Brussels, 20 November 2014/ ACP: Nominees from Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago are contesting the post of Secretary General of the 79-member African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP Group).

The new Secretary General will be appointed during the 100th session of the ACP Council of Ministers on 9-12 December 2014, to take office from March 2015 to March 2020. The appointed person will hold executive powers as Head of the Brussels-based ACP Secretariat, which is the administrative and technical body of the ACP Group.

The ACP Group is the largest inter-governmental organisation of developing countries working under a partnership treaty with the European Union, through which EUR 31.5 billion has been committed for the period 2014-2020, as the 11th cycle of the European Development Fund.

Appointment to the post of Secretary General generally follows a principle of rotation amongst the six ACP regions, including West Africa (currently holding the post), East Africa, Central Africa, Southern Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands.

The Caribbean region has nominated the following three candidates [listed in alphabetical order]: Ms Patricia R. Francis (Jamaica), Dr. Hamid A. Ghany (Trinidad & Tobago) and Ambassador Dr. Patrick I. Gomes (Guyana).

Ms. Patricia R. Francis is the former Executive Director of the Geneva-based International Trade Centre (ITC) – the joint cooperation agency of UNCTAD and WTO for advancing business aspects of trade development, serving both UN and WTO member countries. She led the multilateral organisation from 2006 to 2013, managing major transition processes and expanding project implementation. Amongst other key roles in the private sector, she also served as President of the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies for four years and was President of Jamaica Promotion Corporation (JAMPRO) from more than a decade. She is currently Chair of Jamaica’s Public Sector Transformation and Modernisation Committee, while also serving on advisory boards of academic institutions such as SciencesPo in Paris and the IESE Business School in Barcelona, as well as board of the Jamaica Producers Group. In 2010 Ms. Francis became a member of the Eminent Persons Group for the Commonwealth Secretariat, which made recommendations to Heads of State on how to reform the organisation. She is currently Chair of the Drafting Committee of the ACP Eminent Persons Group (EPG), which is similarly tasked with reviewing the ACP Group as an international organisation and examining options for future orientation and improved effectiveness. The EPG report is to be presented to Heads of State and Government in 2015.

Dr. Hamid A. Ghany is a senior lecturer in Government and former Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Trinidad. He is also Director of the non-profit organisation Principles of Fairness (since 2005), a position he has held for nearly 10 years. A recognised expert in governance, legal and parliamentary issues, Dr. Ghany has recently served as a Commissioner of the Constitution Commission as well as the Equal Opportunity Commission of his country, and led a number of public consultations and national committees on constitutional reform since the 1990’s until the present. He was a Director of the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry for over seven years, during which he chaired several committees, including the Crime Committee and Committee on Delays in Judicial Hearings. A prominent Caribbean academic, Dr. Ghany is widely published, in particular on regional politics and social issues, in addition to being a regular media commentator and columnist on public affairs. He has developed a range of important innovative academic programmes at UWI and expanded the university’s international linkages. In 2012, he was awarded the Chaconia Medal (Gold) – the second highest award of the National Awards of Trinidad and Tobago – for “long and meritorious service” an educator in the field of Education.

Dr. Patrick I. Gomes is the Ambassador of Guyana to the European Union and the Kingdom of Belgium (also accredited to six other European nations), and the country’s representative to the WTO, FAO, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Since his appointment in 2005, Dr. Gomes has led various high level ambassadorial committees in the ACP system, currently serving as Chair of the Working Group on Future Perspectives of the ACP Group, which will submit its final report on “transforming the ACP Group into a global player” to the ACP Council of Ministers in December 2014. He is also the Dean of ACP Ambassadors in Brussels, and Chair of the Sub-Committee on Sugar. He previously served as Chair of the Committee of Ambassadors, a decision-making body of the ACP Group, in 2010-2011. Before his appointment to Brussels, Dr. Gomes managed a key development project of the FAO, CARICOM, CARIFORUM, and Italian Government on food security. He was previously Team Leader for a Review of the Structure and Functioning of the Secretariat of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), following 10 years heading the Caribbean Centre for Development Administration (CARICAD) as Executive Director. He has worked for the United Nations as a senior adviser in Human Resources Development at the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. Dr. Gomes is a recognised educator who has authored numerous publications in the areas of development and social studies. He is also Chairman of the Board of Governors for the Maastricht-based think tank, European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM).

The Council of Ministers will undertake an evaluation of the candidates at their upcoming meeting in Brussels, where the final decision will be announced.


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