Earlier today, News Room quoted President David Granger as saying that the decision to recall several Heads of Missions is grounded in the government’s intention to “professionalize” the Foreign Service.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced a decision to terminate the services of a “number of Heads of Missions especially those who might have enjoyed an extended tenure of duty beyond the official limit.” The Ministry also announced the “transfer” of Director-General Audrey Jardine-Waddell.
The Ministry, at the time, said nothing about a quest to “professionalize” the Foreign Service. No information was given on the number of diplomats to be affected or the States that will see recalls.
This news agency has since been informed that six Heads of Missions were fired.
The terminated diplomats are Hamley Case (Based in London); Clarissa Rheil (Ottawa); Bishwaishwar Ramsaroop (Trinidad and Tobago) Dr. J.R. Deep Ford (Geneva); Bayney Karran (Beijing) and Cheryl Miles (Caracas).
This publication was informed that Miles who is the most senior of the diplomats, is on the Guyana team working on the case before the International Court of Justice and worked on the negotiations under the United Nations Secretary General’s special representative Dag Nylander.
Miles cannot be considered a political appointee as she is a career diplomat with national awards from Venezuela and Brazil. “So the President’s explanation this morning cannot apply to her.”
Also, Miles is not one of the diplomats that remained from the PPP regime so the MOFA’s previous “excuse” cannot apply to her. “She is not older than Granger and is very knowledgeable on Venezuela and Latin America.”
Guyana Standard understands that Miles’ crime is her stance against certain matters in relation to Venezuela. Her stance went contrary to the will of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Karan Cummings.
A senior officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Guyana Standard, “These decisions make no sense and suggest spiteful destructiveness. If this is how Mr. Granger plans to proceed we should withdraw the case against the ICJ!”
As for the other diplomats who suffered the wrath of Cummings, Guyana Standard understands that “they are not known to be liked by Torrington and Rickford Burke who seem to be Cummings’ advisor on all things.”
It was noted that Deep and Case are qualified to be diplomats.
Guyana Standard understands that the President, “Has been embarrassed by the outcry especially because the action is pointless in all the circumstances and serves to damage the Government’s credibility.”
All diplomatic appointments are made by the President. Only he can make the necessary approvals. A few of the ambassadors who were fired recently enjoyed new appointments to serve as non-resident diplomats in other countries. While some appointments were made last year, others were made as recent as this year.
According to News Room, when the President was questioned earlier today, he said that he is making way for career foreign service officers who are trained and educated to become diplomats. He said that the diplomats knew that they were only serving for three years.
Questions that now arise include, “If the President was planning this all along, why did he make the recent appointments. Does he think this would be a good image for Guyana on the international stage? To have accreditations every two mornings?’
News Room reported too that the President dismissed reports that the recall of the serving diplomats is a “shake-up” of the Foreign Service and noted that all Ambassadors and High Commissioners were aware of his intentions.
“There is no change really. It’s a smooth transition from having political appointees as head of Guyanese missions to having professional Ambassadors and High Commissioners.
“I do not see that it will have any impact that is negative for this country because it is typical in most countries to have professional Foreign Service officers,” the President explained.
He noted that the contracts of many of the Ambassadors and High Commissioners expired during the time that there was some uncertainty about when elections will be held.
“As a result of that uncertainty some of the changes were not made but when it became certain that elections would be held March 2020, a decision was taken to proceed with those changes, so it is not a shakeup, it is a planned change and the Ambassadors and High Commissioners knew that the intention of the Government has always been to professionalize the service and that is being done.”