Elisabeth Harper rehired at Foreign Affairs Ministry

…her “unique skills” an asset – Greenidge

The coalition Government has rehired former People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Prime Ministerial Candidate, Ambassador Elisabeth Harper to assist the Foreign Affairs Ministry with her “unique skills”.

Elisabeth Harper
Elisabeth Harper

Ambassador Harper, a career diplomat, was the Director General of the Foreign Affairs Ministry before stepping down last year to run alongside PPP/C Presidential Candidate Donald Ramotar for the 2015 General and Regional Elections.

According to Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge at the Ministry’s year-end press briefing on Thursday, Ambassador Harper was retained by the Ministry to work in the areas of documentation and border issues, which he said she has “unique skills” in.

The Minister noted that as Director General and a staffer within the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Harper had worked very closely on the matters pertaining to sovereignty, a fact they have already begun capitalising on.

“Mrs Harper has been retained by the Ministry latterly to work with us in a couple of areas in which she has rather unique skills and… because of the delicacy of (sovereignty), we have been utilising the skills of Mrs Harper to assist us in that area and that is ongoing; it will continue,” the Minister stated.

Moreover, Greenidge went on to say that given the high staff turnover at the Ministry, coupled with difficulties in execution of duties, the Ministry is looking to retain the institutional knowledge of past employees such as the former Director General.

“In this Ministry, I’ll be able to point to you many rooms that have documents and few people in here, if any, can tell you what the documents are. On that side, we try to utilise the knowledge of those who have worked here in the past,” he explained. Since the defeat of the PPP/C at last year’s elections, Ambassador Harper had vanished from the limelight and was rarely, if at all, seen at any of the now Opposition’s events.

Ambassador Harper had held the post of Director General at the Foreign Affairs Ministry since 2001. She was also an Ambassador to the Caribbean Community (Caricom) at her time of retirement.

Harper, who is a recipient of the Golden Achievement Award, began her career at the Foreign Affairs Ministry in 1976 as a Registry Clerk and worked her way up to hold the title of Director General.

She had previously served as Director of the Department of the Americas and Asia at the Foreign Affairs Ministry from 1996 to 2001; a consular officer at the Guyana High Commission in London from 1991 to 1995, and Head of the Frontier Division from 1990 to 1991.

Described as a distinguished public servant, Harper has been a member of Guyana’s delegation to various meetings of Caricom, the Latin American Economic System, the Association of Caribbean States, United Nations, the Commonwealth and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), among others.

Harper had also served in several other positions, including Ambassador to Caricom (2003 to 2015); Non-resident High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago (2003-2015); Non-resident High Commissioner to Barbados (2004-2015); Non-resident High Commissioner to Grenada (2006-2015) and Non-resident High Commissioner to St Kitts and Nevis.