Monday, March 29, 2010

The state of Diplomacy in Guyana

It’s a down right shame!

The State of Our Diplomacy is a shame. Fine enough we have had to see Clement Rohee head the Foreign Affairs Ministry (he didn’t know the difference between Dominica and the Dominican Republic), Sam Hinds take his written address to a Foreign Delgation from his pocket, and Bharrat Jagdeo taking his friends for a ride around the world as if they were diplomatic officers.

But the State of our Foreign Service is a down right shame! It is at an all time low. Imagine the Foreign Service Institute has been closed! This department which was once used to train career diplomats is now closed! But we simply do not need such an office because to get a diplomatic post as you need is a party card.

The faces of Guyana’s diplomacy are not those who were trained to negotiate strong bi-laterals. Maybe this could explain why Brazil decided to open the Takutu Bridge without informing us, why Suriname flinging an old threat in our way and why we cannot make the most out of China, by far one of the most important and growing players on the world stage.

Recent diplomatic posts are just plain PARTY CARD HOLDERS:

- Merlin Udho (Women’s Progressive Organization Member) is Ambassador to Suriname.
- Mitra Devi Ali (wife of a late former PPP member) and former Permanent Secretary in the Legal Affairs Ministry is the Ambassador to Cuba
- Harrynarine Nawbatt- Former Housing Minister is the Ambassador to Brazil, yes Brazil one of the largest economies in South America.
-Ronald Gajraj- Former Home Affairs Minister and of the Death Squad fame- Ambassador to India, another world player.

While these appointments have happened in recent times, the government has failed to appoint a representative to the United Nations!

The young Ms, Anyin Choo is the Charge d’Affaires in Guyana’s Embassy in China!
There seems to be no bold move to name a career diplomat to take that post!

A couple of other old heads who are around and have grown to be respected are Dr. Patrick Gomes- Ambassador to Brussels and the EU, Odeen Ishamel, Ambassador to Venezuela, Laleshwar Singh, Guyana High Commissioner in London and Bayney Karran who has served in Washington as Representative to the OAS.

But what is will happen to our diplomatic face? Already the President feels that it is his personal mission to ensure that he meets with and negotiates or begs Foreigners. Between 2008 and 2010 he has been to Iran twice, Dubai, Libya, Greece, Jordan, Kuwait and Syria. Not forgetting Russia, where we are sure he brokered some deals.

However the details of the personal deals remain undisclosed. The public is only privy to any ‘deal’ when upsurge of activity takes place in certain areas. Until such time, we are told of ‘debts’ and ‘partnerships’. It is when we see Russian TV relayed on Ch 28 or dolphins shipped out that we know how deep the deals are.

Meanwhile the face of Guyana’s diplomatic community remains shrouded in a veil of presidential choices.

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