BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – GUADELOUPE has officially become an Associate Member of the Organization of Eastern States (OECS).

At a Special Meeting of the OECS Authority in the French-overseas territory on Thursday and Friday (Mar. 14 & 15), the territory signed the instruments to become the sixth Associate Member and the 12th overall Member of the sub-regional bloc.

Chairman of the OECS, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves used the occasion to underscore the importance deepening of the regional integration of small Eastern Caribbean islands.

He noted that the enlargement of the OECS, with the accession of Guadeloupe to associate membership, opens tremendous possibilities “not merely to survive but to thrive more markedly across the arenas of economy, society, culture and polity”.

“While centuries of European colonial rivalries in the Caribbean have contributed to the fracturing of our countries in differing linguistic groups and a contrived island separateness, it is these contradictions and separations which are the very seeds which pre-dispose our territories to a greater and more perfect union,” Gonsalves added.

Director General of the OECS, Didacas Jules explained that Guadeloupe took five years after its sister territory Martinique to attain associate membership in the OECS.

“This brings to 12 the membership of our organization – six independent Anglophone territories and six non-independent territories who are British Overseas Territories and three French departments.”

Jules said that the convening of the Special Meeting of the Authority signified the importance of the OECS Heads of Government placed on the acceptance of Guadeloupe into the organization.

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