The OECS Leaders of Parliamentary Opposition have commended the convening of their just ended second meeting which took place on Wednesday September 16th 2015 in Saint Lucia. Hon. Reuben Meade – Opposition leader of Montserrat – who was elected Chairman of the meeting stated that the discussions were very informative and engaging. He continued that this meeting has inspired the group to continue to meet more regularly via virtual means.
The Leaders of Parliamentary Opposition in the OECS discussed an overview of the Revised Treaty of Basseterre and an update on the Economic Union including the seamless movement of Persons and free Circulation of Goods and Services.
Antigua and Barbuda’s Opposition leader Hon. Baldwin Spencer expressed that the updates received from the OECS Commission in its numerous areas of work such as Health and Youth Development have empowered and motivated the OECS Parliamentary Opposition Leaders even further to tell their constituents more about the significance of the OECS Economic Union to the region’s human resource development.
The strengthening of relationships with Martinique following its agreement for accession to Associate Membership of the OECS, the OECS Development Strategy, the Work Programme of the Councils of Ministers in areas such as Human & Social Development, Environment, Education, Trade, Agriculture, Tourism as well as climate change were also discussed. Grenada’s Prime Minister and Chairman of the OECS Authority Dr. the Rt Hon. Keith Mitchell welcomed the meeting and indicated that it “underscores the commitment of colleague Heads to a process of inclusion in governance, of every citizen of OECS Society.”
The OECS Parliamentary Opposition Leaders, who were joined by colleague Hon. Lennox Linton via video Conference Facility, got a moving update on the trauma, resilience in Dominica and global support received as that country continues to resolutely confront the devastation caused by Tropical Storm Erica. The meeting pledged further assistance for the people of the storm ravaged island. Both the Government and the Parliamentary Opposition in Dominica were complemented by the Chairman of the OECS Authority PM Mitchell and Director General of the OECS Dr. Jules in their opening remarks for their united resolve exemplified in the establishment of the National Reconstruction Advisory Council that comprises all elected members of Parliament.
Hon. Dr. Gale Rigobert, Parliamentary Opposition Leader in Saint Lucia endorsed Wednesday’s meeting of OECS Leaders of the Parliamentary Opposition as: “a step in the right direction, in recognizing the critical role of the Opposition in the Governance of our regional democracies.” Dr. Rigobert applauded the OECS Commission for its efforts at inclusive governance and for attempting to correct what she calls: “the historically disturbing trend of excluding Opposition Parties from governance – both at the national and regional levels.”
Hon. Palmavon J Webster Opposition leader in Anguilla and Hon. Nazim Burke Leader of the Opposition in Grenada also attending the meeting.
This is the first meeting of Leaders of the Parliamentary Opposition in the OECS for OECS Director General Dr. Didacus Jules. The OECS Director General describes the value of the parliamentary opposition as: “a sacred constitutional construct designed to ensure that democracy is safeguarded not simply by the assertion of the will of the majority but by the guarantee of the voices of the minority.”