A one week Orientation Programme for the newly appointed Heads of Missions, organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, kicked off on Monday morning at the Foreign Service Institute in Georgetown.
It is the aim of the Ministry to continue with the annual Heads of Mission Conference but this session was specially organised to outline to the new Heads of Missions, the government’s expectation.
Present for the orientation were Dr. Shamir Ali who is the Ambassador designate to Kuwait; Michael Ten-pow, Guyana’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, David Pollard, High Commissioner designate to India and Dr. Kenrick Hunt, High Commissioner designate to South Africa.
During the opening session, Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge called on Ambassadors and High Commissioners designate to ensure that they are positioned to advance the country’s trade and investment interest.
The Minister said Guyana’s foreign representatives must ensure they are able to adapt in the rapidly changing world, tap into the rich Guyanese diaspora and ensure that re-migrant initiatives are made to function effectively.
Minister Greenidge was insistent that Ambassadors and High Commissioners must advance the country’s economic interest abroad and should also have experience in commerce, economics and trade negotiations.
Greenidge said it was not enough that Foreign Officers would only have knowledge in general diplomacy and foreign relations. He said specialist skills would always be an asset for appointees.
The Minister also noted that the foreign service headquarters in Guyana needed improvement in order to properly support the missions abroad.
Greenidge said the government was looking to increase the rate of recruitment of skills and making the emoluments appropriate, a matter that is already engaging the attention of Cabinet.
The orientation programme is intended to expose the newly appointed Heads of Missions to the main areas of Guyana’s Foreign Policy and to other matters relating to their responsibilities as diplomatic representatives of Guyana in the various posts.
Some of the broad areas to be covered include the expectations for Heads of Missions, the role of the Mission in promoting investment and trade, border issues, consular matters, Guyana’s tourism potential and anti-money laundering procedures, among others.