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Guyana identifies top diplomats for six countries

Guyana has finally moved much closer to appointing its top diplomats to major Western Nations , Brazil, Cuba, and India senior officials confirmed at the weekend to Demerara Waves Online News.

A senior government minister, who is intimately aware of the process, said several names have been proposed to President David Granger. “There are talks going on right now. Some recommendations have been made to the President and these appointments are made within the deliberate judgment of the President so I understand that some recommendations have been made but he has not actually called for it to be discussed at Cabinet as yet,”  said the minister.

They include businessman, Frederick Hamley Case and former Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Lieutenant, Clarissa Riehl both of whom had joined the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) under the leadership of Desmond Hoyte.

Case is tipped to become Guyana’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, ending the more than 20-year long unbroken tenure of Laleshwar Singh.

Riehl, a practising Attorney-at-Law, has been identified to become Guyana’s next High Commissioner to Canada. She will replace long-time People’s Progressive Party stalwart, Harry Narine Nawbatt, who was at one time Guyana’s Ambassador to Brazil.

Retired Brigadier of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Julian Brewster ‘Bruce’ Lovell was also being actively considered to be Ambassador to Brazil. Lovell was up to recently Military Attache to that Portuguese-speaking nation.  

In addition to potentially being a major trading partner and developer of hydro-power stations here, Brazil is regarded as a strategic partner in how Guyana treats with its border controversy with Venezuela because any adjustments would have implications for Brazil’s boundaries.

The Granger-led administration that came to power at the May 11, 2015 general and regional elections has already appointed Cheryl Miles as Guyana’s Ambassador to Venezuela.  She took over from Geoffrey Da Silva, a former Minister of Trade and Head of the Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest).

Expected to represent Guyana in Cuba is Halim Majeed, a former Political aide to late President Forbes Burnham. If appointed, he will replace Attorney-at-Law, Mitra Devi Ali who is another long-serving member of the now main opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP).

Usually reliable sources also indicate that Ambassador David Dabydeen, who had been appointed by the PPP administration as this country’s top envoy to China, might be sent to India to take over from Attorney-at-Law, Ronald Gajraj.

It was not immediately clear who would be Guyana’s Ambassador to the United States (US), although knowledgeable sources suggested that Ambassador Bayney Ramkarran would be retained. He has been also Guyana’s Permanent Representative to the 34- nation Organisation of American States (OAS).

The Guyana government has already decided that it would not be replacing the career diplomats who are Ambassador to Suriname, Keith George and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, George Talbot.

On the question of whether former Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Elisabeth Harper would be given a diplomatic posting, the senior government minister stated “I can’t say but I think that might not be something that would be quite palatable to our constituents,” he said.

Prior to the general elections six months ago, Harper, a career diplomat, had stepped down from her post at the Foreign Ministry to become the PPP-Civic’s Prime Ministerial candidate. Following the results, she has kept an extremely low profile and has never been seen in political circles or activities.