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Diplomatic post for Makeda in Geneva

Published: 
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Questions raised over ambassador’s qualifications
Foreign and Caricom Affairs Minister Dennis Moses, right, presents Makeda Antoine, T&T’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, with her instrument of appointment on Monday.

Despite criticisms that she does not have the requisite qualification for the job, it is now official, Makeda Antoine has been appointed as Trinidad and Tobago’s Ambassador to the Permanent Mission of the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland.

Antoine is the founding president of the Heliconia Foundation for Young Professionals and was the female Youth Officer for the PNM Fyzabad constituency.

She got her instrument of appointment from Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs Dennis Moses yesterday on behalf of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.

Moses told the new Ambassador that “the role of the new Head of Mission is critical to advancing our nation’s development.” He identified “trade and investment, tourism, security collaborations, energy, education, agriculture and small business and entrepreneurship,” as some of the key areas of the national development agenda that form part of the remit to be advanced by Ambassador Antoine, “as circumstances warrant.”

Antoine, he said, would be “guided by the Government’s policy framework which underscores that the Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs and its diplomatic network of overseas missions must be the frontline of projecting the interests of Trinidad and Tobago internationally.”

But Antoine’s appointment is not sitting well with former Permanent Representative to the United Nations, UNC MP for Naparima Rodney Charles who told the media that Rowley had opted for “inexperience and more so PNM credentials.”

Charles said the staff at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were “demoralised,” by the actions of the Prime Minister whom he said, “completely ignores their competencies and abilities and has sought instead to rely almost exclusively on political appointees in his ambassadorial postings.”

He said, “Ideally there should exist, in our cadre of ambassadors, a delicate mix of career officers with experience in diplomacy; and also political appointees with decades of experience in the local public and private sectors.”