Waddell to head foreign mission

Former Director-General at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Audrey Waddell

…President says reassignment is a promotion, not demotion

FORMER Director-General at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Audrey Waddell has been selected to serve as a foreign diplomat for Guyana which President David Granger said is a higher post for which she meets the qualifications.

Amidst rumours that government’s recent scrapping of the Ministry’s Director-General post had to do with its displeasure with Waddell, the President confirmed on Wednesday that her reassignment is a promotion rather than a demotion. On December 2, 2019, the Foreign Affairs Ministry announced that the designation of Director-General will be replaced by that of Permanent Secretary in the person of Charlene Phoenix, who has served as Director of the Department of the Americas since 2016 and as Guyana’s Ambassador to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) since November 2017.

Meanwhile, it assured that Waddell would be reassigned upon completion of her annual leave which she has proceeded on. “Ambassador Waddell is one of the persons who have been earmarked for foreign posting and we have laid down certain criteria and there are certain– for example – language qualifications and Ambassador Waddell speaks foreign languages and that’s one of the criteria that was laid down that, as far as possible, Ambassadors and High Commissioners should speak the language of the capital to which they are posted,” the President said on Wednesday. “She’s qualified for a higher post and, on vacating the post of Director-General, it was my decision to appoint a Permanent Secretary who will continue the Administration’s [work]. It is not a demotion, it is actually a promotion.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that it has recognised and expressed its appreciation to Ambassador Waddell for her service as Director-General. Waddell joined the Foreign Service in 1985, and has served both home and on overseas assignments. She was previously attached to the Embassy of Guyana in Caracas as First Secretary and also served in the same capacity in Brazilia.

Years later, she was assigned Director of the Department of the Americas and Asia, and served in that position until she was posted to the Embassy of Guyana in Havana, Cuba, as Minister/Counsellor and Head of Chancery. Upon her return to Guyana, she served as Head to the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) Pro Tempore Secretariat, established at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during Guyana’s Chairmanship. In 2012, she was appointed as Ambassador to UNASUR.

Waddell holds a Bachelor’s in Sociology and a Post Graduate Diploma in Development Studies from the University, in addition to completing post-graduate studies in Development Diplomacy in Berlin with the German Foundation for Development and Cooperation (Entwicklung und Zusammenarbeit) and in Language and Diplomacy, University of Malta.