BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, June 19, 2023 (SKNIS) – Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew, has assumed the Chairmanship of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Authority for a period of one year.
Delivering remarks at the opening ceremony for the 73rd Meeting of the OECS Authority in St. Kitts and Nevis on Sunday (June 18) evening at the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank Sir Cecil Jacob Auditorium in Basseterre, St. Kitts, Prime Minister Dr. Drew identified six key areas that will be given special attention during his tenure as Chair of Authority that will contribute to the continued sustainable development of the people. The areas identified are youth; health; violence as a public health issue; energy; and environment.
Speaking on the issue of youth development, St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister said the future of the OECS sub-region rests securely on the shoulders of the youth, and as such, more must be done to foster their positive development.
“Our youth need to feel that our countries have something to offer them, that they have opportunities for economic and social growth in their home countries, that they are valued; that they will be allowed to contribute to their societies; that they can receive living wages and income; that they are being trained and invested with skills which would enable them to flourish at the national level and to compete at the global level,” said Prime Minister Dr. Drew.
The OECS Chairman indicated that the digital and orange economies, health and tourism services are areas ripe for investments and involvement of the region’s youth.
He added, “Unless we make new space for our OECS youth, we risk an unprecedented brain drain at a time when most need the creativity and energy of our young people.”
On the issue of health, Prime Minister Dr. Drew reiterated his call for the establishment of centers of excellence throughout the OECS sub-region.
He said, “It is my view, that the OECS needs to harmonize health policies and treatment protocols and maximize resources for health care delivery, by delivering Centers of Health Excellence throughout the OECS, with each country having particular areas of specialization. In that way, no single country would have the burden of providing every service for every citizen, and costs and services would be shared across the Union. Such an approach would make specialized health care accessible and affordable for all our citizens. This cost-effective model is of urgent necessity given the fast-growing cost of health care globally, which is also becoming increasingly technologically based.”
Dr. Drew said he is of the firm belief that the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States can be the model for small island success.
“While I hold the Chair, my thrust will therefore be to accelerate development, advance equity and inclusion and build social, economic and environmental resilience. My determination and commitment are to ensure the people-centered development for the people of St. Kitts and Nevis and the OECS and in pursuit of that objective I will urge for the support of my fellow Heads of Government,” Prime Minister Dr. Drew said.
The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States is presently celebrating its 42nd anniversary under the theme, “Vision. Integrity, Sustainability. Progress.”