Staffers drawn from the Ministries of Finance, Agriculture, Foreign Trade and the Guyana Defence Force are attending a one-week seminar titled ‘Diplomacy and Development’ at the Ministry’s Foreign Service Institute, Shiv Chanderpaul Drive.
The seminar, which will conclude on July 28, is aimed at better equipping the participants with a greater understanding of Guyana’s development agenda and to improve their negotiating skills to promote Guyana’s interest, the Government Information Agency (GINA) reported.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is hosting the seminar, which commenced Wednesday, in partnership with the Commonwealth Secretariat.
Delivering the opening remarks at the seminar, Minister of Foreign Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett stated that she was pleased to be part of the generation witnessing a new phase of nation building where the focus is more on the functional cooperation aspects in relation to neighbouring countries.
According to GINA, she observed that because of the confidence that has been built with the government and the people, Guyana’s relations with Suriname and Venezuela are better than it had been at any point.
“Diplomacy was an indispensable tool to safeguard the integrity of the territory. During that time Guyana survived in great measure due to our diplomatic efforts,” Rodrigues-Birkett said.
She also assured that government is committed to finding peaceful solutions to border issues which do not in any way hinder the development of healthy and productive relations, since priority will be given to progressive issues that would link countries rather than divide.
The minister told the participants that the seminar is one that would complement what they do every day “and it is an essential part of training designed to equip you with the tools necessary for you to contribute in a more focused and effective way to the process of national development.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has always used diplomacy as one of its more important tools in advancing the development process. During the early post-independence years the emphasis was on diplomacy and defence both for national preservation and for advancing aspects of the development process, Rodrigues-Birkett said.
She pointed out, however, that at present diplomacy is different; it is seen as functioning in increasing emphasis in service of a more domestic development agenda, GINA reported.
Meanwhile, Minister Rodrigues-Birkett noted that the seminar is a timely one that seeks to highlight significant areas of Guyana’s development and the corresponding role diplomacy plays in ensuring progressive levels of successful development.
She added that another aspect of diplomacy that must be considered is the advancement of technology.
“We have to use it efficiently and effectively to be better diplomats …it is a very positive development that allows us to make decisions faster,” she added.