By Robertson S. Henry
KINGSTOWN, St Vincent — “I want to congratulate the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines; this is a real demonstration of the commitment of the government of with respect to the deepening of the functional cooperation and integration of the OECS Economic Union.”
So stated David Popo, head of the Social Development Unit of the OECS when he delivered opening remarks at the USAID/OECS-sponsored juvenile justice risk assessment working session 2013, held in St Vincent and the Grenadines on Tuesday and Wednesday.
What the participants at the two-day workshop were attempting to achieve is within the objectives of the recently established Economic Union of the OECS.
The Treaty of Basseterre was established in 1981, but the Revised Treaty took the sub-region a step further in the deepening of the integration process. This is most important in the widening of the economic space for the citizens of the OECS countries.
Whereas the Economic Union as defined seems to give the impression that it is all about economics and economic growth and development, Popo said that “enshrined within the Protocols of the Economic Union are very important protocols relating to human and social development.”
He further pointed out, “In fact, article 23 of the Revised Treaty speaks specifically to ensuring that the social sectors within the OECS Economic Union can underpin, can give rise to growth and development within the OECS Union.
“In fact, it is recognized that if you haven’t got citizens within the OECS Economic Union who are healthy, who are well-educated, who are culturally assimilated, then this can serve to undermine the economic gains and growth within the OECS Economic Union,” he explained.