KINGSTOWN, St Vincent -- The minister of agriculture of St Vincent and the Grenadines made a call in Parliament while congratulating the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) on reaching its 35th anniversary, “To remain united, organized and functional”. This came mere hours before the United Kingdom made a quantum leap to exit the European Union.
Minister of Agriculture Sabato Caesar
“The OECS would be 40 years old in 2021.The future shape of the OECS is dependent on the political will of its leaders and the voice of the people in the sub-region. Yes, we have made significant advances as a sub-regional organisation within the cultural, social, economic, political and jurisprudential spheres, but there is a need for us to take a closer look at strengthening the economic union,” noted Minister Sabato Caesar.
According to Caesar, the Revised Treaty of Basseterre establishing the OECS economic union must be used as a practitioner’s handbook by technical experts in the public service and investors in the private sector. The way forward must be marked by enhanced efforts, geared at the creation of synergies to address our common challenges.
“Any quest to deepen our integration must be grounded in the firm belief that economic growth relies on a consolidation of the factors of production in member states. This must become a burning desire in the minds and hearts of every citizen. There are still too many barriers which seek to subdivide us, that we allow to grow into seemingly unmovable obstacles,” the Vincentian agriculture minister pointed out.
He added, “The role of the Economic Affairs Council as a sub-regional synthesizer, geared at discovering possibilities and exploring opportunities for economic growth collectively must never be understated.”
The OECS Secretariat in collaboration with the FAO and ministries of agriculture in member states are currently attempting to facilitate an organized system of maritime transportation. This system will accommodate the movement of agricultural produce through the sub-region and has already received commendation.
Additionally, Caesar suggested that citizens of the sub-region over the next decade may heighten discussion on issues concerning the medicinal use of marijuana, increasing intra-regional trade, climate change, youth engagement, agriculture and tourism diversification, hemispheric geopolitical alignment, and hopefully the stabilization of cricket.
"As our policy makers and citizens strengthen the chords of integration, we must avoid insularity and move towards a system of genuine sustainable collectivism,” Caesar concluded.