Granger seeking to weed out diplomats who were politically appointed

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A decision to recall several diplomats from overseas has to with the Government’s intention to reduce or remove political appointees who head Guyanese missions.

This is according to President David Granger, who told reporters that it has always been his intention to “professionalise” the Foreign Service.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on December 2 announced that a decision has been taken to terminate the services of a “number of Heads of Missions especially those who might have enjoyed an extended tenure of duty beyond the official limit.”

A statement from the Ministry did not reveal the identities of the diplomats or state how many of them will be recalled.

When questioned Wednesday, President Granger explained that he is making way for career foreign service officers who are trained and educated to become diplomats.

“At the start of my presidency, I had made it clear that the Ambassadors who are being appointed would be there for only three years and that it was my Government’s intention to professionalise the Foreign Service. That is to say, to reduce or remove political appointees and to allow career officers who had been recruited, to become diplomats and have been trained and educated as diplomats to become diplomats,” the Head of State told reporters at the sidelines of an event at the Ministry of the Presidency.

The President dismissed reports that the recall of the serving diplomats is a “shake-up” of the Foreign Service and noted that all Ambassadors and High Commissioners were aware of his intentions.

“There is no change really. It’s a smooth transition from having political appointees as head of Guyanese missions to having professional Ambassadors and High Commissioners.

“I do not see that it will have any impact that is negative for this country because it is typical in most countries to have professional Foreign Service officers,” the President explained.

He noted that the contracts of many of the Ambassadors and High Commissioners expired during the time that there was some uncertainty about when elections will be held.

“As a result of that uncertainty some of the changes were not made but when it became certain that elections would be held March 2020, a decision was taken to proceed with those changes, so it is not a shakeup, it is a planned change and the Ambassadors and High Commissioners knew that the intention of the Government has always been to professionalise the service and that is being done.”

The Foreign Affairs Ministry had noted that the long-serving diplomats have been impeding on the progress of younger Foreign Service Officers.

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