Indian High Commissioner Arun Kumar Sahu on Friday refused to acknowledge questions about the status of the vaccines from India or the letters from both Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar about the same.
The Indian High Commissioner's officer hosted the "India's Pharmaceutical Sector" at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute for Cultural Cooperation in Mt Hope and Sahu served as the main speaker.
Sahu walked off on reporters and pre-empted any questions by saying "not about the vaccines" while shaking his finger at the reporters and walking off. He exited the event and refused to respond even as reporters tried to ask him about the letters.
In Parliament on Friday, when asked for an update on the vaccines, Rowley confirmed that there was no update.
On March 1, Guardian Media sent questions to Sahu's office regarding the February 23 letter from Rowley requesting access to the India donated vaccines and a request to purchase.
In that request for information, Guardian Media sent the following questions:
1. Were High Commissioners deployed through the Caricom islands aware that India was offering a 500,000 vaccine donation to respective Governments?
2. When was that offer communicated to the High Commissioners?
3. When did your office know that there as a 500,000 vaccine facility available to Caricom islands?
4. Did your office communicate that to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago?
5. When did communications about the vaccine begin between your office and this Government?
6. Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said that he wrote to India Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Have you been involved in discussions about obtaining donated vaccines for T&T?
In the two weeks since that letter, the Indian High Commissioner office has sent copies of articles written by Sahu but no response to the questions.
His latest snub of the questions and the media came just hours after Rowley, in Parliament, responded to questions for an update about his request for vaccines. The Prime Minister said then that there was no response.
Persad-Bissessar also sent a similar letter on February 28.
There was no response to her letter either.
At Friday's event, India was praised for its role in assisting various countries with donated and purchased vaccines.
Successive speakers, including Opposition MP for Cumuto/Manzanilla Dr Rai Ragbir and president of the Chaguanas Chamber of Industry and Commerce Vishnu Charran praised India's "vaccine maitri", the drive to vaccinate the world against COVID-19.
Ragbir said the "absolute lapse in diplomacy" lay at the feet of the Government.
"I have absolutely no doubt, as everyone here, that India stands ready, willing and able to assist the people of this country in whatever way it can but the channels of diplomacy had been idle by the countries authorities in their pursuit of the vaccine," he said.
Rai highlighted that his political leader also wrote to India Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He neglected to mention that Persad-Bissessar also did not get a response to her letter.
In a daily newspaper report on Saturday, however, Minister of Foreign Affairs Amery Browne said that he spoke with Sahu at a function on Friday and he indicated that he had received no response as yet from his government, but would liaise with his headquarters and provide appropriate feedback in due course.