February 9, 2007
PM Mitchell promises probe of anthem blunder


GRENADA – The Government of Grenada on Tuesday issued another apology to the Government and people of the Peoples Republic of China for any misunderstanding or embarrassment caused by the playing of the incorrect anthem at the Handing Over Ceremony of Queen’s Park stadium.

A release from the prime minister’s press secretary also said that a full investigation has commenced and the two police officers directly involved in the event have been relieved of their duties pending the outcome of the investigation.{{more}}

The Royal Grenada Police Force Band played the anthem of Taiwan, considered a breakaway republic by China under the “one China” policy. Taiwan, a former ally of Grenada, regards itself as an independent democracy.

Dr Mitchell, who alerted the hundreds of invited guests present at the ceremony to the mistake, said that the blunder had saddened the happy moment.

“On behalf of the government and people of this very happy country, a country that recognises the warmth of its friends, and respects its friends, I deeply apologise to the Chinese Ambassador and the entire Chinese people, and the delegation for what appeared, and I was told, is an inadvertent error that occurred today when the wrong national anthem was played. It’s a very sad one,” Mitchell said.

“I know we have had our differences and we have a right to those differences and I know the breaking of this relationship with Taiwan was not something supported by all concerned but one thing I always valued about our country is that while we have our differences, we respect everybody and we respect all countries. Once again my deepest apologies, it has saddened and ached my heart.”

He continued: “I do want to promise though that this incident will not go unnoticed and that a full investigation will in fact have to be done and I’m pretty sure that all Grenadians, including the opposition forces in this country, will support any action of the government to deal with this in a way that demonstrates that we respect our friends at all levels at all societies.”

The correct anthem was played following the ceremony which saw China hand over of the US$40 million facility they built as a gift to Grenada.

China provided the finance and 500 workers to help rebuild the 16 000-seat venue, which was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

The Queen’s Park stadium will be the venue for Super Eight second-round matches in April, as Grenada hosts its leg of the Cricket World Cup.