Brit ambassador to Kuwait puts foot in mouth over expat difficulties

Published:  20 Mar at 6 PM
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UK expats in Kuwait are laughing behind their hands as the British Ambassador is forced to apologise for a thoughtless comment.

After his embassy staff posted a message to its expats stuck in Kuwait urging them to seek money from local charities if they were short of cash, the ambassador was forced to grovel and apologise. The message was sent via a tweet, later deleted, and called on Britons unable to leave due to the lockdown to beg for cash from family, friends, Kuwait’s Salvation Army or other local charities.

The embarrassing tweet formed part of an online question and answer session aimed at Brit expats in the emirate who’re concerned about their situations vis-à-vis the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. When questioned about the quickly-deleted post, the ambassador admitted he’d take full responsibility for the ‘poorly phrased’ instructions by an unfortunate subordinate. During the interview, he reassured British expat professionals in the emirate that their embassy is fully operational and committed to supporting its nationals at this difficult time.

His apologetic tweet soon received replies, with one annoyed poster stating the UK should be able to allow its citizens financial assistance during this emergency, and another expressing the poster’s sympathy towards British expats’ disappointment. A Kuwaiti citizen was ‘amazed’ at the comment, adding the emirate is ready and willing to help its expat community so the British diplomatic office shouldn’t worry.

Unfortunately, the embassy put its foot in its mouth again by stating it couldn’t give its citizens financial assistance and is advising them to get travel insurance or request an emergency loan. The embassy official responsible for this unhelpful comment obviously had no idea that travel insurance doesn't cover pandemics already under way, and Kuwaiti banks might well be reluctant to offer unknown tourists a loan at any rate. Getting real seems to be the only answer for the embassy's obviously troubled staff as well as its boss.
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