Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) celebrates 41st anniversary

Santana Salmon
Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has called on the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to continue to do more for the socio-economic development of the sub-region despite its achievements over the past 41 years.

Mitchell, who is chairman of the nine-member regional grouping, said the achievements of the OECS “illustrate the strength and resilience of our integration movement, particularly in a global environment where the uniqueness and inherent vulnerabilities of Small Island Developing States, are not considered a priority for all”.

The OECS groups the islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and the Grenadines, St. Kitts-Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla, and the British Virgin Islands.

Last weekend, the OECS, celebrated its 41st anniversary under the theme, ‘41 Years of Integration: Overcoming Challenges to Build Resilience and Sustainability”.

Among the activities marking the occasion, was a thanksgiving service, the OECS Colors Day, and an official flag raising ceremony.

In his address, Prime Minister Mitchell challenged the regional grouping to overcome all future and unforeseen challenges, by remaining competitive, responsive, and relevant. According to him, ‘As we go into the future, our commitment to economic harmonization and integration, protection of human and legal rights and the encouragement of good governance among our independent and non-independent countries remains embodied within our compass. With our Revised Treaty of Basseterre, we must continue to increase the runs on the scorecard and remain responsive, competitive, and relevant”

The revised treaty was signed on June 18, 2010, in St. Lucia. It established a single financial and economic space where goods, people and capital move freely. It also allows the harmonization of monetary and governmental policies relating to taxes and revenue.

“The countries of this economic union continue to adopt a common approach to trade, health, education and the environment, as well as the development of critical sectors such as agriculture, tourism and energy,” the OECS Commission said.

Mitchell said the OECS “must also continue to embrace gender equity, inclusion, empowerment of youth, digital innovation and entrepreneurship as cross-cutting and essential features of our integration movement,” he added.

The St. Lucia-based OECS Commission said a week of staff appreciation activities ending on July 1, will signal the end of celebrations for the 41st anniversary.


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