Letters to the Editor

See to career foreign service officers

Friday, February 03, 2012    

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Dear Editor,

It seems as if some people believe that a change of government means that it is time to squabble over overseas positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. It also appears that there are attempts by some individuals to go as far as try to strategically derail the course of natural justice in order to satisfy their own selfish desires and to maintain their full control and influence. Some foot soldiers and some mobile ones have already been dispatched early in various areas to spread false doctrine with the intention to mislead and confuse the new flock.

Since the new administration has taken office, some people have travelled from afar making several visits and hustling for appointments to see the minister of foreign affairs to whisper a thing or two so as to achieve their own ends. It is not only ironic, but plain and simple disingenuous for people who have got so much from the system and some of whom have already risen to the high post of permanent secretary and above, to be checking to see if they can be sent overseas again to satisfy their financial needs, among other things. The egos are flying high and the power brokers seem a bit confused as to how to solve the ongoing puzzle. My advice to the "overseas assignment seekers" is to take their skills elsewhere on the domestic market or in other areas of the international arena and try to enlighten others who are in the dark as to how to solve the international financial crisis since they are all so indispensable.

The two new ministers are to be wary of such couriers of false, outdated doctrines as some did the same thing to their predecessors, one of whom is known to be a very principled, diplomatic and decent man. I also believe that these two recently appointed ministers will be just as diplomatic, principled and decent. My grandmother always told me that "the dog who takes in a bone takes out one".

The most alarming of it all is the fact that some of the "overseas assignment seekers" have poor records of performance and are known to ride the backs of the staff to do their work while they rush to send off reports and briefs under their signatures to the high officials to make false impressions.

The new administration should also address the issue of what is to become of the career paths of career foreign service officers who work tirelessly and around the clock to carry out the duties of the foreign service with limited resources. It is a fact that all external services around the world have a quota for special appointments. However, these should be justified and not be executed in a manner that will jeopardise the efficient functioning of the service and clog up the paths of officers.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade should not be treated as a public assistance bureau or a fountain of milk and honey. Contrary to what some people may erroneously think, it does involve hard work, commitment, sacrifice and unswerving service to country.

Kingsley Mathews

Kingston 6

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