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Probe into claim of verbal abuse by Barbadian diplomat

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kerrie Symmonds has requested a report regarding allegations that the island’s Consul General in New York Mackie Holder had verbally abused a New York councilwoman.

But Holder has vehemently denied the claim.

The encounter is alleged to have taken place during Monday’s West Indian American Day Carnival.

The Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID) had issued a press release harshly condemning Holder’s behaviour on a Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI)-sponsored bus which formed part of the Labour Day parade.

“We in the Caribbean American community will not tolerate this kind of [behaviour],” wrote Director of Communications for CGID Richard Millington about the alleged incident.

Consequently, he is no longer welcome in our community. CGID joins with others in the New York Caribbean American community to demand that the Consul General immediately offer an unqualified, written apology to the elected official. Moreover, we also plan to be a signatory to a letter Caribbean American community leaders plan to write to the Prime Minister of Barbados demanding that Holder be recalled from New York forthwith,” he added.

While Symmonds told Barbados TODAY on Wednesday that he had requested a report regarding the claims, the Consul General himself was adamant that the entire incident was a fabrication.

“All I have to say is that it never happened. Anybody who was there can tell you it never happened. I think I know how to conduct myself. It never happened. If anything, the lady [the US official] was the aggressor,” he told Barbados TODAY in a telephone interview.

“Nobody on . . . the bus abused her.… Put a hand in her face? It never happened.”

The press release from the CGID claimed the situation unfolded when the US official who was playing mas, saw the bus in the parade and hopped on to greet the occupants and ask for water.

CGID president Rickford Burke also posted the allegations on his Facebook page, which attracted mixed reactions. Some demanded that Holder be sent packing back to Barbados, while others insisted that people should refrain from making premature judgements in the absence of all the facts.


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