OECS Media Release
Thursday, April 25, 2019 — In the past five years a total of 3,623 workers from six OECS Member States have participated in Canada’s Seasonal Agricultural Workers Programme (SAWP). This statistic points to the significant contribution made by the SAWP to the alleviation of unemployment in the OECS, and was highlighted at the recent accreditation of Canada’s High Commissioner, Her Excellency Marie Legault to the OECS.
OECS Director General, Dr. Didacus Jules, cordially accepted High Commissioner Legault’s formal letters of accreditation in affirming the closeness and growing relationship between Canada and the region.
“High Commissioner Legault, I am pleased to confirm the decision of the OECS Authority to re-establish a Diplomatic presence in Canada” said Dr. Jules.
“It is our determination to regularize and expand the Eastern Caribbean Liaison Service (ECLS) which is our mechanism for the coordination of the SAWP which provides a valuable livelihood for OECS nationals on a rotational basis.
“To date, 37% of workers have come from St Vincent & the Grenadines; 33% from St. Lucia; 17% from Dominica; 10% from Grenada; 3% from St. Kitts & Nevis and less than 1% from Montserrat.
“We will be convening a meeting of OECS Labour Ministers to now seek to expand employment opportunities for more workers, across more Member States and across a wider range of skills in demand, so that they can share in the benefits derived from the SAWP.
“We also place on record our deep appreciation to Canada for its scholarship programs and placement of Canadian development volunteers throughout the islands.
“The OECS Commission has also benefitted through several projects, the most significant of which have been the institutional Development Project at the Commission.
“We are currently deepening our collaboration with Statistics Canada under the ‘Project for Regional Advancement of Statistics in the Caribbean (PRAC)’ – that is yielding positive results in building Member States statistical knowledge and capacity.
Dr, Jules said the Commission and the region looked forward with an optimism rooted in a history of meaningful collaboration between the OECS and Canada and thanked High Commissioner Legault for her commitment to the Caribbean.
“We now look to the future to deepen the links between Canada and the OECS across a much wider portfolio of development imperatives” concluded Dr. Jules.
The Accreditation Ceremony took place on the 22 March 2019 at the OECS Commission, Saint Lucia.