Experienced persons in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs might not necessarily make good diplomats, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves says.
He made the point Monday when asked at a press conference about his government’s policy on selecting envoys to represent the country overseas and how he would respond to public servants who feel diplomatic postings should be a natural elevation.
“First of all, I look for the ability of the person. And I make an assessment about the competence of the person,” he said, adding that competence includes “a number of different criteria”.
“Experience is important but you don’t have to be hanging around many years, as you see we have done with La Celia Prince, who has been a very good ambassador in Washington and also Camillo [Gonsalves] at the U.N.,” the prime minister further said.
“And you can look from the time of Independence, you ain’t gonna find people pointing to an ambassador at the U.N. who has done better than Camillo. And if anybody has done as good as La Celia, I don’t think they would necessarily have surpassed her.”
Ambassador Gonsalves, a son of the Prime Minister, is coming to the end of a five-year tour of duty at the U.N.
Gonsalves says he considers the personality of the candidate for ambassadorial appointment and also considers people who understand and are prepared to carry out the foreign policy of the Government.
“You may be in the Foreign Service and you are experienced and you may be able to do the job as permanent secretary, as senior assistant secretary. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to be able to do a job as a diplomat as well,” he said.
Meanwhile, Gonsalves said last week that his government would be making changes to its Foreign Service personnel overseas.