New OECS Chairman Identifies Integration as Priority for Sub-Region

New OECS Chairman Identifies Integration as Priority for Sub-Region

GRENADA,  June 22, 2021 -  The new  chairman of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States,  Grenada’s Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell, identified five priority areas to take the OECS forward.

Delivering remarks at the opening ceremony of the 70th meeting of the OECS Authority, Dr. Mitchell listed the acceleration of regional integration to create a better quality of life for the people of the OECS, as the first priority.

Elaborating on this idea, Dr. Mitchell said, “We must pick up the pace of this relay and as we round this dangerous curve, we must recognise that our integration marathon is not simply about endurance, but also speed.”

The other priority areas he identified are reinventing the economy, valuing our environment, building resilience and enabling equity and inclusion, all of which he described as a matrix foundation which must be constructed as essential to the regional integration project.

According to the new OECS Chairman, there are cross-cutting themes that will enrich the quality of this effort, including entrepreneurship, gender equity, digital innovation and the empowerment of youth.

Though he acknowledged the many challenges facing the sub-region, particularly the widespread impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Grenadian leader said, “In every situation of crisis there are seeds of opportunity which, if properly reaped, can yield transformational harvest. This is such a time. The concurrent crises that have affected us, have impacted the entire planet. They have also exposed many weaknesses of the
global development model that require transformation and we have the opportunity as small island developing states, to build to scale, a greener, bluer, more inclusive, more resilient and more sustainable OECS. On this 40th Anniversary there is no better time for this recommitment.”

Dr. Mitchell replaces Dominica’s Prime Minister, Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit who held the portfolio of OECS Chairman for the past year. He shared profound gratitude for the diligent and selfless leadership of his colleague.

He said, “As one of the longer-serving leaders in the sub-region, brother Skerrit used his vast experience to manoeuver through the many challenges of the past year. His period of service coincided with the perfect storm of all proportions, but he ably handled his domestic affairs while at the same time, affording us the benefit of his astute leadership at the regional level.”

Despite the challenges, Dr. Mitchell said the OECS must be proud of the any strides made and he quoted the words of Buju Banton, ‘buried alive…but still breathing’.

The Prime Minister also recognised the important role of the OECS Commission in forging ahead with the initiatives of the organisation.

“I must say I am quite happy with the work of the commission and the initiatives it has undertaken in several areas including education, health care and resource mobilisation. I must commend the diligence of their
approach in serving the people of the OECS,” he told the virtual audience.

The Director General of the OECS also came in for high commendation from the Grenadian Prime Minister. “I must recognise too, the visionary and proactive leadership of the Director General, Dr. Didacus Jules. He is clearly a champion of the region, demonstrated in his ongoing willingness to provide timely advice, his commitment to innovative ideas and his responsiveness to any requests.”

As he prepares to forge ahead, Dr. Mitchell said, “Vision in times such as now, is a combination of discernment, a conviction about the most appropriate direction and the courage of leadership.”

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