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Candidates must have foreign service background
It’s high time Parliament’s foreign affairs committee met so that people elected for the posts of heads of missions and inspectors of missions could be properly screened before being selected for jobs. Making the urgent call yesterday was former ambassador and former head of the Public Service Reginald Dumas.
Former beauty queen and parliamentary secretary for Information Nicole Dyer-Griffith was last week appointed inspector of missions at the foreign affairs ministry. Without making any pronouncements on Dyer-Griffith’s suitability for the post, Dumas said the best person for the job was a retired ambassador or a retired head of mission, because that person would have the appropriate background.
“But let me make it clear, I am not looking for the work...Next thing they saying I want the position,” he said. “Nor am I making any judgments on Mrs Dyer-Griffith, because I do not know the lady. “But I believe the best person for that post would be someone with the background knowledge about a mission. Having qualifications is one thing, but the background is another, because that person would have worked their way up through the ranks.”
He said the committee was established 50 years ago under the stewardship of prime minister Eric Williams. “For some reason or the other it has never met. This kind of thing is quite scandalous.” Dumas said far too often people were appointed as heads of mission and consuls general without having a clue what the position was about.
“An inspector of missions must have a solid technical background in the foreign service...They must know what questions to ask, the relationship between the host country and the government and the relationship with the mission and international organisations,” he said. “Quite often someone who is appointed who cannot represent the country properly and they make all sorts of mistakes which embarrass the country.”
After serving for a year, Therese Baptiste-Cornelis was fired in August last year as Ambassador to the United Nations, Geneva. In a 37-minute speech posted on July 15 last year on the YouTube channel of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy (ICD), Baptiste-Cornelis implied that she was fired as health minister by Persad-Bissessar in 2011 because she had dared to take on doctors.
She also publicly discussed how she ended up being handed the health ministry portfolio in 2010, noting she “taught the current prime minister” at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine. In a lecture on “Cultural Diversity as the Fourth Policy of Sustainable Development,” Baptiste-Cornelis also mentioned how she met her husband on the Internet under the online profile name “Tropical Bear,” her sister’s fertility, her hatred of politics, her war with doctors and the hypocrisy of modern-day Trinidadians.
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