St. Kitts and Nevis PM optimistic on OECS Assembly

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, AUGUST 16TH 2012 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas has expressed optimism on the OECS Assembly, which was inaugurated in Antigua on Friday 10th August 2012.

“I am therefore optimistic that this inaugural session would set the stage for productive discourse and deliberations that will not only inform the modus operandi of this Parliamentary body on the consideration of issues on the legislative agenda of the Union but will be of much inspiration to the people whose interests we are elected to serve,” said the St. Kitts and Nevis leader in a message in the 28-page commemorative booklet printed for the occasion.

Front – St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas; Leader of the Opposition in St. Kitts and Nevis, Hon. Mark Brantley; Prime Minister of St. Lucia, Hon. Dr. Kenny Anthony; Leader of the Opposition in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Hon. Arnhem Eustace and Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves

Back Row; Sergeant at Arms; Hon. Eugene Hamilton; Hon. Marcella Liburd; Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris

In welcoming the inauguration, Dr. Douglas said the convening should be regarded as a critical advancement in the integration process and congratulated the Government of Antigua and Barbuda for its decision and commitment to host the OECS Assembly.

“It is with a proud sense of accomplishment that we recognize the culmination of much focused preparations which have facilitated the realization of another major Organ of the Organization to fulfill the purpose as provided for in the Revised Treaty of Basseterre,” said the St. Kitts and Nevis leader.

Prime Minister Douglas said the Member States of the OECS have registered the political will and have taken the bold step towards the establishment of an Economic Union which is designed to benefit the Protocol Member States through improved opportunities for economic growth and development, social stability of the region and the well being of our people as a whole.

“The significance of this Assembly, made possible by the coming into force of the Revised Treaty of Basseterre on January 21, 2011, sets the stage for the quantum leap that we are endeavouring to make,” he said.

Dr. Douglas sees the Assembly “as the institutionalization of a platform for improved democratic practices and transparency, thus strengthening the mechanism of inclusion, which augurs well for effective decision-making and governance.”

“In recognition of the various contributions of the organizers at both national and regional levels, I reiterate compliments to all who have devoted their resources to the successful outcome of this historic event which will move us to a higher level of cooperation as a region and as a people working together for a common good,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

Messages are also printed in the booklet from the Host Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, the Hon. Dr. Baldwin Spencer; the Prime Minister of Dominica, the Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit; the Prime Minister of Grenada, the Hon. Tillman Thomas; the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and current Chairman of the OECS; the Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves; the Prime Minister of St. Lucia, the Hon. Dr. Kenny Anthony; the Premier of Montserrat, the Hon. Rueben Meade; the Premier of the British Virgin Islands, the Hon. Dr. D. Orlando Smith and the Chief Minister of Anguilla, the Hon. Hubert Hughes.

Director General of the OECS, Her Excellency Dr. Len Ishmael; Eastern Caribbean Central Bank Governor, the Hon. Sir K. Dwight Venner; CARICOM Secretary His Excellency Ambassador Irwin La Rocque; former Director General of the OECS from1982 to 1995, Dr. Vaughan Lewis and European Union Ambassador, His Excellency Valeriano Diaz also have messages in the booklet.

Article 10 which gives effect to the OECS Assembly under the Revised Treaty of Basseterre is also printed as well as some Frequently-Asked questions.

Parliamentarians from St. Kitts and Nevis who are members of the OECS Assembly are Hon. Marcella Liburd (St. Christopher 2 – Labour); Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris (St. Christopher 7 -Labour); the Hon. Eugene Hamilton (St. Christopher 8 – PAM) and the Hon. Mark Brantley (Nevis 9 – CCM).

Local officials in Antigua for the ceremony were Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Hon. Patrice Nisbett (Nevis 9 – NRP); Speaker of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly, Hon. Curtis Martin; President of the Nevis Island Assembly, Hon. Christine Springette; OECS Commissioner and Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister, Her Excellency Mrs. Astona Browne; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Elvis Newton; former Speaker, Ambassador His Excellency Mr. Walford Gumbs; Honorary Consul for St. Kitts and Nevis in Antigua, Mr. Wilbur Harrigan; Press Secretary to the Prime Minister, Mr. Erasmus Williams; Clerk of the Nevis Island Assembly, Mr. Dwight Morton; and Mr. Charles Jong of the Communications Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister (CUOPM).

The Ceremony began at 4:15 p.m. with the arrival on the Parade Square of the Chairman of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, the Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves and Host Prime Minister, the Hon. Dr. Baldwin Spencer.

Following the breaking of the OECS with a fanfare, Prime Ministers Gonsalves and Spencer inspected a Guard of honour comprising members of the Royal Antigua and Barbuda Police Force.

Escorted by the Clerk of the OECS Assembly, Mr. Kurt Thomas, the Invocation will be said by Rev. Canon Bernard Hodge.

The Rules of Procedures of the OECS Assembly were adopted and this was followed by the election of a Speaker and Deputy Speaker.

Statements were made by Host Prime Minister Spencer; OECS Chairman and Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the grenadines the Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves; Hon. Reuben Meade, Premier of Montserrat on behalf of Non-Independent Members and the Hon. Mark Brantley on behalf of Leaders of the Opposition.

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