Eastern Caribbean States Meet, Discuss Relations With Martinique.

Photo: OECS. The OECS members discussed trade deals with Martinique.
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The 74th Meeting of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Authority was convened in St. Kitts and Nevis from February 14 – 15, 2024, under the Chairmanship of Dr. Terrance Drew, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis.

OECS Heads of Governments met in Caucus for the greater part of the morning on Wednesday February 14, 2024, to discuss several crucial matters facing the region.

Hon. Serge Letchimy, President of the Executive Council of the Territorial Authority of Martinique made a pronouncement regarding Martinique’s association with the OECS.

He expressed a desire to seek a deeper and more active level of collaboration between Martinique and the OECS. Hon. Letchimy pointed to the immense opportunities for building cooperation between the OECS Member States in a range of areas that included trade, education, health, agriculture, among others.

He noted that the demographics of the French associate Member States was large enough to constitute a lucrative trade market for the OECS as well as a gateway to France and Europe.

Martinique is governed directly as a Department of France, but is seeking the right to exercise a greater degree of independence when it comes to local trade deals in the Caribbean.

Following the statements made by Martinique and discussions amongst the Heads of Government, a Declaration was issued by the Chairman of the OECS Authority the Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew.

“Martinique reiterates its commitment to the OECS regional integration effort to collectively address the major challenges confronting us of sustainable, long-term development, in a context of increasing globalization. Martinique shares the same history and geography as the sister countries of the OECS, with their diverse cultural processes and multiple institutional frameworks. 

The effectiveness of Martinique’s engagement within the OECS requires an evolution of its capacities for action in terms of trade, connectivity, resilience to climate change, and energy policy. This evolution is consistent with the European Union’s policy on strengthening of autonomous normative power.

Today, Martinique is negotiating with the French Republic for autonomous adaptation and legislation, within the framework of differentiation policies, which could open the way for regional diplomacy that is useful and necessary to its future, while remaining part of the French Republic and the European Union. Martinique wishes to be an effective player for its population and the OECS, through its dual membership of the OECS and the European Union. 

The OECS welcomes this clear commitment by Martinique, as expressed by President Letchimy, and fully supports the establishment of autonomous normative power, giving it the possibility of adapting and enacting legislative and regulatory frameworks in negotiated areas of competence. This move towards autonomy and integration is vital for the future of Martinique and the region.”

The plenary session commenced with an invocation by the OECS Commissioner for St. Kitts and Nevis, H.E. Larry Vaughan. In the main the meeting focused on, inter alia:

a) Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) Report: Update on regaining category one status

b) Centers of Excellence in Health

c) Regional Integration Matters

d) The OECS Food and Agriculture Systems Transformation (FAST) Strategy

e) The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (CARICOM – Saudi Arabia Summit)

f) The Revised Eastern Caribbean Regional Oceans Policy (ECROP)

g) OECS Commission Operational Matters

 

a) ECCAA Report – Update on Regaining Category one status

The Director General of the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority, Mr. Anthony Whittier, provided an update on efforts being made towards resuming category one status, including a report of the ICAO Coordinated Validation Mission. A timeline with specific milestones towards an FAA assessment for the attainment of category one status was a key highlight of the presentation.

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