On BIMSTEC’s Secretary General issue

Staff Reporter

The National Council (NC) today will review the foreign ministry’s response on the government’s appointment of Tenzin Lekphel as the next secretary general of BIMSTEC, according to NC members.

The NC wrote to the foreign ministry a few days ago, expressing its concerns about the appointment. Tenzin Lekphel is one of the founding members of the ruling party, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT).

NC Chairperson Tashi Dorji said that the NC would review the ministry’s response on the issue. The Chairperson said that the NC would inform the media about the issue after the discussion among the members.

The NC’s good governance committee chaired by member from Chhukha, Sangay Dorji, had sent a set of questions related to the criteria on the appointment of the secretary general to the foreign ministry a few days back after the controversy on the issue.

Among other questions, the good governance had asked to the foreign ministry whether the post was advertised.

According to the foreign ministry’s response, there is no requirement for the post to be advertised, as the prerogative to nominate the secretary general solely depends on the respective government on a rotational basis, as per the Memorandum of Association on the establishment of BIMSTEC.

“There are no set criteria for the post of secretary general. As per Article 4(A) of the Memorandum of Association of the Establishment of the BIMSTEC secretariat, the secretary general shall be appointed by the BIMSTEC ministerial meeting upon nomination by the party on the principle of alphabetical rotation,” the foreign ministry wrote to the NC good governance committee.

The foreign ministry stated that all the member countries had accepted the nomination of Tenzin Lekphel as the secretary general of BIMSTEC. This is Bhutan’s turn to nominate the secretary general.

The foreign secretary replied that the government would have considered options on who would be the secretary general.

The current secretary general who is from Bangladesh will complete his term in September. The 21st session of the BIMSTEC Senior Officials Meeting on September 2 accepted the nomination of the candidate.