Mar­tinique joins the Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Eastern Caribbean States

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Mar­tinique joined the Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Eastern Caribbean States as an as­so­ciate mem­ber in a sign­ing cer­e­mony on Wed­nes­day Fe­bru­ary 4, 2015.

“I am ex­ceed­ingly pleased that Mar­tinique will now be an as­so­ciate mem­ber of the OECS. St. Lu­cia wel­comes Mar­tinique with open arms, as we have had a his­tory of close re­la­tions with Mar­tinique,” St. Lu­cia Prime Mnis­ter Kenny An­thony said in a state­ment.

The OECS will ben­e­fit from the ad­mis­sion of Mar­tinique, a French over­seas ter­ri­tory lo­cated north of St. Lu­cia, An­thony said.

“Mar­tinique is also viewed as a gate­way to Europe and so presents op­por­tu­ni­ties for in­vest­ment,” the prime min­is­ter said.

The OECS was cre­ated in 1981 to pro­mote re­gional eco­nomic devel­op­ment. An­tigua and Bar­buda, Do­minica, Gre­nada, St. Lu­cia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vin­cent and the Gre­nadines, and Montser­rat are OECS mem­bers.

Mar­tinique will join An­guilla and the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands as OECS as­so­ciate mem­bers.

The his­toric sign­ing took place dur­ing the open­ing cer­e­mony of the 60th Meet­ing of the OECS Author­ity. Direc­tor Gen­eral of the OECS, Dr. Didi­cus Jules com­mented on the sign­ing ahead of the oc­ca­sion. “We have seen the re­la­tion­ship grow be­tween Mar­tinique and Saint Lu­cia and be­tween Guade­loupe and Do­minica, for ex­am­ple. What that does now is widen this to the whole OECS. The use of Mar­tinique as a ter­tiary health fa­cil­ity cen­tre for the OECS is some­thing un­der dis­cus­sion so there are a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties. We are very con­cerned about not just en­sur­ing growth in the economies of the OECS but growth with eq­uity,” Dr. Jules said.

In Novem­ber 2013, the Re­gional As­sem­bly voted unan­i­mously in favour of the is­land to be ac­cepted into the OECS. Since then, the OECS Com­mis­sion has been treat­ing Mar­tinique as an As­so­ciate Mem­ber State and the French Re­gion has al­ready been at­tend­ing re­gional meet­ings on mat­ters such as health.

“It’s not enough to just grow the econ­omy if you are grow­ing it and only the ex­ist­ing play­ers ben­e­fit,” Dr. Jules said. “It has to be the type of growth that leads to a widen­ing of op­por­tu­nity for smaller per­sons, trickle-down ef­fect, a spread of the benefits and com­mu­nity tourism we think will do par­tic­u­larly well with the en­gage­ment of Mar­tinique and Guade­loupe. So, we are ex­pect­ing that this will yield great benefits in terms of week­end travel, bed and break­fast ar­range­ments, com­mu­nity sport­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, and so on.”

Direc­tor Gen­eral of the OECS Dr. Didi­cus Jules.

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