Guyana has several national interests concerns including a border dispute with Venezuela where the ongoing South American country is claiming most of the Essequibo region. Georgetown is looking to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and international partners for a peaceful resolution to the matter
Speaking at the end of a week of training and orientation at the Foreign Services Institute at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Granger told the new diplomats that they should make Guyana’s interests and that of its people their first priority, as they take up their new posts.
“The border issues are not something that can be bargained away or traded. Sometimes our friends think that we are always complaining. Sometimes people have not given us the support we need.
“Some have stepped up and batted for us, yes, but we have to continue to pursue the goal of completely freeing our territory from Venezuela and Suriname’s claims. These two claims are hampering our development. The Foreign Ministry and those diplomats, who go abroad, must understand that inside out,” President Granger said.
“Make sure you have a thorough grounding because sometimes I feel that we have diplomats, who don’t understand and who don’t care that they don’t understand the seriousness of the territorial problem. Sometimes they feel that a bit of rice and a bit of oil and we don’t have to talk about it.
“Some people just try to dismiss the territorial problem. [They] focus on the rice, focus on the oil, focus on getting another gymnasium, and don’t talk about the issue. No. No. No. We have to put that at the forefront of our diplomacy that our territory is not going to be bargained away. We are not going to sell out ‘one curass’ and you have to believe that.”
President Granger told the ceremony “We live in an era where several countries across the globe have come under terrorist attacks and are waging wars against drug trafficking, money laundering, human trafficking and other crimes”.
He said that these are also important areas of concern, since security is a major issue for Guyana emphasised the responsibility that comes with these appointments.
He said that they are not personal, neither are they positions for personal gain and therefore should be upheld with the utmost level of commitment and professionalism.
“The appointment of an Ambassador or a High Commissioner…is an appointment for hard work. It is not an appointment for party supporters and I would like to feel that our appointments have been based on merit. We are aiming at the creation of a professional service…
“The Foreign Service is not a place for party patronage. It is a place for hard work and for professionalism. Anyone who has served long enough overseas would know that it is not a place where you can flaunt your own interests to the prejudice of the country’s representatives…
“Being a diplomat overseas requires that you represent the national interests and that when people look upon you or at you, they see the best values of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana,” the President said.