The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is still in the process of re-staffing the Guyana Overseas Missions, according to Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge.
He recently explained that “with the exception of one mission, we have new Ambassadors, in all the missions, High Commissions, Embassies and Consul Offices”.
Since the APNU/AFC administration took office more than two years ago, a number of changes have taken place in the Foreign Service. According to the Minister, persons with experience have been brought back to the capital, while some have been cross posted to deepen and widen their experience. This is will become a normal cycle, Minister Greenidge reasoned.
“We have done the major changes….. there will each year, be moves and within the year, there will be movements of persons below the level of Ambassadors. We have also promised that at the level of ambassadors we will do something about bringing younger officers and giving them an opportunity and you will see that taking place not necessarily, immediately within the next year but it will occur before 2020 at admin level”, the Foreign Affairs Minister explained.
The Minister was quick to highlight too that competence and experience are things that matter. He added that the Ministry is looking for people who can operate in a modern world. Persons, not being able to keep abreast with the changes is one challenge, facing some of the overseas Missions, he further stated.
Back at the Ministry in Georgetown, staffing has been a challenge and according to the Minister this will always be a challenge. Currently, the Ministry is engaging the Public Service Ministry and the PSC over filling the number of vacancies in the Ministry.
For Minister Greenidge, the problem of staffing is not unique to his Ministry only. He explained that in a Ministry such as Foreign Affairs, traditionally, at least prior to the era of the PPP administration, the Government tried to staff the Ministry with the best people it could find. Persons who were Guyanese scholars, found the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a first resort, he added.
“In recent times that seems to have been abandoned, and I am currently, in a very sad place, seeing what the Public Service Commission, and I say this, I know they are going to be upset, the non-sense, that they have done in terms of looking at application and the people, they have chosen to send without reference to competence, (in areas) that are relevant to the work of the Foreign Affairs and without reference to academic performance and we have to fix that in the system as a whole but I can’t fix the system as a whole I am dealing with Foreign Affairs”.
The Minister made it clear that persons cannot be sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that are challenged by basic skills, competence and training.