Gov’t wants to transform Foreign Service with a focus on economic diplomacy

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By Stacy Carmichael-James

The Head of State speaking during today’s recording of “The Public Interest” said he believes more can be done by Foreign Service Officers to sell Guyana’s products while noting that the thrust is towards economic diplomacy.

He noted that “it is difficult to operate without a foreign service in the international community, we have to relate, we have to protect our citizens wherever they are….so citizenship is important, at the same time you know people have been abusing citizenship…and we want to ensure that wherever Guyanese are they know that the state will look after them.”

The President noted that in the context of national interest these officers must go out to places where they are stationed and sell the nation’s products, citing rum, rice, timber, and bauxite as examples.

The expectation is that they sell Guyana as a tourist destination and attract investors, “so at the country level we want to see a very active Foreign Service and at the Community level we want to see a stronger CARICOM, a stronger CSME, we want to ensure that our interests are protected by having a network of friends in UNASUR, OAS, MERCOSUR, CELAC, all these organizations to which we belong,” the Head of State said.

The President expressed satisfaction with the Heads of Mission Conference, noting that the hope is that the diplomats who were present would be able to stabilize the situation in the foreign service. He pointed out that for a long time, under the previous administration, many of those persons had been in their positions in some cases for 17 years and had lost their effectiveness, so this Government’s objective is to transform the Foreign Service.

In addition, the aspiration is to complete the Foreign Service Institute so that younger diplomats can benefit.

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