The Director General of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Dr. Didacus Jules, attended the XXII Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) on Friday 7 January 2022 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Among the main items on the agenda were the presentation of the achievements of the outgoing pro tempore Presidency held by Mexico during the period 2020-2021, and the transfer of the Presidency to Argentina.
In his address to the meeting, Dr Jules began by expressing his gratitude for the assistance provided to the OECS region by members of the CELAC body in the region’s fight against the COVID-pandemic. 19.
“We also have a duty to express our deepest gratitude to our brother states in the hemisphere who have shown their solidarity with us in this difficult time and in particular to the governments of Cuba, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil. for their unwavering support and material with pandemic supplies to the OECS. Our solidarity with CELAC member states with respect for their national sovereignty remains unshakeable and non-negotiable.
Dr. Jules underlined the need, at the political level, to agree on a rationalization and a more effective coordination of the regional infrastructure to allow CELAC to be more focused and effective.
“Despite the range of integration projects, for us in the OECS, CELAC is the best hemispheric vehicle to establish this convergence. From the perspective of small Caribbean states, a streamlined infrastructure with a clear definition of strategic intent and exploitation of comparative advantage will allow regional integration processes to operate in a transparent manner.
The OECS, as a dynamic regional integration project among the smaller Caribbean States, appreciates the efforts made by CELAC to give the Caribbean a more structured voice within the CELAC family and the agreements reached in areas such as that our presence in the Quartet and the participation of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the disaster response mechanism. Our aim must be to provide concrete and material benefits to the public highway – the citizens of our hemisphere must see, feel and experience the value of this integration.
The Director General of the OECS expressed the full support and commitment of the OECS to the 15-point program proposed by Argentina, and among these proposals he highlighted those that are of the greatest urgency for the OECS . These included:
- Inclusive post-COVID economic reconstruction
- The health strategy
- Comprehensive disaster risk management
- Education transformation
- Environmental action and climate change
- Food safety
- Improved regional connectivity
- Digital transformation
The foreign ministers of Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines were also present at the meeting.