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Martin: SVG facing shortage of diplomats


A modern foreign service here remains an elusive dream. This, according to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Patricia Martin.{{more}}

The Permanent Secretary made this disclosure while addressing the opening of the foreign heads of mission and consulates consultation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs conference room on Monday.

According to Martin, because of the limited number of persons in the diplomatic field, capacity building, which the rotation of foreign service officials should facilitate, is seriously compromised.

“The expected rotation of our diplomats was an overambitious proposition, since in reality, our pool of diplomats is small,” Martin acknowledged at the opening of the two-week consultation.

The Permanent Secretary noted that this “noble

quest to build a modern well structured and responsive foreign service for the moment remains an elusive dream.”

Despite this pronouncement, the permanent secretary is remaining positive and said she expected that soon this country “will develop… a full cadre of highly skilled and dedicated professionals trained in international law, politics, trade and diplomacy”.

Within recent times, the foreign missions have experienced “shake-ups” in their top positions. In March 2007, Steve Phillips replaced Evans Bernard John as Consul-General to Toronto, Camilo Gonsalves replaced Margaret Hughes-Ferrari as Ambassador to the United Nations in September 2007, and just weeks ago, La Celia Prince was appointed Ambassador to the Organization of American States, replacing Ellsworth John.

The newly appointed diplomats were joined by Consul-General to New York, Cosmus Cozier; High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Cenio Lewis and Ambassador to Cuba, Dexter Rose, who all returned for the consultation.

Meanwhile, the two-week long consultation will see the diplomats knocking heads to review this country’s International Trade and Foreign Policy, among other topics carded for intense discussion.

The heads of missions will conclude their final week of consultation with a training seminar on “International Relations and Diplomacy”, and “Protocol and Etiquette Training”. (CJ)