Tripping up the president
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The president's recent visit to Latin America received a lot of flak, and this seems to be rubbing off on the president. Is this fair?
The issue of sparse attendance in the Brazilian Parliament could have been averted if our foreign office had intimated all concerned that during the holiday season, customarily the entire House did not attend parliament. Similarly the embassy would have known that the president's son was not attending the banquet as they would have seen him off at the airport. Shouldn't they have informed their Mexican counterparts and avoided the embarrassment of an empty seat on the high table?
Again, how is it that the president was not properly briefed about the requirements of the ceremonial reception where she inadvertently almost walked past the tricolour? Our ambassador's office and the foreign office surely need to bear the responsibility for the various situations noted by the media.
My intention is to highlight some issues faced by the delegation in order to try and improve the productivity of future delegations on which we spend millions.
Having been on the president's entourage on her visit to Brazil, Mexico and Chile, my experience was one of watching the president's influence and impact grow from strength to strength. This visit had a number of firsts. The president's first trip abroad as head of state, the first time that any president has taken a business delegation on a state visit. Another first was the NGO representation within the business delegation.
We were able to initiate an in-principle agreement to extend the scope of Grassroots Trading Network for Women (a SEWA-promoted NGO ) to Mexico. In Brazil, we arrived at an agreement to share best practices with SESI, experts in corporate social responsibility, with established audits of corporates in CSR. A lot was achieved which has not been reported.
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