St. Kitts and Nevis PM Terrence Drew addresses nation at the Opening Ceremony of 72nd Meeting of OECS Authority

St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Terrance Drew got the opportunity to speak as a head of government and speak about the historic victory of St. Kitts and Nevis Labour Party at the polls on August 5, 2022. 

St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Terrance Drew got the opportunity to speak as a head of government and speak about the historic victory of St. Kitts and Nevis Labour Party at the polls on August 5, 2022. 

In that speech, Terrance Drew mentioned that he is grateful to everyone, including the government and people of Montserrat, for the warm hospitality extended to him and the members of the delegation. 

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He also mentioned that he is looking forward to experiencing more cultural offerings should time permit him to do so.

According to PM Drew, ” It is blessed an honour for me to preach this august body of leaders, who all share a strong commitment and bond to regional integration, be it on the economic, social, or environmental development fronts. Our provincial integration is not only robust but deep in substance and broad in vision, touching all the existing pillars of sustainable development.

The pillars is firmly rooted in the Revised Treaty of Basseterre and the 2030 goal for Sustainable Development at the level of the United Nations.”

PM Drew main reason for addressing the nation was to consider the backdrop of a myriad of challenges which confront leaders of the region. Paramount among these are the economic fallout because of the COVID-19 Pandemic, disruptions in global supply chains leading to major increases in the price of basic commodities, the clear and ever-present danger posed by climate change, and the crisis currently experienced by the people in Haiti.

He also mentioned that it is important to seek practical solutions to the challenges that confront people. These challenges not only obscure the clear vision but threaten to steer the path of achieving targets enshrined in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. 

He also gives assurance of never losing sight of ethos-working to make a difference in the lives of the people to whom we can lead.

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During the address, PM Drew shared one of the old incidents which occurred on 18, 1981, at the time of the signing ceremony of the original Treaty of Basseterre. 

This modest yet significant event occurred on the front steps of Government Headquarters, Basseterre, which is the capital city of St Kitts and Nevis, where total seven representatives of governments of the WISA Council affirmed their commitment to the birth of a new regional organization – the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

The mandate of OECS was, among other things: 

(i) To promote cooperation among its Member States (

ii) To promote unity & solidarity among its member states, territorial integrity, defend their sovereignty and independence, (iii) To desire to achieve the fullest possible harmonization of foreign policy among the Member States; to seek to adopt common positions on international issues, as far as possible, and to establish and maintain wherever possible, arrangements for joint overseas representation or common services. 

(iv) And to encourage economic integration among the Member States through the provisions of the Agreement Establishing the East Caribbean Common Market.

After Twenty (20) years, the OECS developed into an Economic Union, thereby deepening the level of integration, incorporating the free movement of all nationals of the Member States who signed the Protocol. This advanced iteration of the OECS is embodied in the Revised Treaty of Basseterre.

PM Terrance Drew also mentioned that his intent was not to evoke feelings of nostalgia or to pat ourselves on our backs for the strides we have taken along this fearless path of regional integration.

He also invites all to explore the possibilities of expanding the scope of our movement, and at the same time, he is motivated by the body of work that has been taken by the OECS Commission and the individual Member States in order to take the process ahead by implementing the provisions of the Revised Treaty of Basseterre. 

He also highlighted the decisions that should be taken at this meeting of the Authority on the Portability of Social Security Benefits, Capacity Building for officials, Contingent Rights Policy Implementation, and the finalization of an OECS Unique Identification card steps in the right direction. 

One of the hallmark features of the OECS has been the “establishment of joint overseas representation or common services”. 

Today St Kitts and Nevis have their joint embassies in Brussels, Morocco, Belgium, Rabat, and a Technical Mission to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland. 

And PM Terrance Drew is persuaded that their team should build on this foundation and spread a diplomatic footprint on the African Continent and further afield. 

He also wishes to engage the African Union by considering Observer Status, giving a seat at the table where matters related to trade, investment, and cultural cooperation are discussed. 

He also shared a wish related to deepening the level of engagement by establishing a presence in major cities like Accra, Ghana, Abuja, Nigeria and Cape Town, South Africa. The possibilities are endless. 

PM Terrance Drew also shared that his team had already started the discussions with Afriexembank. He only urges citizens to take the subject of joint representation to a higher level and make important decisions to enable them to reap the rewards to be derived from this increased level of engagement. 

Drew stated, “It is difficult for us to achieve the development objectives if we ignore the challenges posed by the proverbial elephant in the room-Glaring gaps in our intraregional transportation sector. We can face difficulty in the economic union without addressing this issue frontally.”

An efficient and sustainable conveyance system will yield benefits for trade, investment and movement of people- two pillars of the regional integration movement. 

An important part of the discussion should also carry a strategy for improving the viability and sustainability of the Citizenship By Investment Programmes. Many of our countries are dependent on the revenues generated by this programme, but we must not be short-sighted or sell the countries shortly. 

“We must be cognizant of the risks associated with devaluing our programme and develop a united approach which will ensure the viability and continued success of the programme for all our member states”, said PM Drew. 

In the end, he mentioned that it relates to the need to take action to strengthen our regional institutions. 

These include, but are not limited to: 

(i)the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court 

, (ii) the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank,  

iii) the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority actions at the individual Member level must execute decisions taken by the respective Councils and the Authority. Failure to implement decisions serves in a bid to undermine the strong foundation of the OECS.

(iv) the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority, and

He also shows his interest in reaffirming the commitment of St. Kitts and Nevis to strengthen the OECS Economic Union. 

Furthermore, he mentioned that he wants to do all in his power so that he can oversee the implementation of the decisions emanating from this meeting of the Authority.