in fact that letter should go to the government on the Mainland in Grenada”, he added.
THE NEW TODAY has made several unsuccessful attempts to get an interview with Minister Steele to quiz him on the four persons who were selected by the one-year old New National Party (NNP) administration to serve in Hong Kong and are now known to be rejected by the Chinese.
However, sources told this newspaper all four non-nationals are working and living in the United States and not Hong Kong and that the authorities in Grenada were seeking to give them diplomatic cover to sell Grenadian passports as part of the Citizenship By Investment (CBI) programme.
Last week THE NEW TODAY had published a list of questions that it was planning to ask Minister Steele on the four persons who were earmarked for Hong Kong.
The senior government minister appears not willing to subject himself to be questioned by this newspaper on matters pertaining to his portfolios.
The question relating to Hong Kong were:
(1). How many Diplomatic Agents were recently appointed to Hong Kong?
(2). What are the names of these persons appointed to Hong Kong?
(3). What are the designations of the persons appointed, and what are their permanent addresses?
(4). Is there a Diplomatic Mission (Office) in Hong Kong? What is the Address of this Office?
(5). What is the purpose of the Diplomatic Office in Hong Kong?
(6). Have the persons designated to Hong Kong, been properly received by the Government of China?
(7). Have these persons been operating, advertising, promoting, acting or advocating in a manner to suggest that they are appointed to Hong Kong?
(8) Who pays the salary of these diplomatic agents to Hong Kong?
(9). What are the nationalities of these persons appointed to Hong Kong?
(10). How many times have they visited Grenada? How long have they lived in Grenada? What is their connection with Grenada?
(11). What were these diplomatic agents promised in exchange for the expenditures that they will incur for Grenada in Hong Hong?
(12). Has the Government of China reacted to Grenada (the sending State) in connection with these Diplomatic Agents? In other words has Beijing accepted these Diplomatic Agents appointed by Grenada to operate in Hong Kong?
(13). Are these Diplomatic Agents appointed to Hong Kong intended to work or act as Agents to the Grenada Economic Investment Programme (GEIP)?
(14). Have they in any way been advertising the CBI programme, via the Internet, via actions or otherwise?
(15). If the Government of Grenada were to discover that these persons designated to Hong Kong, have been promoting the GEIP, in violation of the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Act, is the Government prepared to take legal corrective action consistent with the Act.?
THE NEW TODAY notes that Minister Steele has been making himself available to other media entities in the country but have not been addressing any of the specific issues raised by this newspaper.
There are unconfirmed reports that the Grenada Minister was planning a trip to Kong Kong but details are not available as to whether the trip was in a private or governmental capacity.