Jan 04, 2017 News
The cost to finance Guyanese Foreign missions is expected to increase over time according to Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge. During his Ministry’s end of year press conference, last week, Greenidge was asked whether the funding
for the Foreign missions of Guyana would decrease.
The Foreign Minister said that he doesn’t think there is any prospect of the overall cost of the missions going down. “I can’t make you that promise; in fact they are going to go up.”
Greenidge said that he is aware that having a foreign mission is costly business. He said therefore it is his government’s responsibility to try to ensure that the services which are provided as economical and at a minimal cost as is desirable.
However, Greenidge said that government has received assistance from host nations in varying degrees to support the missions.
“We have opened a new mission in Geneva, and I want you to know that in that case for example we have approached the government of Switzerland. In fact, they have been very responsive and they have indicated that they would be willing to discuss this matter with us.”
He said that from the initial stages of talks with the Swiss government, the government had given its assurance to help fund the cost of opening the mission.
According to the minister, during this discourse, Guyana was represented by Ambassador Deep Ford.
“After ambassador Ford spoke to them, I was amazed to find that he had been able to persuade them to provide even more than I had anticipated.”
The Minister said that ultimately the cost of funding the mission and its office would be minimal for Guyana whereby facilities will be shared and provided by the government of Switzerland.
Greenidge said that assistance and funding will also be given in relation to the Ambassador’s residence. He said that this sort of support is similar in Kuwait as it relates to the funding of the embassy.
Additionally, Greenidge said that on other fronts, support has been sought from the private sector to enable the ministry to carry out an important undertaking in relation to the work of the ministry.
He said that he cannot promise that funding for the missions will go down but he assured that the cost will be kept within reasonable bounds and moreover that financial support will be solicited to defray the cost of the services.
As it relates to the revision of station allowances, Greenidge said that he cannot give a definite answer when this revision will take place. He said that the decision to increase that allowance cannot be made in isolation but will have to be informed by a Cabinet decision.
“Cabinet is aware of the challenges that our embassies and officers face in trying to live in capitals that are costly and to carry out their work properly and so that is something I can’t give a definitive answer on but we will keep revising it. I’m sure that within the next two years those will be revised.”
Greenidge went on to say that he believes there are problems with allowances in general within the public service.
“That is my view, I hold it strongly that many of them should have been revised a long time ago. To fix something which has been for 25 years out of kilter and to fix it properly in one year is going to be a problem. It is going to have to be something phased.”
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