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Bahamas To Host Diplomatic Week

This upcoming week, The Bahamas will host a major foreign policy initiative that will bring together 12 Heads of Missions abroad and an some 50 foreign ambassadors, this according to Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell who announced on Wednesday that the country will host its very first Diplomatic Week.

“This will give diplomats the opportunity to interact with MFA and government officials so that they can get an understanding of The Bahamas goals in foreign diplomacy,” he said.

“During the course of the week, three Ambassadors Designate from Germany, South Korea and France will present their letters of Credence to the Governor General. There will also be a meeting of the 12 Heads of Missions with the minister and permanent secretary; ideally this is an annual meeting but one has not been held for a number of years. This is where the Heads come together and review the work of the ministry and plan strategies to improve the work of the ministry going forward.”

The week long schedule of events begin on Sunday with a church service and throughout the week American diplomats from the US embassy will appear on The Bahamas at Sunrise show to discuss immigration policies.

Officials will also conduct a student outreach in New Providence and various Family Islands to inform young Bahamians about foreign policy and a public forum will also be held at the College of The Bahamas.

Mr. Mitchell added that Thursday will mark the official opening for Diplomatic Week.

“There will be a Bahamas European Union dialogue, where matters such as political and economic development, crime and security, climate change, natural disasters, human rights, the economic partnership agreement and accession of The Bahamas to the World Trade Organisation will be discussed along with other issues,” he said.

“It is expected that Ambassadors of some 12 European Union States will be present at that meeting along with the ambassador of the European Union to The Bahamas.”

During that press conference in the Majority Room in the House of Assembly, Mr. Mitchell also said that he hopes to have the new Ministry of Foreign Affairs Act fully enforced by the end of this year.

Mr. Mitchell explained that at present The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Act enables the government to set the rules of conduct for staff members in the ministry and visa regulations.

He explained that this new Act will pave the way for a formal Foreign Service Order.

“We promised in our Charter for Governance that we would bring into force Foreign Service Orders to develop for the first time a form of Foreign Service so that career path and tracking of Foreign Service officers would be different from those in the general public service,” he said.

“It’s taken some back and forth but the government’s advice now is to proceed by some way of a new Act that will substitute for the existing Act at least as far as provisions to continue but it also gives us the authority to establish this Foreign Service as a special set of regulations in the public service regulations.”

As for diplomatic week, he explained that the signature event of the entire week will be the official launch of The Bahamas re-election to the International Maritime Organisation.

The week will end with a state reception and cultural show hosted by Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling at Government House on next week Saturday.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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