BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JANUARY 10TH 2007 (CUOPM)
St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas is leading a six-person delegation to the 44th Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) in Antigua and Barbuda.
Other members of the St. Kitts and Nevis delegation are Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris; Premier of Nevis, Hon. Joseph Parry; Cabinet Secretary in the Federal Government, Mr. Joseph Edmeade; Cabinet Secretary in the Nevis Island Administration, Mr. Ashley Farrell and Foreign Affairs Officer with responsibility for CARICOM Affairs, Ms. Nerys Chiverton.
The meeting will be Premier Parry’s first OECS Heads meeting since his Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) assumed office following the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) elections last July.
According to the St. Lucia-based Secretariat, the OECS Heads are expected to further advance the process towards an OECS Economic Union by reaching agreement on a public awareness and consultation campaign, with the Heads at the forefront.The campaign will be built around a new OECS Economic Treaty, unveiled at the 43rd Meeting of the OECS Authority in June last year in St. Kitts and Nevis. The Heads, at that meeting, signed a Declaration of Intent to have the Treaty passed in their respective countries following the consultation process.
The meeting will also give Heads an opportunity to discuss the proposed merger between regional airlines LIAT and Caribbean Star. The Heads will also discuss the opportunities for tourism and investment promotions created by the recent opening of the OECS Office in Puerto Rico.
Heads will review the wide ranging recommendations that emerged from the first OECS Conference on Youth, Crime and Violence held late last year and will also examine the possibility of applying the methods used in the highly acclaimed OECS Pharmaceutical Procurement Services (PPS), to the bulk purchasing of text books for OECS Member States. The joint purchasing of pharmaceuticals has resulted in significant savings and lower costs to OECS public health institutions.
The Meeting will receive recommendations from recent meetings of OECS Ministers of Tourism and Agriculture for advancing these two critical sectors of the economy. Discussions will also focus on the geo-political realities for the OECS and OECS strategic responses, the status of Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations between the European Union and CARIFORUM, the WTO OECS Trade Policy Review, the outcome of the third meeting of the CARICOM/US Trade and Investment Council, and the implications for the OECS of CARICOM Bi-laterals with countries within the Western Hemisphere.
The OECS Member States are Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands.