The Honourable Premier of Montserrat Reuben Meade called for the leaders of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to have a genuine love for the sub-regional grouping and what it stands for.
Premier Meade was speaking on behalf of the Non-Independent Members of the OECS at the inaugural session of the Assembly which was established on Antigua Friday, August 10 at the Antigua & Barbuda House of Parliament.
We must love the organisation of the OECS and we must love the people who we are called to serve, the premier told the gathering comprised of all the Heads of Government for the OECS, the CARICOM Secretary General, His Excellency Irwin Larocque, regional heads of organisations including the European Union representation in the Caribbean.
During the brief ceremony, St. Vincent and the Grenadines national, Hon. Rene Baptiste was elected the Assembly's first Speaker. Her nomination was made by the Hon. St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, who is also Chairman of the OECS Authority. Prime Minister Douglas seconded the nomination.
Former Speaker of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly, Walford Gumbs was elected Deputy Speaker of the Assembly. Gumbs was nominated by the Rt. Hon. St. Kitts and Nevis' Prime Minister Dr. Denzil L. Douglas. The nomination was seconded by the Hon. Leader of the Opposition in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Arnhim Eustace.
Today we in the OECS have certainly made history, said the new speaker. We have serious work to do as these are serious times. Time is of the essence and it is our time to write our own history. The nine-member Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) launched its latest political initiative as a major step forwards its efforts to fully establish an Economic Union and deepen its sub-regional integration movement.
The OECS Assembly will comprise five legislators from each independent member state and three from the Legislature of each non-independent country with representation from both the ruling administration and the political opposition.
It will meet at least twice annually and is one of five principal organs established by the Revised Treaty of Basseterre establishing the Economic Union.
Host, the Hon. Prime Minister Dr. Baldwin Spencer of Antigua and Barbuda said the decisions taken at the assembly must be built on a regional consensus. This marks another significant milestone on the road to regional integration and development. We are pioneers in this noble enterprise to alter significantly how we function. It is our duty to show what is possible to those who will come after.
Premier Meade lead a large delegation to the official opening which included the Honourable Leader of the Opposition Donaldson Romeo, Acting Governor Her Excellency Sarita Francis, and the Honourable Financial Secretary John Skerritt.
Montserrat is one of the original members of the Treaty of Basseterre and has participated fully in the OECS since its inception in 1981.