President David Granger on Monday charged Guyana’s Foreign Service to use its exemplary diplomacy to advance the country’s national interest abroad as he opened the Heads of Mission Conference here in Georgetown.
President Granger reminded the Heads of Missions and their delegations that Guyana’s main defence against threats to its territorial integrity and sovereignty, is its use of diplomacy and he called for a strengthening of diplomatic strategies in that regard.
He said Guyana lacked the power to impose its will on other states or sanction other countries and as a small state it must pursue its national interest by using the practice of diplomacy.
President Granger reminded that the state has an obligation to extend its protection to every citizen and noted that the enormous size and extensive dispersal of citizens and their enthusiastic patriotism are assets to be prized.
He also underscored the importance of Guyana’s membership in the Commonwealth, CARICOM and other international bodies, which he said, have not shied away from supporting Guyana in its time of need.
The five-day Conference which brings together Guyana’s Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Consulates is being held under the theme “Advancing Guyana diplomacy in the 21th Century” and will see in-depth discussion on Guyana’s foreign policies and national interest.
During the closed sessions, the participants in the conference will also assess, analyse and discuss the role of overseas missions in promoting the country’s foreign policy.
Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge also addressed the opening session and gave some insight into the discussions that will take place over the next five days.
Minister Greenidge said he has great confidence that at the end of the conference the foreign service will be in a better position to advance the interest of the country.
“I have little doubt that they [the heads of missions] have come here without fresh and novel ideas. In the past the Heads of Mission conference served as instrument for refinement and I expect no less on this occasion,” he added.
The Minister said the unsalable truth is that these times are interesting and complex as small states like Guyana seek to navigate without jeopardizing territorial integrity and sovereignty.
“Successful foreign policy cannot be left to fortune. If it is to be successful it requires careful management and extensive knowledge,” he added.
He noted that Heads of Missions will look at how Guyana intends to fight climate change as it pushes for a green economy, preserve and maintain the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and strengthen economic diplomacy.
Greenidge said Guyana’s integrity should not be diminished or compromised and urged that as a country, Guyana’s response to threats to its border cannot be soft.
“Guyana’s border problems pose a threat to existence,” he added as he reminded of the unsettled border controversy with Venezuela and Suriname.
With relatively new Heads of Missions, some of Guyana’s major accomplishment over the last year is the establishment of a Geneva consulate and the development of a full-fledged mission in Trinidad and Tobago.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has committed to continuing to ensure effective support to Missions so that it can pursue great achievements for Guyana. (Kurt Campbell)