A man goes to hell and is met at the gates by the Devil. The man is escorted to a hallway which has three different doors and the Devil tells the man he has choose one room to spend the rest of eternity in.
The man opens the first door and sees everyone standing on their heads on wooden floors. The man thought that would be pretty terrible to spend the rest of eternity on his head on such a hard floor and so he proceeded to the second door.
Everyone in the second room was standing on their heads on concrete. The man thought that was even worse to spend the rest of eternity on his head on an even harder floor.
Finally, he entered the third door and in that room everyone is up to their knees in dog poop and drinking coffee. The man thought that was pretty bad, but at least they could drink coffee so he told the Devil he chose the third room to spend the rest of eternity in.
So the man, up to his knees in dog poop, drank coffee for a few minutes. Then the Devil came back into the room and said “Coffee break is over. Back on your heads!”
The moral of that story is that you never know how good you are until you stand upside down on your head.
The world is upside down. How else does one explain how someone can move from being the country’s chief diplomat to an ordinary ambassador and that is called a promotion and not a demotion?
How can someone who for years was the Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs be shunted to an overseas mission and that move is called a promotion? How can it be a promotion when the person being transferred is senior to the person to whom she will soon to have report?
The world is upside down when the government can claim – and the media can stand up there and stomach that nonsense – that it has been the policy of the government to phase out political appointees and have career diplomats man the foreign service.
How does one reconcile this position with the large number of political appointees, which the APNU+AFC appointed?
Did the government not have this policy when it made its first diplomatic appointments, ten months into government? At that time, the APNU+AFC announced the names of six political appointees to head Missions around the world.
These were David Hales as Ambassador to Belgium; Hamley Case, High Commissioner to the United Kingdom; Classisa Riehl, High Commissioner to Canada; Halim Majeed, Ambassador to Cuba and Bayney Karran, who had been appointed under the PPP government, as Ambassador to China.
Other political appointments followed. David Pollard was posted as High Commissioner to India; John Ford to Switzerland; Kenrick Hunte to South Africa; Shamir Ally, Ambassador to Kuwait; Cammie Ramsaroop was named as High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago; and Michael Ten-Pow as Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
Among those who were appointed Consul Generals were Barbara Atherly (New York) and Cita Pilgrim (Barbados).
It is hard to locate any public statement from the government that these Ambassadors, High Commissioners, Consulate Generals and the Permanent Representative were only expected to serve for three years and then to pave the way for younger diplomats.
If such a statement were made, it should be no problem for one of the media arms of the government to produce it.
The explanation that the recent shakeup at the Foreign Ministry is part of efforts at professionalising the diplomatic service is laughable. Further, it does not concur with the original explanation that the decision to not renew the contract of the Director General was because of problems with synergy.
It is hard to imagine that given the sweeping appointments made the APNU+AFC government to the diplomatic service, that the government is now going to implement a policy of only their political-appointees serve only three years.
The phased recall of almost all of the main diplomatic appointments will leave a vacuum in the diplomatic service which will result in chaos in diplomacy.
The Foreign Service will end up becoming further demoralised. Staff there will not know the difference between a promotion and a demotion or between a shakeup and a seamless transition, that is, unless they stand on their heads.
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