Acquiring persons with the skillsets necessary to work in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is proving to be an uphill task, says Foreign Secretary Carl Greenidge. He made this disclosure earlier today at a People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) press conference at Congress Place, Sophia.
The former Foreign Affairs Minister said that while there is no “acute” shortage of skills that are required at the level of supporting administration, there is a dearth in the arena that constitutes that heart of diplomacy. He said this arena includes required proficiency in political science, economics, international law, environmental sciences, and other technical subjects.
Greenidge suggested that these issues are not unique to Guyana, noting that a clearer picture of “what is missing” can be obtained if one looks at the issues being debated at the level of the United Nations (UN), the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM); and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP).
“The point I have been making for a long time is that the intake of skills into the ministry is governed by the work of the Public Service Commission and the Public Service Ministry is overwhelming of people simply with degrees in international relations,” he said.
Greenidge disclosed also that of the 18 persons – the last batch of candidates – only one possessed the language capacity.
“Grade Point Averages (GPAs) ranged into areas that one would not normally want to entertain within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the like. So, these are the sorts of problems that have to be addressed when we deal with skills,” Greenidge said, while noting that a training programme is currently ongoing into relation to Mandarin, Spanish, and Portuguese.
The Foreign Secretary’s comments come mere days after the ministry took the decision to recall at least six ambassadors from their overseas’ posts.