by Linda Straker
- Former ambassador Claris Charles briefed Noel last week
- Noel expected to be posted in Havana by middle of February
- Government has begun training people to be appointed as diplomats or to diplomatic missions
Glen Noel served as Minister of State in the Ministries of Housing and Information during the Tillman Thomas–National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration from 2008 to 2013. He will be Grenada’s new ambassador to Cuba.
“Mr Glen Noel, we expect that administrative work that will lead to his posting in Havana will be completed shortly. We expect that by the middle of February, he will be posted in Havana,” Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell disclosed during the year’s first post-cabinet briefing, held on Tuesday, 24 January 2023.
Noel, a former General Secretary of the NDC, and the only publicly named diplomat since the Dickon Mitchell administration assumed office 7 months ago, was last week briefed by former Ambassador Claris Charles. Charles was appointed Grenada’s ambassador to Cuba by the New National Party (NNP) after it won the 2013 General Election, and she officially demitted the post on 21 December 2022.
Prime Minister Mitchell used the post-cabinet briefing to disclose that his government has begun training several people who will soon be appointed as diplomats or to diplomatic missions. “We have begun the first round of training for the persons we intend to name as diplomats. We have not publicly announced them; the first meeting took place last week Wednesday,” he said.
“The reality is we are almost starting from zero, and hence the reason for us taking our time to get this right and that people are not simply thrust into a position where they have no training nor opportunity to ensure that they are clear as to what our expectation is of them,” he added.
“We have to some extent, have persons who are likely to be given such positions. That is why we are having the training. That is why we are having the discussion, and once that is complete, the announcements will be made,” he promised.
Claiming that there is a shortage of Grenadians who are career diplomats, he said that the situation is so severe that it requires identifying and training a new group of people who will be able to serve in diplomatic roles.
“I am going to reiterate; we perhaps have not understood the gravity of what has happened to the diplomatic corps or service in Grenada. Almost 90% of the persons holding diplomatic passports were non-Grenadians, not in any real or significant way affiliated with Grenada, nor resident in Grenada; not in my view attuned to the culture as well as the economic and development needs of the citizens of Grenada,” he said.
“And, so we need to ensure that whoever we appoint as diplomats, the first criteria is being Grenadian — unless we can make an exception — but we need to make sure that persons are trained and understand what diplomacy is about, understands the Government’s policy, understand what we are seeking to get when you are posted to a mission,” said the Prime Minister, who formerly served as the Netherlands Honorary Consul in Grenada.