AFRICAN, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group outgoing secretary-general Sir John Kaputin and his management signed off from Brussels, Belgium, last week after a successful five-year stint.
Sir John and his team departed with countless reminiscences and closed a challenging but eventful chapter of the 34-year-old organisation.
Their efforts were acknowledged by ACP committee of ambassadors in a farewell ceremony in Brussels last week.
Representatives from the six regions of the ACP group had spoken highly of the outgoing management for their efforts to administer the organisation regardless of the many challenges it faced in the past five years.
Chairman of the committee of ambassadors, Rene Makongo commended Sir John and his team for their outstanding contributions to the organisation.
He acknowledged the many achievements accomplished by the outgoing management, one of which was to increase the retirement age of the staff at the secretariat from 60 to 65 years.
In addition, Mr Makongo, who is also the Ambassador of Gabon, noted the important role played by the secretariat in the many important meetings organised during their time.
Similarly, he congratulated Sir John and his management for taking the lead role in the current revision of the Cotonou agreement, which is scheduled for signing in June in Burkina Faso, West Africa.
Speaking on behalf of the Pacific group, the ambassador of Vanuatu Roy-Micky Joy said Sir John’s presence in the ACP had given visibility to the organisation in the Pacific.
“For the first time we feel that we’re part of the ACP group since its formation in 1975,” he said.
Mr Joy stressed that the Pacific was very proud of Sir John’s contributions to the ACP Group, especially for bringing visibility to the organisation to the region.
He also commended the outgoing chef-de-cabinet and Papua New Guinean Dr Henry Okole and head of press and communication Solomon Islands Robert Iroga, whom he described as an outstanding Pacific ambassador at the ACP.
It is understood that Dr Okole and Mr Iroga have been given extended contracts by the new secretary-general Dr Mohamed Cambas to assist him.