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OECS Opposition leaders plan to meet more in the future

(Adapted) Friday, Sept 18, 2015, CMC – Opposition leaders from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) who met from Wednesday to Friday this weeksay they are planning to hold several other meetings to discuss socio-economic issues within the sub-region.

Former Premier, Reuben T Meade

Former Premier, Reuben T Meade

Montserrat Opposition Leader, former Premier Reuben T. Meade, who chaired the second ever meeting of opposition leaders, described the deliberations as “very useful.”

“It was a very fruitful meeting in terms of information sharing, update in terms of what’s happening within the OECS and it also showed the kind of quality work which si being done by the OECS Commission”.

Meade, who lost the last general election in the British Overseas territory last year, said that the delegates had also agreed to meet at least annually to discuss issues of relevance within the nine-member OECS grouping.

“We will be having additional meetings both virtually and perhaps once a year we will come together in one of the OECS jurisdictions so that we can continue this dialogue as wel seek to move the OECS and look at the development of the peoples of the OECS,” he said.

Former Antigua and Barbuda prime minister Baldwin Spencer, who said he was also pleased with the outcome of the talks, said “we were able to get the chairman of the OECs Authority, the Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr. Keith Mitchell to give some opening remarks and I thought he did an excellent job in laying the foundation for the importance of engaging leaders of the Opposition in the OECS”.

He said for him ‘what was very important was the fact that we were able to meet at this level and get an opportunity as leaders of the Opposition to see a draft Growth and Development Strategy for the OECS”.

Spencer said while he acknowledged that the strategy was still in a draft form, “the fact is we were beneficiaries of that document and so we were brought into the picture very early.

“We looked at the major areas of concern and import as far as the OECS Economic Union is concerned and the whole question of creating this single economic space …and so we were updated.

“It was an extremely useful and in my view successful engagement,” he added.

Dr Gayle Rigobert, St. Lucia's Opposition Leader

Dr Gayle Rigobert, St. Lucia’s Opposition Leader

St. Lucia’s parliamentary Opposition Leader Dr. Gale Rigobert, described Wednesday’s meeting as “a step in the right direction, in recognizing the critical role of the Opposition in the Governance of our regional democracies”.

She said she hoped it is an attempt at correcting “the historically disturbing trend of excluding Opposition parties from governance, both at the national and regional levels”.

Rigobert who is attending for the first time as Leader of the Opposition said meetings such as this afford Opposition parties the opportunity to critique and to inform regional policies and to bridge the information gaps that sometimes exist between Opposition parties and regional bodies, and the work that they do.

“Today’s meeting suggests that our democracies are maturing as our regional bodies show greater appreciation for the relevance of the Opposition and the need to engage Opposition parties in comprehensive, open, free and fair dialogue.’

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(Adapted) Friday, Sept 18, 2015, CMC – Opposition leaders from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) who met from Wednesday to Friday this weeksay they are planning to hold several other meetings to discuss socio-economic issues within the sub-region.

Former Premier, Reuben T Meade

Former Premier, Reuben T Meade

Montserrat Opposition Leader, former Premier Reuben T. Meade, who chaired the second ever meeting of opposition leaders, described the deliberations as “very useful.”

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“It was a very fruitful meeting in terms of information sharing, update in terms of what’s happening within the OECS and it also showed the kind of quality work which si being done by the OECS Commission”.

Meade, who lost the last general election in the British Overseas territory last year, said that the delegates had also agreed to meet at least annually to discuss issues of relevance within the nine-member OECS grouping.

“We will be having additional meetings both virtually and perhaps once a year we will come together in one of the OECS jurisdictions so that we can continue this dialogue as wel seek to move the OECS and look at the development of the peoples of the OECS,” he said.

Former Antigua and Barbuda prime minister Baldwin Spencer, who said he was also pleased with the outcome of the talks, said “we were able to get the chairman of the OECs Authority, the Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr. Keith Mitchell to give some opening remarks and I thought he did an excellent job in laying the foundation for the importance of engaging leaders of the Opposition in the OECS”.

He said for him ‘what was very important was the fact that we were able to meet at this level and get an opportunity as leaders of the Opposition to see a draft Growth and Development Strategy for the OECS”.

Spencer said while he acknowledged that the strategy was still in a draft form, “the fact is we were beneficiaries of that document and so we were brought into the picture very early.

“We looked at the major areas of concern and import as far as the OECS Economic Union is concerned and the whole question of creating this single economic space …and so we were updated.

“It was an extremely useful and in my view successful engagement,” he added.

Dr Gayle Rigobert, St. Lucia's Opposition Leader

Dr Gayle Rigobert, St. Lucia’s Opposition Leader

St. Lucia’s parliamentary Opposition Leader Dr. Gale Rigobert, described Wednesday’s meeting as “a step in the right direction, in recognizing the critical role of the Opposition in the Governance of our regional democracies”.

She said she hoped it is an attempt at correcting “the historically disturbing trend of excluding Opposition parties from governance, both at the national and regional levels”.

Rigobert who is attending for the first time as Leader of the Opposition said meetings such as this afford Opposition parties the opportunity to critique and to inform regional policies and to bridge the information gaps that sometimes exist between Opposition parties and regional bodies, and the work that they do.

“Today’s meeting suggests that our democracies are maturing as our regional bodies show greater appreciation for the relevance of the Opposition and the need to engage Opposition parties in comprehensive, open, free and fair dialogue.’