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‘Sharpen your knowledge or leave the public service’ – Greenidge to FSOs

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Newly recruited Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) were today urged to sharpen their knowledge if they intend to further their career in the public service.

At an orientation seminar held at Duke Lodge in Kingston, Georgetown about the role, responsibility and expectations of a Foreign Service Officer, Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge emphasised the need for Foreign Service Officers to continuously edify themselves on issues locally, regionally and internationally.

Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge

“If you don’t intend to read and to sharpen your knowledge base, don’t stay in the foreign service, don’t stay in the public service either. You make up your mind on that from now. One of your responsibilities as Diplomats, as Foreign Service Officers, is to commit yourself; if not to a lifelong, then to a career-long effort to improve your knowledge, to try and take advantage of training so that you can understand what is going on around you,” Minister Greenidge said.

According to the Minister, change is more pervasive and persistent and as such, he urged the FSOs to understand Guyana’s history and culture.

As it relates to threats to Guyana’s territorial integrity, the Minister urged the officers to remain alert and to follow the evolving goals and aspirations of the country.

In this regard, he alluded to the recent case where Suriname included the New River Triangle on their map during the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organisation (ACTO) regional meeting, which was held in Lethem last week to discuss indigenous health in border regions of Guyana, Suriname, and Brazil.

Suriname’s actions were pointed out by newly recruited Foreign Service Officer, Royston Alkins who during the meeting, stated that “The inclusion of Guyana’s sovereign territory in the map is contrary to the internationally recognised jurisdictions of Guyana and Suriname and, is clearly a breach of international protocol.”

Speaking about the issue, Minister Greenidge said, “Normal diplomatic protocol would say to you when you’re in somebody’s house, you are not rude to them, you don’t curse them, you don’t abuse them, you are the epitome of politeness. Obviously, our neighbours don’t feel we deserve that treatment…. It points to the need for you to be alert as Diplomats even within your own house, even within Guyana’s borders because we’ve had instances where neighbours give you gifts…the gifts carry with it a map of Guyana with a big chunk of Guyana missing from it. I am saying to you…but I believe that you as Diplomats need to understand that that is completely unacceptable.”

During the week’s seminar, the FSOs will be edified about Guyana’s foreign policy, the Ministry’s mission and responsibilities, diplomatic protocol, development and the Green State Development Strategy, among others.

At the conclusion of the programme, it is expected that the new FSOs will be equipped to carry out assignments either in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or in a posting abroad.

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