The 59th meeting of the OECS Authority was held in Kingstown on Saturday. (IWN photo)

The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) must mobilise large sums of money if it is to address the challenges confronting its nine member countries.

“And that is where we call on our development partners to appreciate the challenges with which we are confronted,” OECS chairman, Prime Minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit told the opening ceremony of the 59th meeting of the OECS Authority in Kingstown on Saturday.

“The challenge which we have, with the issue of debt, the issues of our banking system, our financial system, strengthening those institutions, we are going to need an injection of serious hard financial resources to address these challenges,” he said.

Skerrit said OECS leaders came to that conclusion during a meeting of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank Monetary Council on Friday.

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“… as time goes by, with the global [financial] crisis not abating, it is placing greater stress on our resources,” he said, adding that none of the OECS countries have the fiscal space in which to manoeuvre.

“… what we are doing as governments, whether it is in St. Vincent, or St. Lucia or Grenada, or Antigua, one can almost describe as marginal,” Skerrit said.

“Because of the enormity of the challenge, unavailability of resources; it is amazing that these countries continue to provide almost adequately to our citizens,” said Skerrit, who is also Minister of Finance in Roseau.

“Our citizens must appreciate those things, because when demands are made on our governments, our governments must also find resources, and I know nobody in the OECS wants to pay any form of taxation; and, therefore, we have to be measured with our request of our citizens.”

Skerrit noted the international airport under construction in St. Vincent.

“Prime Minister here in St. Vincent is building an international airport using extraordinary means and strategies — an international airport during the most difficult financial crisis in our lifetime. And I think these are the sort of things that we need to appreciate as citizens of our countries,” he said.

4 replies on “OECS needs large injection of cash — chairman”

  1. Everytime these guys talk they always want more money, am I the only one that see a problem with that. The region has been run to the ground by these guys. they can’t even bring in better bandwidth for internet communication and to advance IT for the whole region, something as simple as that. What do they talk about? just wasting time,money and smiling for pictures, well guess what guys, time’s up and we need to get with the program before the developing country are fully developed.

    These guys are a bunch of jokers. we have no more time for big talk with no substance e want real development.

  2. Peter Binose says:

    The whole matter of debt has been created by the ragamufins shown in the photo. Its hard to believe that some of these are leaders of countries dressed in such aparal. We know they are all getting fatter by the minute that they find it difficult to find anything in the wardrobe that fits them.

    They all buy their trousers to long, I suppose that is the only way to get anything to fit the waist lines, at least get them altered.

    Kenny Anthony and Ralph Gonsalves look like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. What a disgrace.

  3. Watching Hard says:

    It’s typical of our OECS leaders to believe that money is the solution to our problems. Money can help, yes, but it would only help if our islands were to have proper priorities in place. I believe what is most critical to our development is good governance. With good governance I believe we may not have felt the bite of the world wide recession as deeply as we have. While our leaders puff their chests up about how progressive they think they are, I think they would only be taken seriously by our peoples and by serious ethical investors and development partners if certain things were implemented. This is what we need:

    1. Freedom of information legislation to facilitate transparency and accountability in government;

    2. Anti corruption legislation and enforcement mechanisms. That toothless stuff in the various criminal statutes just won’t cut it;

    3. Establishment of good governance indicators by which our governments’ performance can be measured and an OECS peer review mechanism along the lines of the African peer review mechanism so that each government can be reviewed and assessed by the collective OECS governments as a way of keeping each administration honest;

    4. Well articulated and rational socio-economic development benchmarks must be set and met after consultation with civil society and after vigorous national and sub-regional discussion;

    5. Professionalisation of the various civil services and rationalisation of their operations;

    6. The institution of a body similar to the Mo Ibrahim Foundation in Africa to promote development and the establishment of a big fat prize for good governance. Such a prize may serve as a discouragement from corrupt activity if government actors know that at the end of their terms of office they could conceivably be rewarded for their good governance;

    7.Empowering women. Its 2014 and I still feel like our women have not yet found their voice;

    8. Affording legal aid to all persons who cannot afford lawyers and not just for criminal matters. As it stands now our justice system is only accessible in theory;

    9. Giving a voice to minority and other vulnerable groups so that everyone could feel invested in the advancement of our country and sub region.

    These I feel should be our real priorities. If we put these in place the cash will flow. As long as these things have not been implemented then no OECS government can truly be taken seriously.

  4. C. ben-David says:

    Caribbean politics is a reflection of the will of the people. We get the politicians we deserve.

    As for the dire economc straits all OECS countries are in, they reflect the desire of people for more and more services and more and more statism, on the one hand, and the need for governments to appear to be doing something, anything, to improve their country’s economic situation even if the results of their efforts just make things worse, on the other.

    Remember what Ronald Reagan famously said: “Government is not a solution to our problem. Government is the problem.”

    Few citizens in the OECS want to hear this; so no OECS politician will ever say this.

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