Regional approach suggested to economic challenges

CASTRIES, St Lucia, September 26, 2008 – The region is being urged to respond to impending global economic challenges just as the small islands in the Caribbean responded to collapse of the West Indies Federation with the creation of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

That advice from Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) Sir Dwight Venner at a recent lecture on ‘The New Economics of Nationhood: The Political Economy of OECS Development in the 21st Century’.
“The OECS has literally kept the integration process alive in the region, as it has attained levels of functioned cooperation comparable to that of the European Union – the world’s premier integration arrangement. All of this is not known or appreciated as the European Union and CARICOM have always been bigger stories than the OECS,” said Sir Dwight.
He asserted that OECS countries have remained integrated in the face of various developmental challenges as a result of solid framework and facilitation.
As such, he said, the task is to tailor the region’s economic progress in its own context as opposed to trying to fit into the moulds of others.
“The current situation however- both internationally and domestically- will prove extremely challenging to these countries. The arrangements which are in place both nationally and at the OECS level have assisted in sustaining a particular kind of political and economic arrangement. These new circumstances will require a new economics of nationhood in order for us to survive and to prosper,” Sir Dwight noted.

The ECCB head said that moves like the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) are evidence of the recognition of the need for the kind of regional integration pioneered by the OECS.