THE Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) celebrated its 35th anniversary last Saturday.
To mark the occasion Dr. Didicus Jules, Director General of the OECS, addressed member states and called for the unification of the string of Eastern Caribbean islands from north to south.
“On June 18, 1981, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States was formed with the signing of the Treaty of Basseterre by leaders of the Eastern Caribbean who represented a wide political spectrum,” Dr. Jules began.
“Among the persons signing were Maurice Bishop of Grenada, and Eugenia Charles of Dominica who, despite the wide ideological divide between them, were visionary enough to embrace the things that could unite us.
“Today we celebrate 35 years of that historic initiative. In the wake of this anniversary, we are also celebrating 15 years since the formation of ECTEL the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, and five years since the signing of the Revised Treaty of Basseterre. In February 2017, we will be celebrating 50 years since the formation of the OECS Supreme Court.”
Dr. Jules also stressed the need for regional unity in an ever-changing global community.
He said: “Our best opportunity to survive and thrive in today’s world is to make a reality of the single space – to unify the chain of islands from the Virgin Islands in the north, to Grenada in the south inclusive of the French and the Dutch-speaking islands in between. Already, the entry of Martinique has opened many new windows of wider cooperation in health, education, community tourism and trade. The democratic process is alive and well in the OECS and we have seen a free exercise of the sovereign will of the people. The outcome of this has been to bring new faces and fresh perspectives to the governance bodies of the OECS. We draw on the historical inspiration of 1981 when OECS leaders shaped singular purpose despite wide and deep differences, and we pray that the simple aspiration of Caribbean people to move, work, play and create sustainable livelihoods freely across these islands will be realized.”
The OECS comprises Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, and Martinique are associate members of the OECS.
until our leaders put away petty turf wars and their insatiable appetite for power and control nothing will happen and we citizens must demand by asking for referendums and discussion of these issues before and related actions after elections. Its a shame that after 50 plus years we cant have more than a few symbols of our ability to unite when we should be the Caribbean union in an effectively functioning economic sense. The opening of Cuban shores to international tourism will be another economic challenge we must face soon with most American tourists and investors flocking the waiting list to get into that Island, something I think we are ill prepared for. I hope our leaders get some vision to act quickly to implement fully all existing accords and find new ones which will make us a true union and voice for its peoples throughout the Caribbean.I fully supports Mr Jules call for us to truly be one and let our goals and ambitions be realized as we contribute globally