St. Kitts and Nevis gets greenlight for OECS Economic Union

St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas in the National Assembly (photo by Erasmus Williams)

ST. KITTS, JUNE 15,2010 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas says the integration of Caribbean has been an important policy plank of every Labour Party Administration that has held office in the twin-island Federation.

“The creation of a single economic space in the region will give our people more room to express and manifest their immense talents and capabilities and will prepare them to venture confidently into global waters in search of opportunities. The Economic Union would also provide the framework for the people of the Caribbean to pool their efforts to fight crime and other social ills and to build stronger and more effective institutions for the continued development and for safeguarding our society. This was the vision of the founders of the Political Party that I have the honour and privilege of leading today,” Prime Minister Douglas told the National Assembly as he sought the approval of the lawmaking body for St. Kitts and Nevis to join the OECS Economic Union.

“Indeed, our National Hero, the Right Excellent Sir Robert Bradshaw played an important role in the West Indies Federation and served as Minister of Finance, and actively supported the establishment of the Caribbean Free Trade Area (CARIFTA) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). When the Federation collapsed, he did not give up on the dream of political union in the Caribbean and he was one of the leading proponents of the Grenada Declaration in 1971, which sought to bring a number Eastern Caribbean Countries into a political union with Guyana,” Prime Minister Douglas.

Prime Minister Douglas said he believes that integration is the vision of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis as a whole.

“Indeed, I am convinced that the people of the OECS have seen the benefits of collaboration through the existing OECS institutions and are now ready for the next step of the integration process. I cannot help but detect a sense of frustration among our people over the relatively slow pace of regional integration,” Dr. Douglas told parliament.

“This is vastly differently from the situation that existed when the ill-fated West Indies Federation collapsed because today, integration is not being pushed upon us by outside forces. Instead, it is being recognized by our people as a potential force for significant social and economic transformation,” said Dr. Douglas, who recommended the Resolution for the strong and unequivocal support of the National Assembly.

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