OECS leaders tackled administrative and budgetary issues at 55th meeting

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister the Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JUNE 18TH 2012 (CUOPM) – The recently concluded 55th Meeting of the OECS Authority held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines from 11th to 12th focussed for the most part, on the status of implementation of the OECS Economic Union as well as related administrative and budgetary issues.

On the issue of international relations the Authority discussed, among other things, the application by Guadeloupe and Martinique for associate membership of the OECS and agreed to a Declaration of Intent which expresses the continued interest of the Authority in pursuing the matter of closer cooperation between OECS Member States and Martinique and Guadeloupe.

The meeting, which was presided over by the Hon Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, who assumed the chairmanship of the Authority from the former Chairman, Prime Minister of St. Lucia, Dr. The Hon. Kenny D. Anthony, was of the view that this meeting which was one of the two sessions held annually, had been quite productive.

It resulted in decisions on issues that would advance the integration of the Member States as they seek to strengthen their sphere of collaboration, coordination and information sharing which are critical to achieving a more sustainable Economic Union.

Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas (left) and Secretary General of the OECS, Her Excellency Dr. Len Ishmael (Photo by Erasmus Williams)

On the issue of the Pharmaceutical Procurement Services (PPS) the Heads committed to liquidate their current debt to the PPS so as to sustain the financing of medical products.

Meanwhile the OECS Secretariat agreed to provide technical assistance in assessing the overarching issues such as developing a policy framework for managing the use of medical supplies to avoid pilferage and the misuse of prescribed drugs and the adoption of an electronic management information system for inventory control.

The Authority agreed on the operationalisation of an Economic Affairs Council as anew organ of the OECS Revised Treaty and decided the OECS Commission should give further attention to the issue and provide recommendations by its November 2012 Meeting.

The Meeting also approved activities leading to the commencement of the regime for the free circulation of goods by the scheduled date of July 1st2013.

The Heads agreed that the 56th Meeting of the Authority would be convened on November 22-23, 2012 under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves.

At a Press Conference at the end of the two-day meeting, Prime Minister Gonsalves was joined by Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas and OECS Secretary General, Dr. Len Ishmael.

The Rt. Honourable Dr. Denzil L Douglas, Prime Minister of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis led the delegation to the 55th OECS Meeting of the Authority, which comprised OECS Commissioner for St. Kitts and Nevis, Her Excellency Astona Browne and Mr. Justin Hawley, Foreign Service Officer.

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