Former British High Commissioner to Guyana, Greg Quinn, who served from 2015 to 2020, is back in Guyana and performing the duties of High Commissioner, with his successor, Jane Miller, currently on leave.
There were reports in sections of the media that Miller would be temporarily off duty and that Quinn would be taking on the duties of High Commissioner. However, in an interview with the Newsroom on Tuesday, Quinn also had cause to debunk “scurrilous” rumours that Miller had been recalled to the United Kingdom (UK).
Instead, he clarified that Miller is on leave.
According to Quinn, Miller will be returning to duty on January 27. In her absence, a senior diplomatic presence was required in light of the current border controversies being faced by Guyana with Venezuela.
“Scurrilous rumour. Not at all. She is coming back on (January) 27. I’ll be returning (to the UK) after that… obviously there’s a lot going on, not just with the border to the west, but also the border to the east as well. And as you know, the High Commission here also has responsibility for Suriname,” Quinn said.
“So, London had decided that given what was going on, they wanted a more senior cover in Guyana whenever Jane was on leave. To provide resilience to the team here. They asked me. I was available. I’m still on their books. Would I want to come back. I said of course. And so, I’m here just to cover the period of Jane’s leave.”
The acting High Commissioner meanwhile clarified that he will be performing any role Miller would have performed had she been in Guyana. This includes meeting with key officials of the Guyana Government and following up bilateral projects between the UK and Guyana.
He also reinformed the UK’s support for Guyana’s border controversy and noted that relations between the UK and Guyana continue to go from strength to strength. He meanwhile noted that after Miller’s return, he will return to his work on the UK/African Investment Summit.
Quinn’s diplomatic life commenced back in 1995 when he joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Later in 2000, he joined the British High Commission in Ghana in the Public Affairs Department before being appointed as Deputy Head of Mission of the British Embassy in Minsk, Belarus in 2004.
In 2007, he undertook duties as British Consul General in Basra, Iraq and as First Secretary for the Middle East. The diplomat was then appointed as Head of the United Nations Political Team in 2009 and Deputy Head of Mission of Britain’s Kazakhstan embassy in 2012.
Then, in 2015, Quinn was appointed as the British High Commissioner to Guyana, replacing then High Commissioner Andrew Ayre as the local British envoy. Throughout his stint, Quinn has been vocal about issues which might cause implications for Guyana and other nations.
After the passage of the no-confidence vote that took place on December 21, 2018, Quinn was at the forefront in his insistence that Guyana’s Constitution was supreme and should be respected, as well as advocating for timely elections to be held. At that time, local and international pressure was being brought to bear on then President David Granger to announce a date for polls.
Quinn had been slated to leave Guyana in August 2019, but in light of the no-confidence controversy, when the then A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) had been delaying the holding of General and Regional Elections, his term in Guyana had been extended by one year by the British Government.
The former High Commissioner’s return to Guyana coincides with heightened tensions between Guyana and Venezuela, only cooled by the Argyle Agreement made between the two South American neighbours last month in St Vincent and the Grenadines.