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The inaugural meeting of the Ministerial Advisory Council on Foreign Affairs brought forth numerous views on Friday, and another meeting is likely in November to build on these.
Foreign Minister Rudy Insanally, who chaired the meeting, told Stabroek News the participants expressed a wide range of views and tendered advice and recommendations, which were now being distilled to see how they could be used to improve the approaches of the ministry.
Sustainable development, Guyana’s image and influence abroad as well the protection of Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity were the broad areas of discussion.
Minister Insanally told Stabroek News that he was pleased with the high quality of the debate and that the meeting in November would review and crystallise the views that came out of the discussions. The Council is comprised of Guyanese, who reside at home or overseas and have expertise and experience in international relations. It has been formed to provide a forum for the expression of diverse perspectives on national policy issues The United Nations Development Programme is funding the council’s work.
Among those present at Friday’s meeting were former Foreign Minister Rashleigh Jackson; Prof Denis Benn of the University of the West Indies; Prof Walter Stewart, Snr Legal Advisor to the Guyana Mission to the United Nations; Dr Havelock Brewster, Alternate Executive Director, Inter American Development Bank; Drs Mark Kirton, Daniel Kumar and Rishi Thakur of the University of Guyana; Dr Barton Scotland, Duke Pollard and Bryn Pollard SC, attorneys at law; Dr David Singh, Adviser, Iwokrama Rainforest Project; Sister Noel Menezes, and Brigadier General, Michael Atherly, Chief of Staff, Guyana Defence Force. Cabinet Secretary, Dr Roger Luncheon; Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Elisabeth Harper; Rudy Collins and Keith George, who head respectively the Ministry’s Multilateral and Frontiers Unit as well Directors of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Barbara Haley and Charlene Phoenix; and the Director of the Foreign Service Unit, Harold Sahadeo.