MoFA shake-up has nothing to do with professionalising Foreign Service – Jagdeo
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has rubbished claims that the recent shakeup in the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MoFA) was to professionalise the Foreign Service.
Ambassadors Hamley Case, posted in the United Kingdom; Bishwaishwar Ramsaroop, stationed in the twin-island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago; Clarissa Riehl, who was posted in Canada; Bayney Karran in China, Cheryl Miles in Venezuela, and JR Deep Ford in Switzerland have all been recalled and fired.
On Wednesday, President David Granger told reporters that this was “just a planned change” to professionalise the Foreign Service by reducing or removing political appointees and make way for new appointments.
In addition to recalling the diplomats, Director-General of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Audrey Waddell was also replaced by a Permanent Secretary. She is cited as one of the newest recruits for a diplomatic position outside of Guyana.
However, Jagdeo, at his weekly press conference on Thursday, rubbished the Granger-led caretaker administration’s explanation for these actions.
“This entire shakeup has nothing to do with professionalising the Ministry. It has to do with a bunch of people who are incompetent, as far as I’m concerned, and who’d sell out national interests for perks…,” he asserted.
According to the Opposition Leader, it is just a reaction to the disastrous decision of removing Ambassador Waddell from the Ministry.
“It came out of, from all I’ve been hearing, a ton of internal disagreements on policy, particularly policy relating to our sovereignty where that should be uncompromising, and they’re a few people who stood up against that and they’re suffering the consequences now,” he posited.
This, Jagdeo went on to say, has nothing to do with professionalising the Foreign Ministry, especially since there are still politically-appointed diplomats in the same age group as those fired who are still within Foreign Service.
“So to give an explanation like [the President did] shows you’re aloof… They believe that we would believe this nonsense,” the Opposition Leader stated.
During an interview on Wednesday, President Granger told reporters that since the beginning of his term, he had made it clear that Guyanese diplomats would be appointed for only three years – something which the Ambassadors were aware of.
“It so happened that the contracts of many of the Ambassadors and High Commissioners expired during the time there was some uncertainty about when elections would be held and as a result of that uncertainty, some of the changes were not made. But when it became certain that elections wouldn’t be held until 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 professionalise the service,” the Head of State noted.
After news of the recall spread last week, former Attorney General Anil Nandlall had contended that Government is a caretaker mode, and, therefore, has no authority to make such decisions.
But President Granger said on Wednesday that this will have no negative impact on Guyana.