Nine months after assuming office, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell has finally unveiled its full slate of persons to represent the island at the diplomatic level.
Foreign Minister Joseph Andall announced the names at a press briefing Tuesday at Parliament Building at Mt Wheldale.
According to the senior government minister, the person who has been entrusted with the responsibility to serve in Washington as Ambassador to the United States will be Tarlie Francis who is also accredited as Ambassador to Mexico.
Minister Andall told reporters that Francis who grew up as a Pioneer in the 1979-83 Grenada Revolution will do double duties as Grenada’s Permanent Representative to the Organisation of American States (OAS) and High Commissioner to Canada.
The minister introduced Francis as one who “brings a wealth of experience in the financial field in the areas of Securities, Trade and Investment” and is also known to be fluent in Spanish.
Ambassador Francis will be assisted in performing his task by the relatively unknown Dr. Wendell Cornwall who is said to have some experience in the Foreign Service.
Sources told THE NEW TODAY that Dr. Cornwall had a stint as a Foreign Service Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs some years ago before migrating to live in Canada.
The new Grenada representative to serve at the United Nations in New York will be Che Phillip – who was identified as “a career foreign service officer” and a “long serving staffer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Export Development.”
Foreign Minister Andall disclosed that the person who will serve as First Secretary to the UN Mission for Grenada is Nerissa Williams “who has had considerable experience at our UN Mission and is currently in place there.”
He also announced a new Ambassador to Beijing to be assigned to the People’s Republic of China in the person of Ian Marshall who was described as one with “extensive experience” in China and with a good command of Mandarin, the official language of the Chinese.
He said that Marshall “brings to the table an array of skills that can only redound to the benefit of the Mission and of Grenada.”
According to the Foreign Minister, Tricia Bethel will act in the position of First Secretary at the Mission in Beijing.
The minister announced that the new head of the Grenada Embassy to Belgium and head of the Permanent Mission to the European Mission will be Raphael Joseph, who is known to have been a long-standing Foreign Service Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Ambassador Joseph will be assisted by a Counsellor, Simba St Bernard who was identified as “a home-grown Foreign Service Officer attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Export Development.”
It was also revealed that the new High Commissioner to London will be Racher Croney who was described as “a young talented person with considerable experience in the diplomatic field.”
Lornie Bartholomew, an employee with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will serve as First Secretary to the London Mission.
Former General Secretary of NDC, Glen Noel has already arrived in Cuba to pick up the job as Ambassador to the Caribbean’s sole communist state.
Noel, a former Minister in the 2008-13 Congress government will have alongside him First Secretary Sabrina Dumont, another young professional with qualifications in the field of International Relations and also a fluent speaker of Spanish.
Ambassador Hassan Hadeed who contributed substantial finances to NDC’s election victory in June 2022 was also retained to serve in Caracas, Venezuela, as well as Colombia and Panama.
“We are also in the process of selecting a First Secretary to assist Ambassador Hadeed in the execution of his functions,” said Foreign Minister Andall.
The minister also released the names of several persons who were appointed as Sectorial Ambassadors in the areas of Health and Culture.
Dr Trevor Layne, a Grenadian oncologist who operated for years in the United States has been appointed as Global Health Ambassador, while Orlando Romain the current PRO of NDC was also named as a Special Envoy for the Creative Economy and Information, Communication Technology, and female attorney-at-law Andrea St Bernard was also appointed as a Special Envoy for Development and Investment in the Prime Minister’s Office.
The New York Consulate office will be headed by Michael Brizan who has served before at Grenada’s Consular Office in Trinidad & Tobago.
Brizan will be replaced in Port-of-Spain by the decorated calypsonian Elwyn “Black Wizard” McQuilkin.
Minister Andall told the press conference that the person identified to serve in the Toronto Consulate office will be Gerry Hopkin who has been a long-standing member and supporter of Congress.
He referred to Hopkin as one “who has extensive background in the fields of Broadcasting, Communication, Writing, Political Activism, Community activism and a whole host of other areas.”
It was also announced that the person to head the Grenada Consulate office in Dubai will be Ziya Rahaman, a local businessman from Grenada.
Minister Andall said the government expects that Rahaman will take up duties shortly in order “to put us in a position to exploit the opportunities that exist in that part of the world and also to start the necessary outreach into the African continent.”
According to Minister Andall, the new diplomatic appointments by Congress are in keeping with the trust of the administration to build “a professional foreign service” because over the years “we have engaged in some practices that are not ideal.”
This is a clear reference to the number of foreign nationals especially Chinese who were recruited by the former New National Party (NNP) government of Dr. Keith Mitchell to serve as Ambassadors and in other diplomatic positions.
The focus of the NDC government, he said, is to place emphasis on “recruiting, retaining and training Grenadian nationals to serve in diplomacy.
However, Minister Andall did not rule out the possibility of the government moving in the direction at some point in time of recruiting non-nationals to serve in some diplomatic positions.