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Forbes Burnham’s son-in-law picked as Ambassador to Venezuela

Dr Richard Van West Charles

People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) member,Dr Richard Van West Charles has been selected to become Guyana’s Ambassador to Venezuela, Foreign Affairs Minister Hugh Todd said Tuesday.

He told Demerara Waves Online News that about seven weeks ago, Guyana formally asked Venezuela to accept Dr Van West Charles as Ambassador. That process can take up to 12 weeks in some cases.

Asked what qualities that influenced government’s selection of Dr Van West Charles, the Foreign Minister said that it shows that the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC)-led administration does not fill vacancies with its own supporters. “It’s a very inclusive government. We need all hands on deck. We are a very inclusive government,” Mr Todd told Demerara Waves Online News.

Dr Van West Charles is the son-in-law of late Founder-Leader of the People’s National Congress (PNC). As late as 2021, he had contested for the leadership of that party.

Back in August, Dr Van West Charles described President Irfaan Ali as “my friend, my political colleague” at an event at State House to mark another anniversary for the abolition of slavery. There, he had also endorsed President Ali’s “One Guyana” initiative, saying “that is important for us because it is building our nation. It is saying who we are.” Dr Ali, in turn described him as “my brother”. The two had also been seen dancing together at a diaspora event in Canada.

Dr Van West Charles is a medical doctor, former Minister of Health under the Forbes Burnham-led People’s National Congress (PNC) administration and former Pan Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) Representative to a number of Caribbean nations.

Dr Van West Charles, while being Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI), had said the 2020 general and regional elections process had been corrupted and could not have yielded credible election results; a position that the then opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) had differed with.

Earlier this year, Dr Van West Charles’ Atlantic Fuel Inc won a case against the Guyana Revenue Authority for issuing a false declaration.