Caribbean News Service (CNS).
ST JOHN’S, Antigua, Mar 30 2016 – A day after former Antigua and Barbuda prime minister Sir Lester Bird described the new United States Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Linda Taglialatela as an “old lady” and questioned her credentials, the administration in St. John’s has apologised to the United States.
“The statements yesterday by the Member of the House are unfortunate and without merit. I want to put on record Mr. Speaker that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on behalf of the Government apologises for the said comments expressed yesterday in this Honourable House,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Charles “Max” Fernandez said during a parliamentary sitting on Wednesday.
“Ambassador Taglialatela is, as far as we know, without repute and someone of very good standing.”
Sir Lester had raised questions about what Ambassador Taglialatela can do for Antigua and Barbuda.
“The Americans just insert themselves. I know you (are) going to get vex with me, but they send some old lady down here saying she is the Ambassador to Antigua….What are her credentials to make her come here and want to advance the third border,” he said.
But Fernandez said Taglialatela, who became the US Ambassador to Barbados and the OECS in December 2015, is a well-qualified.
“As a matter of fact she earned her MBA and served in a number of important positions in the State Department and… in the US Embassy of Bern in Switzerland,” Minister Fernandez said.
“She is a civil servant. She is well qualified; and in terms of her age the Ambassador is in her mid-60s which makes her younger than a number of our politicians here…so I don’t think age is really an issue here.
“PM (Gaston Browne) and I actually met with the Ambassador and found her to be very knowledgeable and engaging and we’ve started a new path to honest forthright dialogue with the US State Department through our relationship through the very US Embassy,” Fernandez added.