Over the next few days, leaders will continue to meet to set the agenda of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group’s summit of Heads of State and Government slated to begin on Monday. But Guyana, one of the founding members of the group, is voiceless at that preparatory forum.

The 9th ACP Summit of Heads of State and Government, 2019, is being hosted in Nairobi, Kenya, under the theme “A Transformed ACP: Committed to Multilateralism.” The World Health Organization’s (WHO ) website states, “The Summit comes at an auspicious time for the ACP Group as it prepares to finalize the Post-Cotonou negotiations as well as the revision to its Constitutive Act, the Georgetown Agreement.”

This publication understands that Guyana is unlikely to attend the summit. However, in the event that the country does make an appearance, “we will not be at full strength. Just one person may go.”

The summit is preceded by Ministerial Sessions which commenced today and will culminate on Sunday.

Since the establishment of the ACP Group in 1979, Guyanese Ministers have played critical roles in negotiating sessions or monitoring the implementation of the agreements including the EPA. Most of the grant funds received by the Caribbean region come from the ACP which is the EU’s partner under the Cotonou Agreement (successor to the Lome Convention). A major step in the life-cycle of the Group is the new agreement to cover 2020 and beyond.

Unfortunately, Guyana, having taken on responsibilities within the Group has not taken steps to fulfill its responsibilities. This is said to be possibly owed to the current confusion surrounding the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the removal of Ambassadors by President David Granger.

This publication was informed that Guyana is a member of the 3- man Central Negotiating Group (CNG) charged with the negotiation of the agreement to replace the Cotonou and other related agreements, but Guyana has, without warning, failed to attend the current Heads of State and Government Summit in Nairobi.
Guyana Standard understands that members of the ACP Group meeting at the level of Ambassadors are concerned that having held these important posts for, in some cases, over 18 months, the Guyana government “could treat the group so shabbily.”
Guyana Standard was told, “even (former Minister of Foreign Affairs whom the government retained after he was made to resign as Minister) was a no show. And he is still being paid. Why not make the necessary representations at this important forum?”
The meetings over the next few days are to discuss the selection of a new Secretary-General (Guyana has the outgoing SG) and CARIFORUM Partnership with the EU. Regarding CARIFORUM, Guyana Standard understands that Guyana and Jamaica were supposed to represent the Caribbean on this front.

Also to be discussed is the progress with the succession agreement and the search for Heads of State guidelines on how to proceed. Commodities, including updates on WTO matters, will also be discussed. Guyana had a major role to play on this front as well.
The ministerial group will also review the Georgetown Agreement which could possibly include a name change, etc. The Georgetown Agreement created ACP, an organization which aims to ensure sustainable development and poverty reduction within its member states.
ACP has been a strong voice of support for Guyana in matters regarding the ongoing territorial controversy.

In May, as Foreign Secretary, Greenidge attended the 109th session of ACP Council of Ministers, following which, members of the Council passed a resolution on the Guyana/Venezuela controversy.
Additionally, the Council discussed the upcoming appointment of a new Secretary-General early next year, ongoing post-Cotonou negotiations, and the blacklisting of ACP States by the European Union (EU).
Guyana Standard understands that while the Minister and other dignitaries were expected to attend, Greenidge is the one that had the most responsibilities to fulfill. He had “heavy responsibilities but I am certain he did not attend.”
Guyana Standard’s efforts to contact Greenidge on his no show proved futile.


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