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Robert Persaud, Carl Greenidge, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett in key Foreign Ministry appointments

Audrey Waddell

Former Natural Resources Minister Robert Persaud, who had insisted that he had taken a ‘sabbatical’ from politics after his People’s Progressive Party (PPP) had been defeated in 2015, is back in government now that that party is back in power.

Foreign Minister Hugh Todd said Mr. Persaud has been appointed Foreign Secretary, a post that had been created by then President David Granger for Mr. Carl Greenidge because he had to resign as a minister and parliamentarian because he was a dual citizen. Guyana’s constitution says dual citizens cannot be parliamentarians.

Several months ago, it had become apparent that Mr. Persaud had been publicly embracing the PPP and its Irfaan Ali presidential candidacy. Pictures surfaced with the two in a number of locations and later with Persaud, Ali and PPP General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge

Foreign Minister Todd also announced that former Foreign Minister Carl Greenidge has been appointed Advisor on Borders. He remains Guyana’s Agent in the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Greenidge had at one time unsuccessfully challenged David Granger for the leadership of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR).

Also returning to the fold of Guyana’s foreign service is former Foreign Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett. She has been appointed Guyana’s Ambassador to the United Nations. She will also take up the Chair of the G-77 + China.

After the 2015 elections, she had exited the domestic political scene and went on to work at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

PPP General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo (centre) flanked by presidential candidate, Irfaan Ali (left) and Robert Persaud.

Ambassador Audrey Waddell, who had been unceremoniously removed by the Granger-led administration from the post of Director-General, is now back as Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry.

Mr. Granger had scrapped the post of Director-General, replaced it with the post of Permanent Secretary and had appointed Charlene Phoenix to that post. It is unclear what post would Ms. Phoenix would now hold. She had joined the Ministry in 1996, had 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.

“The individuals identified will help to bolster the Ministry’s foreign relations, technical and administrative capacity, as well as serve to strengthen my ministerial mandate,” Foreign Minister Todd said.