The new Prime Ministerial Candidate of the People’s Progressive Party, Ambassador Elisabeth Harper is expected to meet this week with Foreign Service Officers and other senior staff members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about her decision to get into politics and campaign for the PPP as its Prime Ministerial Candidate.
Ambassador Harper is the Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and has worked at the Ministry for more than 25 years. Her announcement came as a big shock to many of the staff at the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Staff members including senior officers who work directly with Harper only became aware of her decision to be the PPP’s Prime Ministerial Candidate when it was announced on Saturday morning at a press briefing hosted by the President.
Staff members returned to work on Tuesday after the holiday weekend and according to sources at the Ministry, many of the staff members have expressed shock over the decision.
One staff member told News Source that she was “totally blown away” by the decision because she “never saw it coming”. Another staff member explained that they were all left in a state of shock because they never suspected that the Director General was contemplating a move into everyday politics.
Harper is well-respected among diplomatic and foreign relations circles as an official who understands foreign policy well after being guided for years by some of the country’s smartest foreign policy minds.
Though she has always stayed away from politics, her international travel with the President and other senior government official in her official capacity has presented her with a bird’s-eye view of many major decision-making locally and internationally.
In making the announcement, President Donald Ramotar praised the work that she would have done for more than two decades with the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
APNU-AFC Coalition Leader and Leader of the Opposition David Granger said he was disappointed that Harper would accept the PPP’s offer and allow her reputation to be bundled with the party that has been in government for 22 years and has not done much to improve the lives of public servants.
Ms. Harper is expected to resign from her public service job as Director General of the Foreign Affairs Ministry as she gets ready to hit the campaign trail for the PPP Civic.
Although Ambassador Harper was silent at the official announcement of her new position as PPP Prime Ministerial Candidate, in a later Facebook post, she said “I accepted the offer to be the running mate of His Excellency President Donald Ramotar as the Prime Ministerial candidate after contemplating the significant opportunity which this could present for me to serve the people of Guyana in a higher capacity.”
Filed: 24th February, 2015