FOREIGN ministers and leading regional intellectuals will today wrap up a two-day consultation in St George's, Grenada looking on the future of the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group beyond 2020.
Prime Minister of Grenada Dr Keith Mitchell, ACP Secretary General Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, and Caribbean Community (Caricom) Secretary General Irwin LaRocque, who also serves as secretary general of CARIFORUM (Caricom and the Dominican Republic) participated in yesterday's official opening ceremony.
The ACP — comprising 79 nations with a combined population of about 800 million — was originally inaugurated in 1975 following a summit in Guyana's capital, Georgetown and the signing of the "Georgetown Accord".
ACP heads of government recently established a representative Eminent Persons Group (EPG) to benefit from the inputs of regional stakeholders through a series of regional consultations to help in reforming the ACP to be more effective and relevant beyond 2020. The Grenada consultation was designed to facilitate the EPG members and a wide cross-section of participants were mobilised for the event.
Among presenters were Sir Shridath Ramphal, former Commonwealth secretary general and chairman of the West Indian Commission, who, along with Jamaica's former Prime Minister P J Patterson, had played key roles in the ACP's inauguration.
Other leading participants included Sir Edwin Carrington, a former secretary general of the ACP and later Caricom; Barbados Foreign Minister Maxine McLean; Guyana Foreign Minister Carolyn Rodriques-Birkett; Dr Len Ishmael, director general of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States; Professor Vaughan Lewis of St Lucia; and Anthony Gonzales of the UWI's Institute of International Relations.
— Rickey Singh