Greenidge removed from Foreign Ministry as part of ‘cleaning the slate’ – Harmon

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Director-General of the Ministry of the Presidency Joseph Harmon on Thursday said the removal of Carl Greenidge from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was part of “cleaning the slate.”

He said Greenidge received a letter from the President signalling the end of his engagement with the Government in the capacity of Foreign Secretary as a part of general procedures to be followed after a national election is held.

“What has happened is that after every election, the President has to make a determination what his Cabinet will look like, who will be his Ministers. And in that what he has to do is to bring to an end the engagements of all of those persons – be you an advisor or be you a minister,” Harmon stated.

“…that is what you call cleaning the slate,” he added.

Harmon said after such engagements are ended, the persons are invited to meet again with the President where a proposal will be made to form a part of the new Government.

This is dependent on whether the same party is re-elected to office.

The Director-General said what has happened is that Greenidge –who served as Foreign Minister from 2015 to 2019 when he resigned because of having dual citizenship status –received his letter before many other persons.

“My understanding is that the letters were prepared for everybody but because of the situations which have occurred after [elections] the President was not able to complete sending off to all of the persons,” Harmon said.

He added that “this is in no attempt to single out the persons who have received that list, it was a general procedural matter after which a discussion [is to be held].”

Election was held on March 2 but following calls for a recount of votes cast in District Four which is the largest voting district and then a general recount, the results have not yet been declared.

While it has been rumoured that the former Foreign Secretary was no longer with the Ministry, it was confirmed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Karen Cummings on April 10 in an article published by the Stabroek News.

She referred to a list of persons who are being allowed to continue in their functions until a new President is sworn in but said she is unsure whether Greenidge is on that list.

Greenidge was appointed to the post of Foreign Secretary after his resignation in 2019. The post was created for him in the Foreign Affairs Ministry as Dr Cummings who was at the time the Junior Minister of Health, took over the Foreign Minister post.

Greenidge was given the mandate to continue leading Guyana’s border case at the International Court of Justice. He had approached the court in 2017 seeking a judicial settlement to the decade-old controversy.

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