Martinique joins the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
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.