The Committee of supply late Tuesday evening approved $8.3 billion budget for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation which will continue to play an integral role in developing Guyana’s foreign policy.
This year, the ministry has planned a very active public relations programme that will engage residents on the Guyana Venezuela Border Controversy especially in the border regions.
This was revealed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd as he responded to questions during the consideration of the budget estimates in the National Assembly.
“Mr. Speaker, this is a position that we have taken when we assumed office to sensitise the villages in the borderline regions, particularly, regions 1,9,8,7. And this is to bring them up to speed with the controversy that Venezuela has over the validity of 1899 award, giving them a historical perspective, helping them to understand clearly how we are positioned, and what we are doing in terms of preserving and protecting our sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he stated.
The minister noted that there has been a pause in the initiative due to challenges like the Covid-19 pandemic and flooding, but he assured that the programme will be very actively pursued this year.
He noted that this programme will be conducted by a team from the ministry in collaboration with other individuals.
During the examination of the expenditures, it was also revealed that training will be done in various fields such as language training, orientation for officers, posting preparation, protocol, diplomacy, defense and environment, foreign policy matters, research and analysis, accounting, sustainable development diplomacy, the art of speech writing, energy diplomacy, foreign and security policy context in the Caribbean, diplomatic etiquette protocol, and diplomatic communications in practice among others.
“Mr. Speaker, some of the training that we do are done inhouse, and some of the courses are outsourced so we partner with several institutions, reputable institutions that we offer these trainings for our foreign service officers for their development,” minister Todd stated.
The Foreign Service Institute and the Ministry of Public Service will be engaged in these training.
Training will also be conducted at the various missions.
Meanwhile, a site for the construction of the Foreign Service Institute has been identified in the compound of the ministry.
The tender is out for the construction of an Embassy of Guyana in Brazil.