Last Updated on Thursday, 11 December 2014, 1:15 by GxMediaGuyanese Dr.Patrick Gomes was Wednesday appointed Secretary General of the 79-nation African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group, the Foreign Ministry here announced.
“The ACP is at a critical juncture and experience and wise leadership coupled with patience are critical if we are to overcome the challenges. Ambassador Gomes possesses these attributes and together with the support of all of us, I am confident he will not only keep the Georgetown Agreement alive but will make it thrive,” said Guyana’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett at the 100th session of the ACP Ministerial Council held at the grouping’s headquarters in Brussels.
He assumes duty in March 2015 for the next five years.
Gomes, who is Guyana’s Ambassador to Belgium and the European Community, got the nod over Jamaica’s Patricia Francis who is a former Executive Director of the International Trade Centre- a joint agency of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the United Nations- and Dr. Hamid Ghany of Trinidad and Tobago who is a Professor at the University of the West Indies.
It is now the Caribbean’s turn to again head the organization; Africa and the Pacific already having had their turns in heading the ACP. Previously, Trinidad and Tobago’s Edwin Carrington had headed the grouping.
Gomes has been serving as Guyana’s Ambassador to the ACP and the EU from February, 2005.
In thanking the ACP Ministers for the confidence they have exhibited in Ambassador Gomes, Minister of Foreign Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett said “Warmest congratulations compatriot, the celebration will be short as you have a lot of work to do. Go now and serve the African, Caribbean and Pacific group with distinction as you have served your own country Guyana.”
Ambassador Gomes will take office in March 2015 in the fortieth year of the ACP. It was in Guyana, 39 years ago in 1975, that the ACP was birthed through the Georgetown Accord. “The Government of Guyana views this appointment as an honour for Guyana, the Caribbean and the ACP Group,” the Foreign Affairs Ministry added in a statement.
The Guyanese diplomat is also the Chairman of the Ambassadors’ Working Group on Future Perspectives of the ACP. For almost a decade, Ambassador Gomes has worked consistently within the ACP to gain beneficial terms of trade and development in the markets of the European Union for ACP’s agricultural commodities and minerals.
He has also pursued improved financial support and services for joint ACP-EU institutions such as the Centre for Technical Cooperation in Agriculture and Rural Development (CTA) and has been instrumental in promoting the potential for capacity development of the ACP through South-South and Triangular Cooperation.