Stabroek News last Tuesday carried a very interesting and factual editorial under the rubric ‘Broken Foreign Service.’ The excellent editorial referred to economic diplomacy − moving to foreign investment and creating space for Guyanese in the diaspora to play a role in the quest to build the country’s economy.
Quite rightly the piece referred to Clement Rohee in his haste to remove the PNC appointed diplomats that he replaced with party supporters, most of whom did not have a clue about administration, and placed them as heads of overseas missions to take over from highly trained and experienced diplomats.
However, a few have learnt and are doing fairly well. Therefore the new administration should not willy nilly remove all. It was reported that the new Foreign Affairs Minister said he will fire all ambassadorial level diplomats save and except two. He should bear in mind that there are a few projects underway which were started by overseas based diplomats and they should be allowed to conclude those undertakings.
As suggested in the editorial, the Foreign Ministry should revive the in house training regime and revive the Foreign Service Institute. Mr Greenidge should invite experts in the foreign service like Rashleigh Jackson and Rudy Insanally to be resource persons and if necessary request the advice of Guyanese-born, Sir Ronald Sanders, an experienced diplomat who served two
terms as Antigua High Commissioner in London and on several committees in the diplomatic
world. He is now a candidate for the Commonwealth Secretary General’s position which
will be vacant in October. Sir Shridath Ramphal who lives in Barbados should also be tapped.
The Foreign Service is the face of the nation and it is vital we have the best, just as we had after
Independence. These were diplomats of the calibre of Sir Lionel Luckhoo, Sir John Carter, Cedric Grant, Rashleigh Jackson, Rudy Insanally, et al.