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Bahamas Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Host First Diplomatic Week
By Lindsay Thompson, BIS
Oct 17, 2014 - 1:15:21 PM

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration is staging the first ever ‘Diplomatic Week –The Bahamas 2014.’ Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration the Hon. Fred Mitchell made the announcement during a press conference at the Majority Room of the House of Assembly on October 15, 2014. Pictured are Mr. Mitchell and Permanent Secretary Philip Miller, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration. (BIS Photo/Letisha Henderson)

NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration is staging the first ever Diplomatic Week aimed at fostering closer ties between the Diplomatic and Consular Corp and The Commonwealth of the Bahamas.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration the Hon. Fred Mitchell made the announcement during a press conference at the Majority Room of the House of Assembly on Wednesday, October 15, 2014.

Also present were His Excellency Picewell Forbes, Bahamas High Commissioner to CARICOM; Permanent Secretary Philip Miller; Parliamentary Secretary Cleola Hamilton and other Ministry officials.

Underscoring the importance of the initiative, Mr. Mitchell said, “This will give Diplomats the opportunity to interact with Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Government officials so that they can get an understanding of The Bahamas’ goals in foreign diplomacy.”

He explained that many Bahamians do not think about foreign affairs unless they are “stuck” in another country and have to call on a Bahamian Embassy or Consulate office for assistance.

Another goal of ‘Diplomatic Week -- The Bahamas 2014’ is to build relationships and to provide a “seamless” system when Bahamians have to travel abroad, Mr. Mitchell said.

The week of Sunday, October 19 to Saturday, October 25 is designed to bring to the capital The Bahamas’ 12 Heads of Missions abroad and an estimated 50 foreign diplomats accredited to The Bahamas, be they resident or non-resident.

Also during this week, three Ambassadors-Designate from Germany, South Korea and France will present their Letters of Credence to the Governor General.

The activities planned, as outlined by Mr. Mitchell are:

· Sunday, October 19 – Church Service at Christ Church Cathedral at 11am. All diplomats and Government officials are invited.

· Monday, Tuesday, October 20 & 21 – Officials from the American Embassy to appear on Bahamas at Sunrise at 6:30am.

· Wednesday, October 22 – A meeting of the 12 Heads of Mission with the Minister and Permanent Secretary. This will see the reemerging of the annual meeting between these officials to devise strategies on improving the work and goals of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

· Thursday, October 23 – The Official Opening Ceremony of Diplomatic Week will take place at 9am at the Meliá’ Nassau Beach Resort, Cable Beach. The Official Welcome Reception will be held at Luciano’s of Chicago, East Bay Street at 7pm.

· Friday, October 24 – which is recognized as United Nations Day will see a Flag Raising Ceremony at the Meliá’ and the reading of the UN Declaration. At 7pm, the Rt. Hon Perry Christie, Prime Minister will host and address a meeting at Balmoral Club, Sanford Drive – during which awards will be given to outstanding members of the Bahamas Foreign Service.

· Saturday, October 25 – A State Reception and Cultural Show at Government House at 7pm.

The week will also focus on student outreach, with Bahamian Ambassadors and Consul Generals along with Foreign Service Officers visiting schools in Nassau and Grand Bahama, Abaco, Exuma and Eleuthera.

“The various Heads of Mission will come in to explain the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in social and economic development and the importance of Foreign Policy in advancing the interests of The Bahamas in the international arena,” Mr. Mitchell said.

Also during the week, there will be presentations by officials from The Bahamas Investment Authority and the Ministry of Financial Services; and a Bahamian European Union dialogue on political and economic development, crime and security, climate change, natural disasters, Human Rights, the Economic Partnership Agreement, and The Bahamas’ accession to the World Trade Organization.

A signature event of the week will be the official launch of the re-election of The Bahamas to the International Maritime Organization at Grayclliff, hosted by the Minister of Transport and Aviation the Hon Glenys Hanna-Martin.

The Foreign Service Act, which would incorporate the Foreign Service Orders for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, expected to be implemented December 15, will also be discussed.

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