Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar. (IWN file photo)

Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar has congratulated the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States on its 35th anniversary and has called on the nine-member grouping “to remain united, organised and functional”.

He made the call in Parliament last Thursday as United Kingdom nationals were voting in a referendum in which they decided to exit the European Union.

“The OECS would be 40 years old in 2021.The future shape of the OECS is dependent on the political will of its leaders and the voice of the people in the sub-region. Yes, we have made significant advances as a sub-regional organisation within the cultural, social, economic, political and jurisprudential spheres, but there is a need for us to take a closer look at strengthening the economic union,” Caesar said.

He told lawmakers that technical experts in the public service and investors in the private sector must use the Revised Treaty of Basseterre, which established the OECS Economic Union, as a practitioner’s handbook.

The way forward must be marked by enhanced efforts geared at the creation of synergies to address our common challenges, Caesar said.

“Any quest to deepen our integration must be grounded in the firm belief that economic growth relies on a consolidation of the factors of production in member states. This must become a burning desire in the minds and hearts of every citizen. There are still too many barriers which seek to subdivide us, that we allow to grow into seemingly unmovable obstacles,” Caesar pointed out.

He added: “The role of the Economic Affairs Council as a sub-regional synthesiser, geared at discovering possibilities and exploring opportunities for economic growth collectively must never be understated.”

The OECS Secretariat, in collaboration with the FAO and Ministries of Agriculture in member states, is currently attempting to facilitate an organised system of maritime transportation. This system will accommodate the movement of agricultural produce through the sub-region and has already received commendation.

Additionally, Caesar suggested that over the next decade citizens of the sub-region heighten discussion on issues concerning the medicinal use of marijuana, increasing intra-regional trade, climate change, youth engagement, agriculture and tourism diversification, hemispheric geopolitical alignment, and hopefully the stabilisation of our cricket.

“As our policymakers and citizens strengthen the chords of integration, we must avoid insularity and move towards a system of genuine sustainable collectivism,” Caesar said.

4 replies on “Agriculture Minister calls for greater collaboration as OECS turns 35”

  1. We should learn from the failure of the EU. Often these unions make life much worse for the people, Private Sector and, in the long term, the government, than the good they are doing. Free Trade was the main goal of the EU and instead it made it worse. Now Britain has mostly recovered in just a few days after the Referendum and if they can get it all behind them they will be doing much better than the EU in just a few years. They will not have all the trade restrictions imposed by the EU and they will be able to trade with whoever they like…including the EU!

    1. Of course, not only the terrible financial policy of the OECS but the even worse financial policy and poor management of the economic and financial policy of SVG make sure we will always be a poor country and region, in spite of the great potential we have. If you follow trends, SVG is getting impoverished at a feaster rate than all the other countries. I believe we are now ranked in last place below Dominica.

  2. Brown Boy USA says:

    Why wait for the next decade, why not start now? And how about you, Mr. Caesar, make the start by enacting national policies to develop agriculture and these other areas? After all charity begins at home! But nothing seems be going on in SVG towards the development of agriculture and any of these area you talked about. The only thing that seems to get attention is the international airport, which seems to be going nowhere in a hurry. Stop talking about it and start doing it locally. Regional development begins with each individual country playing their role in local development, which then translates to regional development. You cannot have regional development if you neglect to act at the local and nation levels. The local people are the ones who determines your local, national and regional development with the aid of politicians like yourself, not the other way around. The people must come first!

    1. Well said. I, however try not to be too hard on Caesar because everything the government does requires funding and if he is not getting any…. Our government unfortunately has its priorities backwards. I do not know how the government got congratulations in the “zero hunger” program. I guess it is because what they did on paper but not what they did inn reality. There is no need for anyone in SVG to be hungry and few do go hungry, it has nothing to do with the government.

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