Where is Guyana’s Foreign Ministry?
I just read an article on a West Indies cricket web site stating inter alia that two Guyanese members of the West Indies cricket team for the upcoming tour of England- Deonarine and Fudadin- are in Jamaica awaiting visas because there is no British High Commission in Guyana. Has the British High Commission in Guyana closed? I think not. Has it stopped issuing visas out of its office in Georgetown? I know not.
Anyway, the reason I have “put pen to paper” is not merely to clarify the British High Commission’s presence in Guyana but to register my disgust at yet another issue which makes Guyana and Guyanese look bad, when in fact such an issue should not even arise.
Why would the WICB have problems securing visas for its touring team members? Doesn’t the Board ensure that team members have or are granted visas before naming the team?
Thanks to the Jamaican cricket authorities the two Guyanese players were able to get in some match practice over the weekend while awaiting their visas, but they should have been adjusting to the English conditions with the rest of team. Guyanese must demand an explanation from the WICB on this visa snafu.
Further, where is our Ministry of Foreign Affairs? Many of your letter writers and bloggers constantly refer to the ills of the Burnham era but they could “put it in their pipe and smoke it”—this nonsense would never have happened in the Burnham era. No way would any Guyanese member of the West Indies cricket team have to wait days to be granted a visa. Even if the WICB had “messed up” the Foreign Ministry would have ensured these visas were granted pronto.
I suppose times have changed. Perhaps the administrations in the major capitals of the world don’t hold Guyana in as high esteem today as they did 25 years ago. I remember during a heads of mission meeting in Guyana, Burnham placing a call to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and getting through to her right away. I remember President Hoyte placing a call to the White House at around 9 o’clock one morning. Like Burnham’s call this was not prearranged, and by 1.30 pm President George Bush (Snr.) was returning the call.
Hoyte took that call in a room at the senior staff club at one of the Guysuco Berbice estates he was visiting that day– it may have been Skeldon.
I refer to the Burnham and Hoyte telephone calls to say that Guyana needs to be more proactive in seeking to improve its relations with the major powers and in the process generate heightened respect for the country and its citizens. While our current Foreign Minister is no Shridath Ramphal or Rashleigh Jackson and our current High Commissioner in London no Cecil Pilgrim, they should spare no effort in ensuring that Guyana enjoys pride of place among the nations of the world.
Perhaps it is time for President Ramotar to look for some diplomats the likes of Ramphal, E.V. Luckhoo, Sir John Carter, Ann Jardim, Fred Wills, Noel Sinclair, Bobby Moore, Ted Braithwaite and H B Gajraj. These were not PNC members, and even if so they were/are some brilliant minds and effective diplomats.
Burnham did well in choosing his ambassadors. But then he had Lord Canary as Minister in the Ministry of Trade, Sallahuddin as Finance Minister and Member of Parliament Fowler as something, appointments that should never have been.