St. Kitts – Nevis PM – Denzil Douglas
Photo By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
October 26, 2009 (CUOPM)
St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas said on Monday in Castries, St. Lucia, it was imperative for there to be a deepening integration within the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) so as to fully take advantage of the changing global environment.
“We owe it to ourselves to see after our own interest and no one, no institution, no other country or group of countries will do it for us,” Douglas said at the opening of a workshop for the development of a model for the OECS Foreign Service and an OECS School of Diplomacy.
CMC reported that Dr. Douglas, the current chairman of the nine-member grouping, said that it was important that the sub-region understood the changing dynamics of the world environment, which he said differed significantly from when the grouping came into being 26 years ago.
“Our own organisation has had to face the reality of a world that has changed in very profound ways since its formation way back in 1983 and which is in the process of an incredible transformation,” he said, noting that relationships between states were being constantly redefined “and the premises upon which those relationships were based are no longer of any import.
“Those changes and their consequences have brought home many important lessons, one of which is that the future of the OECS will depend on what we the citizens of the OECS make of it,” he said.
Dr Douglas said the dramatically altered geopolitical sphere has made an “absolute necessity for further deepening of the level of integration within the OECS”.
He made reference to the efforts to establish a new OECS Treaty by June of next year, allowing for the creation of an economic union within the grouping.
“The commitment of our member states to this process is absolute,” he said, adding the OECS is also pursuing activities aimed at deepening the wider Caribbean Community (CARICOM) integration process.
“These activities are part of a wider initiative aimed at transforming the OECS into an organisation which is more outward looking in orientation and which would be more adept specifically at identifying and aggressively pursuing its strategist interest globally”.
The OECS Chairman expressed gratitude to Spain, Mexico and Brazil for establishing diplomatic relations at ambassadorial level with the Eastern Caribbean grouping and said other countries were expressing interest in functional cooperation with the sub-region.
He said the workshop represents yet another initiative to transform the OECS, noting that “the vigorous pursuit of the strategic interest of the organisation requires a cadre of persons armed with the skills that are necessary to represent the region professionally as well as to negotiate the terms of such interest.
“The unfortunate realities is that the foreign services of our individual member states have been reported to be weak in terms of numbers, skills levels and orientation,” he said, adding “this must change”.
The OECS groups the island nations of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands.