No deal should overshadow Guyana’s territorial integrity- President tells new diplomats


Ambassadors and High Commissioners recently concluded a one-week training and orientation at the Foreign Services Institute, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


While addressing the gathering at the close of the one-week session on Monday evening, President David Granger cautioned that no deal; no matter how lucrative, must take precedence over Guyana’s territorial integrity. He issued a strong charge to the newly appointed diplomats to make Guyana’s interests and that of its people their first priority, as they take up their new posts.


“…the border issues are not something that can be bargained away or traded. Sometimes our friends think that we are always complaining…but we have to continue to pursue the goal of completely freeing our territory from Venezuela and Suriname’s claims. These two claims are hampering our development. The Foreign Ministry and those diplomats, who go abroad, must understand that inside out… Make sure you have a thorough grounding because sometimes I feel that we have diplomats, who don’t understand and who don’t care that they don’t understand the seriousness of the territorial problem” President Granger said.


The Head of State emphasised the responsibility that comes with these appointments and said that they are not personal, neither are they positions for personal gain, therefore, they should be upheld with the utmost level of commitment and professionalism.


“The appointment of an Ambassador or a High Commissioner…is an appointment for hard work. It is not an appointment for party supporters and I would like to feel that our appointments have been based on merit. We are aiming at the creation of a professional service…The Foreign Service is not a place for party patronage. It is a place for hard work and for professionalism,” the President said.


Also on the security front, the President noted that we live in an era where several countries across the globe have come under terrorist attacks and are waging wars against drug trafficking, money laundering, human trafficking and other crimes, the Head of State noted that these are also important areas of concern, since security is a major issue for Guyana.


He also urged the ambassadors to sell Guyana and its products, noting that for far too long, Guyana has depended on the rice, sugar, bauxite and mining to drive its economy and the time has come for economic diversification.


President Granger also stated that while Guyana has made some advances in the area of social cohesion, more needs to be done to bridge the gaps, which currently exists. He pointed out that exclusivity rather than inclusion has hurt the development of the nation.


Meanwhile, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Carl Greenidge, in brief remarks, said that the week-long orientation and training sessions were organised especially for members of the Foreign Service, who had no prior postings and are new in the role.


Mr. Ronald Austin, an International Affairs professional and a facilitator of the sessions, said that the week has been a success.


At the end of the presentations, the diplomats were given the opportunity to engage the President and Minister on related matters or to share their suggestions on issues, which they believe should be addressed by the administration in the promotion of its foreign policy.


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