ST. JOHN’S: Rene Baptiste of St. Vincent & the Grenadines was elected the Speaker of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Assembly at its inaugural session here last week. She will be the Assembly’s first Speaker. Her nomination was made by St. Vincent & the Grenadines Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, who is also Chairman of the OECS Authority. St. Kitts & Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Denzil L. Douglas seconded the nomination.
“Today we in the OECS have certainly made history,” said Baptiste. “We have serious work to do. This is our occasion to write our history with our own hands and in our own words.”
Former Speaker of the St. Kitts & Nevis National Assembly, Walford Gumbs, was unanimously elected as the Deputy Speaker He was nominated by Prime Minister Douglas.
The nomination was seconded by Arnhim Eustace, the Leader of the Opposition in St. Vincent & the Grenadines.
The nine-member OECS launched its latest political initiative as a step forward to fully establish an Economic Union and deepen its sub-regional integration movement.
The OECS Assembly will comprise five legislators from each independent member state and three from the Legislature of each non-independent country with representation from both the ruling administration and the political opposition.
It will meet at least twice annually and is one of five principal organs established by the Revised Treaty of Basseterre establishing the Economic Union.
Host Prime Minister, Dr. Baldwin Spencer, said the Assembly would serve as a consultative body in the central issue of regional integration.
He said that the OECS Assembly brings together all the member states “bound together to secure the regional good in a way that could not have been achieved individually”.
Dr. Spencer said decisions taken at the assembly “must be built on a regional consensus that informs regional political decision-making”.