PETIONVILLE, Haiti -- The French-speaking Caribbean island of Guadeloupe has confirmed its commitment to working more closely with its neighbour countries and territories in the affairs of the region.
Josette Borel-Lincertin, president of the Regional Council of Guadeloupe, affirmed the French department's commitment to collaboration while participating in the 5th summit of the heads of state and government of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), held in Haiti from April 23-25, 2013.
Since its establishment, the ACS has organized four such summits of heads of state and government, which took place in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, in August 1995; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in April 1999; Margarita Island, Venezuela, in December 2001; and Panama City, Panama, in July 2005.
The theme of this year's summit, held for the first time in Haiti, is "Revitalizing the Vision of the Association of Caribbean States for a Stronger and More United Greater Caribbean".
The summit has focused on issues such as sustainable tourism, air and maritime transport, trade, and disaster risk reduction. The summit outcomes are expected to propel sustainable development efforts in Haiti and the wider Caribbean.
By participating for the first time as an associate member of the ACS, Guadeloupe's commitment to regional development represents part of the international commitments of France in the Caribbean.
Borel-Lincertin asserted, "This is an important step towards the diplomatic representation of Guadeloupe within the region, thereby strengthening our capacity to take part in the dialogue with other Caribbean states and to forge a collective voice for regional development."
Borel-Lincertin is taking part in the summit alongside the French minister of French overseas affairs, Victorin Lurel, and the French ambassador of regional cooperation for the Caribbean and Guyanas, Fred Constant.
The Guadeloupe delegation is taking advantage of its participation at the summit to meet with Haitian partners on key projects to foster regional cooperation -- in particular the construction of a French high school under an agreement between the French Overseas Department of Guadeloupe, the government of Haiti and the Association of French Regions.