Wednesday, October 01, 2008

6 ACP Summit--Day Two: Raw Deal for the Press


I got into town to the Accra Conference Centre on a day after the public holiday to heavy traffic, coupled with the cacophonous noises of siren ushering commuters and motorists alike to move way for the oh-so-important delegates (comprising mostly ambassadors) to head to the AICC on a day that will see the joint meeting of ACP Council of Ministers along with the ACP Ministers of Foreign Affairs.

Yet again, the meeting is late.

If we forget the fact that the Press were politely asked to wait for delegates to get a bag before they could come for one, or the fact that local press is not factored into the free lunch, or even coffee break, we could simply sigh a huge one and get on with our business.

But there is more: the press is not getting the documents from the ACP press person Robert Irago (somehow, since yesterday, he has not been able to coordinate the distribution of material for them!) as expected. The ushers are unable to give us the documents we need to be able to read between the lines for the necessary reporting we need to do. Is it any wonder the Ghanaian press sometimes behave so mediocre?

Here is yours truly who is profoundly interested in what he is here for, but starved off information to do my job! Who can blame me when a neglectful minister or ambassador not here on time comes to his seat to find no documents:-) At least, some of us will put it to good use!

Speaking of which, I have the following documents here as I type this in the plenary hall, which regrettably has no wireless!! They are: [<i>le reunion va demarrer dans cinq minutes</i>] * DRAFT ELEMENTS OF THE ACCRA DECLARATION; *CONTRIBUTION OF THE ACP CIVIL SOCIETY TO THE 6TH SUMMIT OF HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT IN ACCRA (GHANA); *Draft agenda of the joint meeting of the acp council of ministers of foreign affairs to be held on Wednesday 1 October 2008 from 9.30 to 13.00 in Accra, Ghana.; *report from the council of ministers to the 6th acp summit of heads of state and government on the implementation of decisions of previous summits and important developments relevant to the acp group.

It is now some 29 minutes after 10. All sorts of people are standing up smiling to people both fake and genuine smiles. You know here that the laptops that are open are for serious business as the wireless is not set up in the building (unlike at UNCTAD XII in April).
Be-spectacled delegates of the slim,thin, fat, and pot-bellied type move around at all sorts of paces. The head table where the ACP SG and Assistant SG are seated are empty, with no signs of where they could be. The five minutes asked for is long-past, and it remains unclear when we are starting. Just overheard a member of the Ghanaian press sitting behind me that "they will hand over the chairmanship of the ACP to Ghana..." Unsure what that is about.

We live in hope--and plenty of it!

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