(SAINT LUCIA) – OECS Heads of Government opened their 54th meeting of the OECS Authority here in Saint Lucia, on Monday January 23rd, 2012 by reaffirming their commitment to deepening the integration of the sub region.
In his maiden address since assuming the Chairmanship of the OECS Authority Saint Lucia`s Prime Minister Honourable Dr Kenny Anthony called for an end to the cynicism that has restricted efforts in the past at deepening the integration of the sub-region.
Noting that it cannot be business at usual, Dr Anthony also expressed the need for OECS citizens to be at the core of the integration process to ensure its full success and sustainability. “Regional Integration like every other idea begins in the mind and will flourish as long as there is manifest commitment to its achievement. Notwithstanding the role of the political directorate such commitment cannot reside only at a political level – industry, labour, professional associations, faith based and community organisations all have leadership roles to play. This initiative pleads for all of us, every citizen who calls the OECS home to play our part to move the integration forward,. As such a physiological renaissance needs to take place which begins with the sharing of ownership with our people because integration cannot be the sole responsibility of governments”.
But the new OECS Authority Chairman says it is important that Heads of Government lead by example.
Dr Anthony also urged individual member states which have not yet brought the Revised Treaty of Basseterre into domestic law to do so expeditiously in order to ensure the full operationalisation of the OECS Economic Union.
“We must persuade our citizens to believe in us, to trust us as we embark on the journey to create an Economic Union. We must by our example collectively and individually build confidence by implementing what we have agreed, I therefore wish to encourage those OECS member states which have not yet done so to put in place the required legislation and administrative arrangements to give effect to the right of free movement in accordance with the provisions of the revised treaty and to do so as a matter of urgent priority,” Dr. Anthony explained.
Dr Anthony warned the OECS Heads of Government that it is not a time to retreat but rather a time to advance.