Confirmed: Gov’t terminates contract of Ambassador to Venezuela

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Foreign Secretary Carl Greenidge has confirmed that the contract of Guyana’s Ambassador to Venezuela has been terminated.

Ambassador Cheryl Miles, a career diplomat, was appointed by President David Granger shortly after the Coalition came into office in 2015.

“…she has been instructed to wrap up by the end of December,” Greenidge told reporters at a press conference held at the Congress Place headquarters of the PNC, the major party in the Coalition government.

Miles was the first ambassador to be named by the coalition government which took office after the May 11 elections. With her stint in Venezuela, she would have chalked up a diplomatic career spanning four decades.

Ambassador Miles is among other ambassadors who are being replaced.

“…all of those ambassadors who would have received letters from Minister Cummings are likely to be not returning to the Ministry…they will no longer be members of staff of the Ministry,” Greenidge stated.

He said that the Ambassadors work on the basis of contract, “so unless they are offered something by the ministry, they can be expected to find other opportunities, find other jobs.”

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.

The Ministry had undertaken to provide a further statement on the issue but has not done so yet.

The Director-General of the Ministry, Ambassador Audrey Waddell was this month replaced by Ambassador Charlene Phoneix, who took up the role as Permanent Secretary.

President Granger has suggested Ambassador Waddell would take up an overseas post.

“There has been no shakeup,” President Granger said this week.

“At the start of my presidency, I had made it clear that the Ambassadors who would be appointed would be there for only three years and that with 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 as diplomats and have been trained and educated as diplomats, to be diplomats.”

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