Grenada’s Prime Minister Supports Acceleration Of OECS Integration

PR – Prime Minister, Dr. the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell has voiced his  full support for accelerating the process of regional integration.  

The Grenadian leader was among several persons who supported the sentiments on  the issue, shared by Vincentian Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, during the 5th sitting of  the OECS Assembly on Wednesday.  

Dr. Mitchell, who has been involved in the political arena for more than three decades,  said he fully subscribes to the philosophy of regional integration. 

He noted that the OECS is replete with examples of the benefits of regional integration,  some of which are exemplified through established institutions in the areas of banking  and currency, the judiciary, pharmaceutical procurement, civil aviation, and  telecommunications. 

Dr. Mitchell said, “The change in impact, power, influence and self-determination cannot  be denied. Our countries have historically faced various developmental challenges and  today, we are further confronted with concurrent and compounded crises. But even in  the midst of this new normal that is still evolving, regional integration must remain a 

central policy objective. We have no choice – together we are stronger.” 

Noting the many challenges that currently face regional countries including the  widespread impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, volcanic activity, climate change, and  environmental degradation, the Grenadian leader advised against the pursuit of individualistic policies which may benefit one country while putting others at risk. 

He said, “A wiser course of action would be to consolidate and deepen the regional  integration movement as a means of adequately addressing the unrelenting economic,  social and environmental challenges and crises that threaten the advancement of  regional development. Some of the challenges not only affect our individual countries  but are interconnected with far reaching consequences throughout the region. 

Therefore, we must go beyond national boundaries and seek regional solutions that will  further propel regional economic growth and development.”  

He added that crises and emergencies are often borderless, not in the least constrained  by geographic boundaries and therefore called on his colleagues to be more  courageous, creative, and innovative in forging synergies at all levels.  

Dr. Mitchell said, “Contrary to the belief of some, adopting a regional approach to  development does not cause a loss of national sovereignty but rather, can be an  enabler of regional resilience, growth and development. I fully subscribe to the African  proverb which states that if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go  together. The journey to regional growth and development is filled with twists and turns,  especially in this new dispensation of perpetual crises – our new normal. To succeed,  we must journey together.” 

The Prime Minister therefore challenged the OECS Commission to not only look at  deepening the integration of the regional governmental architecture, but to also pursue  approaches that deepen the integration movement among the regional private sector,  youth, and other non-state actors. 

He also noted that the region must harness the power of technology, broaden the scope  of labour mobility, and make the sub-region one marketplace where the trade in service  is seamless and the concept of an OECS citizen can be fully operationalised.