By Robert A. Emmanuel
Prime Minister Gaston Browne has called on member states of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to convene the OECS Assembly more frequently, to further coalesce around a regional strategy to major issues.
During the 4th OECS Assembly, held yesterday at the Parliament Building, Browne told regional leaders that greater participation will be necessary to overcome the challenges to the sub-region.
“Antigua and Barbuda will be encouraging greater participation by all members for us to rethink our strategies within the OECS, for us not to be mere custodians of our national assets,” he said.
He explained that, by meeting more often as a regional body, more creative and innovative ideas can be shared between member states to issues such as transportation, de-risking and climate change.
Prime Minister Browne added that he understood that government officials have a glut of issues to address, but he noted that a priority must be given to regional co-operation within the OECS.
“We understand that the members have a plethora of issues to address and issues impacting on their time, especially heads [of government], but there is a need for us to prioritise the work of the OECS,” he stated.
Browne appealed to leaders to fully support institutions within the OECS and not to “cherry-pick those that we like or those that we wish to support.”
“Even within the community, we need to take the necessary steps to increase trade and investments within the OECS sub-region and that is why this Assembly is so important,” he noted.
Meanwhile, the nation’s leader congratulated St. Vincent and the Grenadines on its successful bid to be seated on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), becoming the smallest island-state to be a non-permanent member of the UNSC, stating that “our size should not deter our aspirations for greatness”.
According to the Ministerial Representative for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Camillo Gonsalves, St. Vincent and the Grenadines had engaged in a decades-long campaign to redefine what it meant to give substantial contributions to the United Nations.