The Ministry of Foreign Affairs this afternoon confirmed a major shake-up that will see the Director-General being reassigned and a number of Ambassadors being brought back home.
In a statement, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said the position of Director General will now be replaced by the position of Permanent Secretary as exists in other Ministries.
Guyana’s current Ambassador to CARICOM, Charlene Phoenix, who joined the Ministry in 1996, has been appointed as Permanent Secretary within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with effect from 2nd December 2019.
The Ministry said Ambassador Phoenix has served as the Director of the Department of the Americas since 2016 and as Guyana’s Ambassador to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) since November 2017.
Ambassador Audrey Jardine – Waddell who previously served as Director General within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from June 2015, has proceeded on a period of annual leave pending reassignment.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recognized and expressed its appreciation to Ambassador Waddell for her service as Director General, the statement added.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also announced that a decision has also been taken to bring an end to the services of a number of Heads of Missions, especially those who might have enjoyed an extended tenure of duty beyond the official limit.
It said as it is well known, the tenure of an Ambassador runs to approximately three to five years.
However, for a variety of reasons and factors, some of Guyana’s Ambassadors have been abroad for as long as two decades.
The Ministry said the situation has become an impediment to other younger and rising Foreign Service Officers whose performance and professional competence might require that they should be appointed to the summit of the Foreign Service.
A subsequent announcement is to be made on that particular matter.
According to the statement, it is the wish and expectation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that this statement on the on-going exercise within the Ministry will help to allay any concerns and put to rest any and all surmisings and or misrepresentations that may have arisen in the public domain concerning what it called “normal administrative undertaking”.
But News Source understands that the decision may have been prompted by a move by the former Director-General to begin extending the contract for a number of the Ambassadors without consultation with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the President’s Office.
Additionally, there were also concerns being raised about supercession in the foreign service and a number of seasoned diplomats with years of experience being overlooked and their seniority not being taken into consideration.
There was also concern about some recent promotions and postings at the some of the overseas missions.