By Latrishka Thomas During a meeting themed “Diplomacy and Economic Development” which was held for Ambassadors and Consuls General yesterday, Minister of Foreign Affairs E P Chet Greene singled out some of the country’s ambassadors for their exceptional work and urged others to seek to achieve a greater level of service.
“The same way I singled out a few ambassadors, it’s the same way I want to call out the others because there is room in the international calendar, room within the context of your appointment…where you can do so much more for the country,” Minister Greene told the 20 resident and non-resident ambassadors.
He also questioned whether the distinguished representatives of the Foreign Service were comfortable in a state of laxity.
“Is it just enough to have Antigua and Barbuda’s designation as diplomats and a red passport accompanying it? Are you satisfied with [how we are] leveraging our Foreign Service for national development?
“Those are some of the concerns that I think we, as small nations, need to be aware of as you our diplomats engage your peers from other countries or even follow the global conversation in that space for diplomats and professionals in your field,” Greene said.
He concluded that thought by saying that leveraging of the Foreign Service for national development while strengthening it “is the call that I want to leave with you if nothing else”. The meeting was being held to discuss matters that will lead to the improvement in the operations of the country’s diplomatic relations.
In her welcoming remarks at the meeting, the Acting Permanent Secretary within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Karen Cabrall, stated that the effective implementation of the Ministry’s 2020 work plan was the goal.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration will focus on strengthening its organisational structures, procedures and operations. The Ministry intends, in 2020, to rationalise its overall operations and focus on prudent financial management, timely information sharing and efficient human resource management practices.
“Additionally, protocol services will be enhanced and we recognise that the demand for services has increased. This we can all do together and that is why we are here today [Wednesday] to work as one for the benefit of our Ministry and our country,” Cabrall detailed.
She said the increase of the Ministry’s workload requires that some restructuring be done. “It is important, therefore, that we get together and discuss as a group, a way of strengthening any weaknesses, capitalising on any opportunities and minimising any threats. The work of the Ministry has increased due to our increased bilateral and multilateral engagements and now the Ministry currently has diplomatic relations with approximately 160 countries,” she further explained.
The second annual Ambassador and Consuls General meeting, which took place at the Royalton Resort, included a number of guest speakers and presentations from Ambassador Sir Ronald Sanders, who looked at the Challenges of Small States diplomacy in Hemispheric Organizations; Ambassador Daven Joseph on the Blue Economy; reports on the SDGs from Director of International Trade, Ms Joy Marie King; reports by Ambassador Aubrey Webson on the recently concluded 74thSession of the United Nations General Assembly and remarks from Senior Ambassador Sir Rameez Hadeed.