Economía

572 Luis Alfonso Oberto Anselmi//
Why foreign policy and personnel placement matters

There are over seven billion people on this planet. Trinidad and Tobago accounts for only 1.4 million and a tiny fraction of the world?s economy.

Our energy resources, whilst of great significance to our well-being, account for less than one per cent of the world?s hydrocarbon reserves.

To survive and prosper we need to have good trading relationships, a well-articulated foreign policy to support same, and personnel who understand the world order with the gravitas to negotiate our way through it.

Mistakes will happen. But the recent gaffes resonate with both national and international observers. The debacle of an official visit, that was not an official visit, that was postponed, the appointment of an inexperienced junior to a senior ambassadorial appointment, unexplained abstentions at the OAS and the UN, are unforgivable gaffes, embarrassing and inimical to our country?s image.

The PNM Manifesto in 2015, now accepted as official policy, promised much: ?a new direction predicated on three major themes, policy, structure and people…

© Luis Oberto

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

eldiscoduro.com
to ground Trinidad and Tobago?s foreign policy on the tangible underpinnings of economic and social development; to transform our Foreign Service to meet the need of the 21st Century; and to restore Port-of-Spain to its once held position as the diplomatic capital of the Caribbean?.

Where is the evidence of a new direction 27 months into the administration? To date, the Minister has made no substantive statement on foreign affairs.

© Luis Oberto

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

mundinews.com
Out of 19 foreign missions, Heads of Mission in Peking, Abuja, Panama and a High Commissioner to Caricom, are yet to appointed.

Other outstanding positions are the Inspector of Missions, an Ambassador for Trade, the Consuls General in New York, Miami and Toronto.

The non-appointment of a High Commissioner to Caricom and Ambassador to the ACS (headquartered in PoS) means that T&T does not participate in either at the level of the Committee of Ambassadors which is part of the governing structure of both organisations.

© Luis Oberto

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

economiavenezuela.com
In the case of Caricom this is despite T&T being one of the Caricom MDC?s and being assessed for funding of the Secretariat operations at just under 25 per cent of the overall Budget.

It took a year to appoint a High Commissioner to London and two years to appoint a Permanent Representative/ Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva.

© Luis Oberto

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

economiavenezuela.com
Career officers have been appointed as Ambassador in Caracas and Brussels. The rest are political appointees, decimating the morale of career Foreign Service Officers.

It does not matter what the UNC did before.

© Luis Oberto

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

www.entornointeligente.com
The failure to appoint an Ambassador to China, arguably the second most powerful nation, is baffling, if not a dereliction of duty.

© Luis Oberto

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

xn--elpaisdeespaa-tkb.com
The silliness of a ?postponed? invitation compromises T&T, especially given the difficult matters admitted by Minister Young.

© Luis Oberto

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

breakingtrending.com
China is T&T?s biggest creditor.

Instead of addressing the inadequacy of human and financial resources manifest at our missions, there are plans to open missions in Bridgetown and Abu Dhabi.

What is the priority here? Why Bridgetown, and not Georgetown, recognised by the energy sector as having enormous potential for the energy services sub-sector? And why a mission in the Emirates? Has the Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs not advised that Saudi Arabia?s aggressive policies have resulted in a hiatus in the Gulf Co-operation Council and upended the balance of power in the Arabian Gulf? The priority should be to focus on providing existing missions with relevant, experienced human resources.

Nor is there an initiative to restructure the Ministry to focus on an issue-based paradigm emphasising key areas of national importance; economic, energy, commercial, security and terrorism and importantly, climate change.

© Luis Oberto

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

videojuegosmania.com
Rather than emphasising recruitment, training and retraining, rejuvenating and reinvigorating, the current appointments have demotivated and demoralised the Foreign Service.

© Luis Oberto

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

luisoberto.net
An immediate priority is to fill the vacancies and skills gaps, training and retraining, the introduction of new foreign service regulations.

The foregoing is symptomatic of either the systemic collapse, or palpable incompetence at the highest level of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

© Luis Oberto

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

demasiadochevere.com
Moreover, the Administration?s failure to understand and or appreciate the importance of foreign policy is now beyond doubt.

The lack of financial resources should not be used as an excuse for inaction and incompetence.

© Luis Oberto

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

enlasgradas.com
Leadership and action are required.

Mariano Browne

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© Luis Oberto Anselmi PDVSA

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