Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon Brent Symonette represented the country at the Sixth Summit of Heads of State and Government of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) held in Accram, Ghana from October 2-3, 2008.
Mr. Symonette was accompanied by Mr. Frank Davis, First Secretary/Consul, Bahamas Mission to the European Communities, London.
The Summit of ACP Heads of State and Government is the supreme organ of the Group. It defines the Group’s general policy orientation.
Since 1997, Heads of State and Government of ACP member-countries have been meeting regularly, to lay down the broad guidelines for the general policy of the ACP Group and give the Council of Ministers instructions relating for its implementation.
The Summit is presided over by the Head of State or Government of the host-country and organised by a Bureau comprising the President-in-Office, the outgoing president and the incoming president.
Summits have been held as follows:
First Summit, Libreville, Gabon, November 1997
Second Summit, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, November 1999
Third Summit, Nadi, Fiji, June 2002
Fourth Summit, Maputo, Mozambique, June 2004
Fifth Summit, Khartoum, Sudan, December 2006
The Sixth Summit was preceded by a meeting of the ACP Council of Ministers on September 30, 2008, and a joint meeting of the ACP Council of Ministers and Ministers of Foreign Affairs on October 1, 2008.
His Excellency J.A. Kufuor, President of the Republic of Ghana and incoming President of the ACP Group officially opened the Summit.
Assuming his new role, President Kufuor thanked the outgoing President of the ACP Summit and Sudan’s President Omer Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir for holding the fort for the past two years and for the wonderful cooperation between the officials of the two countries, which has contributed to the smooth arrangements for the Sixth Summit.
The President said that the ACP countries are determined to empower their peoples to take advantage of the ever-increasing opportunities, which would help them to integrate meaningfully into the systems and impact positively on their development.
Other speakers included Sir John Kaputin, ACP Secretary General, H.E. Robert Hill, Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations, who brought greetings on behalf of the Prime Minister of Australia, and Mrs. Glenys Kinnock, MEP, Co-President of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly. The Summit was also pleased to later receive and be addressed by the EU Commissioner for Development, Mr. Louis Michel.