Nineteen countries around the world will head to The Bahamas next week for the 21st Session of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) meeting to be held at the British Colonial Hilton.

The meeting, which will take place May 7-8, will be attended by CARICOM Foreign Affairs Ministers and their Senior Officials, the Secretary General of CARICOM Irwin Larocque, Senior Officials of CARICOM and Senior Officials  of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS),  as well as guests and  representatives from Germany, Belgium, Norway, Romania and the United Nations.

COFCOR determines relations between the Caribbean community and international organizations and third states and promotes the development of friendly and mutually beneficial relations among member states.

There will be a number of closed working sessions among the ministers and representatives as heads of delegates discuss a number of issues of importance to the member states.

The goal of COFCOR is to: 

  • promote the development of friendly and mutually beneficial relations among Member States;
  • establish measures to coordinate the foreign policies of the Member States of the Community, including proposals  for joint representation, and seek to ensure, as far as practicable, the adoption of Community positions on major hemispheric and international issues
  • coordinate the positions of the Member States in inter- governmental organizations in whose activities  such states participate
  • collaborate with COTED in promoting and developing coordinating  policies for the enhancement  of external economic and trade relations of the Community;
  • coordinate, in close consultation with the Member  States, Community policy on international issues with the policies of States in the wider Caribbean Region in order to arrive at common positions in relation to Third States, groups of States and relevant inter-governmental organizations; and 
  • undertake any additional functions remitted to it by the Conference arising under [the] Treaty

Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon. Darren Henfield will chair COFCOR for one year effective April 2018. He expressed his pleasure in hosting this meeting and said he looks forward to a fruitful outcome.

An opening ceremony will be held at the British Colonial Hilton on May 7 at 10:00 a.m.

Minister Henfield will host a special lunch, where Ms. Louise Arbour, United Nations Special Representative for International Migration will be the special guest speaker.

Ms. Arbour has a long and distinguished career in international affairs.  She previously served as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and as Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.  She is a former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and of the Court of Appeal for Ontario.  From 2009 to 2014, Ms. Arbour was President and CEO of the International Crisis Group.

On May 7, there will also be breakfast and lunch hosted by the United States and Canada respectively and after a number of closed COFCOR Plenary meetings there will be a closing reception held at Government House.

The delegations depart on Wednesday, May 9.

For more information contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at 356-5956/9 or dgmfa@bahamas.gov.bs or visit caricom.org 

MEDIA CONTACT: Kendea Smith | ksmith@bahamas.com | 242-397-2786