The Congress government of Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell has retained at least one leftover diplomat from the former New National Party (NNP) regime of defeated Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.
Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Andall announced at a Government Townhall meeting on Wednesday night at Westerhall that Ambassador Hassan Hadeed will continue in his old position as Grenada’s envoy to Caracas, Venezuela.
THE NEW TODAY had carried a report about four months ago that Hadeed had made approaches to the new regime to keep him on the job.
Well-placed source said that the former NNP Ambassador had made substantial financial contributions to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) of the new Grenadian leader in its campaign to replace NNP in the June 23, 2022 general election.
The Foreign Minister said that Hadeed will also be accredited as Grenada’s ambassador to serve Colombia and Panama.
According to Minister Andall, former NDC General Secretary Glen Noel has now travelled to Havana to take up his posting as Grenada’s resident Ambassador to Cuba and will soon “be joined by another diplomat to be named.”
He said the person has already been “identified and awaiting administrative processes” before travelling to the Spanish-speaking communist island.
The senior government minister stated that the Dickon Mitchell-led administration has taken the decision to ensure that each of Grenada’s overseas diplomatic postings is staffed by at least two diplomats – a head of mission, as well as a Counsellor, First or Second Secretary as the case may be.
Minister Andall disclosed that there is already an ambassador-designate selected to serve in Brussels, Belgium, New York at the United Nations and Washington serve the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Organisation of American States (OAS) but the island was waiting on the processes of accreditation to be completed for these envoys.
“We already have in place a First Secretary (for the UN Mission) in the person of Ms. Nerissa Williams, a person of great experience, having worked there for many years,” he said.
“We have already identified and very soon will have on the ground the other person in Brussels,” he added.
The Minister also said that the Congress government has now identified and is awaiting approval from Washington for the person to take up duties as Ambassador to the United States, Mexico, Canada and the Organisation of American States (OAS).
The Foreign Minister told the Town Hall meeting that persons have also been identified to fill Counsellor positions in Trinidad and Tobago, as well as Toronto, Canada, and New York.
“Those persons will not be named pending the finalisations of terms and conditions,” he said.
Minister Andall made no mention about the position of High Commissioner to London in which leftover NNP diplomat Kisha Alexander-Grant has reportedly been asked to hold on for the time being.
According to the island’s Foreign Minister, the new government has also taken the decision to recruit and train several persons who have expressed an interest in joining the foreign service, as well as begin the process of training staffers across the different government ministries in the area of protocol.
He said that one session was conducted in February and another will take place over 2 days – March 17 and March 20 – involving at least 45 public officers from the different government ministries and departments.
“…This is something that is going to be undertaken in an ongoing manner,” Minister Andall told the Town Hall session.
Congress has been facing criticisms in some quarters over the slow pace at which it was appointing ambassadors to replace those from the outgoing NNP regime which have been allowed to remain on the job for the time being.