OECS Urged to build on past successes

Antigua Observer:- As the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) celebrates its 35th anniversary, today, Director General Dr Didacus Jules said while, as a small island grouping, there has been some successes, efforts should be made to build on this, but in a shorter space of time.

“Let us commit to achieving more in less time. Let us emphasise the things that unite us rather than punctuate the differences that divide us. To survive, we must learn to cooperate as intensely as we have competed and we must make the most of whatever we have that is deemed of value in today’s world. We must find our niche,” Dr Jules said in his address.

He said that customs, immigration, security, port and other officials from all the member states have been working together to design new systems for the free circulation of goods and services within the single space.

The ultimate objective is to move goods and services freely throughout OECS countries.

Dr Jules noted that history has proven that, as a unified front, the OECS countries will continue to succeed but it requires the continued support of all.

“A house divided into itself cannot stand, we continue to maintain the illusion that each of us can stand alone, and succeed,” the director general said.

“This involves the free movement of people, goods, services and capital across the member states (and) the harmonisation of policies in trade, monetary policy, social welfare, health and a range of areas. In other words, it is about the bringing together of our collective strengths to overcome our individual weaknesses.”

He added that the proposed Growth & Development Strategy for the OECS, now in its final stage, will provide a common framework for economic growth and national development.

This strategy seeks to address several key problems and identify many vital opportunities that can open new globally competitive possibilities for the region, including revitalising the agriculture sector.

Among the achievements of the OECS that Dr Jules pointed to are the formation of the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ECTEL) 15 years ago; the signing of the Revised Treaty of Basseterre five years ago; and that February 2017 will mark 50 years since the formation of the OECS Supreme Court.