Guyana Foreign Service: A number of long-serving envoys to go

– no more Director-General for Foreign Affairs
– Charlene Phoenix new Permanent Secretary

A number of long-serving ambassadors are facing the end of their tenure.

Foreign Service HQ. Georgetown

The decision was yesterday announced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The shake-up would come with the Ministry also yesterday confirming a report over the weekend by Kaieteur News that Director-General Audrey Jardine-Waddell will no longer be there and will be reassigned. 

“The Government of Guyana has recently undertaken a number of administrative actions with a view to promoting greater efficiency in the discharge of the core mandate and essential functions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at a critical moment in the nation’s history,” the statement said yesterday.

Among other things, the designation of Director-General will be replaced by that of Permanent Secretary, similar to what obtained in other ministries.

Charlene Phoenix

“Accordingly, Ms. Charlene Phoenix, who joined the Ministry in 1996, has been appointed as Permanent Secretary within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with effect from 2nd December 2019.

Ambassador Phoenix has served as the Director of the Department of the Americas since 2016 and as Guyana’s Ambassador to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) since November 2017.”

Over the weekend, it was disclosed that Jardine-Waddell, who served as Director-General since 2015 when Elisabeth Harper stepped down to run as Prime Ministerial candidate for the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), has been transferred as part of a “rebalancing” of the ministry. The transfer was confirmed by Director-General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon.

Ms. Jardine-Waddell, has proceeded on a period of annual leave pending reassignment.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recognized and expressed its appreciation to Ambassador Waddell for her service as Director General.”

The Ministry also announced that a decision has also been taken to bring an end to the services of a number of Heads of Missions, especially those who might have enjoyed an extended tenure of duty beyond the official limit.

“As it is well known, the tenure of an ambassador runs to approximately three to five years. However, for a variety of reasons and factors, some of our ambassadors have been abroad for as long as two decades.”

The decisions were taken, the ministry explained, because the situation has become an impediment to other younger and rising Foreign Service Officers whose performance and professional competence might require that they should be appointed to the summit of the Foreign Service.

“A subsequent announcement will be made on this particular matter. It is the wish and expectation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that this statement on the ongoing exercise within the Ministry will help to allay any concerns and put to rest any and all surmisings and or misrepresentations that may have arisen in the public domain concerning this normal administrative undertaking.”

As part of the “rebalancing”, Harmon over the weekend confirmed too, that Permanent Secretary of the Public Service Ministry, Karen Vansluytman-Corbin, has also been transferred.

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