Amidst a lavish ceremony with inspirational messages of hope and where youth in dance portrayed the passion for deeper integration, the OECS demographic grew by almost 100 percent as Martinique joined the group of Eastern Caribbean Countries, with the formal signing of documents initiating the accession to Associate Membership.
The historic moment occurred at about 5:30 pm on Wednesday February 4th 2015.
The official signing ceremony which was streamed live globally via www.oecs.org grew in popularity attracting numerous comments, tweets and pictures across the social media landscape. This live stream for the first time pictured a blend of languages; from English to French to French Creole.
The response and exchange deepened the spirit of companionship among the people of the OECS, moving the discourse on OECS matters to a new, more engaging and higher level.
Many commended the value of the OECS to developing the people of the region while some asked: Quand l’OECO se joindra à Guadeloupe? (“When will Guadeloupe join the OECS?”).
The signing ceremony for Martinique’s accession to Associate Membership of the OECS was the highpoint of the opening ceremony for the 60th Meeting of the OECS Authority held for the first time in a French Territory.
Director General of the OECS Dr. Didacus Jules presented an outlook of the year 2015 as one which will engender “political climate change” which he said will facilitate the rapid defrosting of frozen mindsets and the building of new architectures of adaptation. Dr Jules spoke to the mutual benefits anticipated through Martinique’s accession to the OECS as an Associate Member
Youth empowerment was a key subject area in the speeches which followed. In his first address to the OECS Authority, President of the Regional Council of Martinique Serge Letchimy shared an idea of building OECS youth integration to engender a stronger bond in the OECS for generations to come. Among his ideas he suggested a youth exchange where children from Martinique will visit or attend the schools of other OECS Member States through a reciprocal exercise.
The suggestion by Martinique’s President Serge Letchimy was embraced by Chairman of the OECS Authority Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit.
The agreement of the accession of Martinique to the OECS as an Associate Member is the result of technical negotiations between the OECS Commission and the Regional Council of Martinique which had started in March 2013.
The agreement defined the selected cooperation sectors including – Education, Sport, Health, Cooperation, Sea and air transportation, Leisure boating and tourism, Arts & Culture, Cooperation in development & research of foreign funding solutions, and Development of renewable energies.