Walford Gumbs elected Deputy Speaker at inauguration of OECS Assembly

OECS Assembly Speaker Hon. Rene Baptiste (background) with Rev. Canon Bernard Hodge (left), Clerk of the OECS Assembly. Mr. Kurt Thomas (center) and Hon. Walford Gumbs (right). Photo by Erasmus Williams

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, AUGUST 10TH 2012 – Former Speaker of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly, His Excellency Walford Gumbs was Friday unanimously elected as the Deputy Speaker of the OECS Assembly at its inaugural session in Antigua.

Mr. Gumbs was nominated by St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas. The nomination was seconded by the Leader of the Opposition in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Hon. Arnhim Eustace.

Earlier, St. Vincent and the Grenadines national, Hon. Rene Baptiste was elected the Assembly’s first Speaker. Her nomination was made by St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves, who is also Chairman of the OECS Authority. Prime Minister Douglas seconded the nomination.

“Today we in the OECS have certainly made history. Our Assembly has duly opened, “said St. Vincent and the Grenadines legislator, Rene Baptiste, after she took the chair escorted by the Sergeant at Arms.

“We have serious work to do. This is our occasion to write our history with our own hands and in our own words,” she added.

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 Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Baldwin Spencer of Antigua and Barbuda said the Assembly would serve as a consultative body in the central issue of regional integration.

He said that the OECS Assembly brings together all the member states “bound together to secure the regional good in a way that we could not have been achieved individually.”

Dr. Spencer said decisions taken at the assembly “must be built on a regional consensus that informs regional political decision-making.

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