Govt scraps MoFA’s Director General post

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Former Director General, Audrey Waddell

…appoints Ambassador Charlene Phoenix as new PS for Foreign Affairs Ministry
…ends services of several heads of missions

THE Government of Guyana has scrapped the position of Director General at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA)and instead appointed as Permanent Secretary a long standing staff to head the ministry’s administration. Simultaneously it has indicated that the former director general, Audrey Waddell will be reassigned upon completion of her annual leave which she has proceeded on. Speculations were rife over the weekend regarding the fate of Waddell as well as talks of reshuffling at the ministry.

In a statement on Monday the Ministry said it 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.

According to the statement among other things, the designation of Director General will be replaced by that of Permanent Secretary as obtains in other ministries. 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.

Permanent Secretary within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Charlene Phoenix

Ambassador Waddell who previously served as Director General within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from June 2015, has proceeded on a period of annual leave pending reassignment, the statement noted. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it has recognised and expressed its appreciation to Ambassador Waddell for her service as Director General.

End of service
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also announced that a decision has been taken to bring to an end 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.  This 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,” the statement added.

“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 surmising and or misrepresentations that may have arisen in the public domain concerning this normal administrative undertaking,” the statement concluded.