It is now eight months since the Irfaan Ali Administration took over – though five months delay because of a move to manipulate the elections results, there is a lot of work to be done besides cleaning up the mess created by the Granger/Nagamootoo coalition. Most important is the appointment of High Commissioners and Ambassadors. This is crucial since overseas diplomats are important to “sell” the country to the commercial world especially at this time when Guyana is raking in billions because of the oil boom.
Appointments have to be made in Brazil, South Africa, China, Kuwait, Canada and the United Kingdom. London has been without a High Commissioner for 18 months since the resignation of APNU/AFC Hamley Case and over a year in Ottawa since another of David Granger’s nominee, Clarissa Riehl, quit. Bayney Karran, a PPP/C named diplomat was fired by the coalition Government in January last year. Bayney, an attorney-at-law by profession, was a diplomat for 17 years having served in Washington and Beijing. He is back in Georgetown working as a senior executive with an oil company.
The Irfaan Ali Government announced that Samuel Hinds, 78, a chemical engineer who graduated from the University of New Brunswick, who served as Prime Minister for a total of more than 30 years and briefly as President of the Co-operative, to be the new Ambassador to the United States and OAS replacing Dr Riyad Insanally, a highly qualified career diplomat who holds two master’s degree and a doctorate from Harvard University. He also speaks French and Spanish fluently.
No announcement was made if Dr Insanally, who is in his mid-sixties, will be posted to another country and this raises eyebrows because of his vast experience having served in Georgetown, and Washington and was Trade Adviser to the Guyana High Commission in London and Commercial Representative of the Guyana Sugar Corporation. Meanwhile, Dr Vishnu Bisram, a well-known Guyanese-born pollster and columnist who is based in New York said Hinds is a model leader and extremely honest, who has consistently spoken out against rigged elections and will be an excellent diplomat.
Meanwhile Guyanese in London are not too happy about the inordinate delay in the appointment of a High Commissioner which was without one for 18 long months…it was pointed out that despite the delay, the Irfaan Ali Administration took office eight months ago and should by now be in a position to fill the vacancies in the overseas missions. However, Government sources contend that serious consideraton will have to be taken in selecting suitable persons to fill the positions.
It is important that the candidates have the capacity to discuss trade and commerce and ways and means to attract investors to Georgetown. I gather from sources in Georgetown that the administration is considering the appointment of a woman of Chinese heritage to be the Ambassador in Beijing. The diaspora in Canada was advocating for Charrandas Persaud to be appointed as the High Commissioner in Ottawa, but he was posted to India. I do not think he could be appointed since he is a Canadian citizen. Charrandas will no doubt do a good job in Delhi. He is a Hindu and was a keen follower of the Indian culture since he was a kid.