On the occasion of the 31st anniversary of the OECS, Director General, Dr. Ishmael, invited the sub-region to celebrate the vision and foresight of the seven courageous leaders who, in 1981, charted the course that we follow today.Wednesday June 20th 2012 – Her Excellency Dr. Len Ishmael, in her reflection on the achievements of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) over the last thirty one years, highlights the immense power of a simple principle – “strength through unity.”
These leaders established a corporate strategy and plan with one noble goal in mind – the improvement and upliftment of the lives and well being of the people of our region.
“From this idea and through dedicated commitment to its achievement has sprung many of the institutions and frameworks that we all take for granted today. Institutions – such as the OECS Secretariat, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank ECCB, the OECS Supreme Court which ensures that the separation of powers enshrined in our Constitutions is guaranteed and upheld; the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority that has safeguarded the integrity and safety of the airspace and civil aviation within the OECS for decades; the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority which has negotiated the liberalisation of our telecommunication sectors and has allowed consumers across the OECS to exercise choice when selecting a provider; or even the Joint Pharmaceutical Procurement system which allows us more affordable medications – these are all so much a part of our everyday lives that their importance and influence go largely unnoticed.”
Such also is indeed the intention and ambition of the current generation of leaders, Dr. Ishmael says, who are charged with ensuring that the Economic Union, established just seventeen months ago by the coming into force of the Revised Treaty of Basseterre, becomes a progressively operational entity.
For the OECS, Dr. Ishmael says, the ultimate will only be achieved when such successes are so seamlessly woven into the institutional fabric of the societies and the lives of the people of the region that they are taken as a matter of course.
The OECS was created on June 18th, 1981 with the Treaty of Basseterre which was named after the capital city of saint Kitts and Nevis.