OECS celebrates 31st anniversary in Toronto by Melanius Alphonse
In celebration of the 31st Anniversary of the Founding of Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the OECS interim national council (Canada), via the cultural and entertainment standing committee, hosted a reception on Friday in Toronto, Canada.
The celebration showcased business entrepreneurs’ products and services, and staged a cultural market place with fashion designers and models lighting up the catwalk with trendy outfits.
OECS nationals and others were warmly received by Consul/Liaison Officer, E. Bernard John. Community messages and remarks, we delivered by consuls general and consuls from all member states.
Chairman of the OECS working group, Honorary Consul General of St Kitts and Nevis, John Allen, performed double duty, delivering his community message and reading a message from current OECS chairman, Dr Kenny Anthony, prime minister of St Lucia.
Anthony’s message referenced the signing in St Kitts on 18 June 1981, of the Treaty of Basseterre and the strong links that exist with the larger community.
“We are currently moving towards the creation of a new entity to regulate the energy sector across our islands, using a model similar to the successful ECTEL agency for telecoms,” he said.
Anthony also noted that steps are being taken to “pool our resources to provide a stronger thrust in our foreign policy. The recently revised Treaty of Basseterre is now making way for political architecture and opportunities for deeper collaboration across our governments and our institutions.”
The OECS must continue to see how it can better integrate its population, to grow and prosper across boundaries, disciplines and accents and that our islands remain open for business and intend on becoming world class participants, said Anthony.
His message continued, “August of this year, we will witness, in Antigua, the commencement of the OECS Assembly, which will see representatives from all our parliaments, both government and opposition, meeting and debating legislation that has a basis throughout our Caribbean sub-region.”
Acknowledgment was given to “the government of Canada through CIDA for many years supported major development projects in our islands, from schools to airports — to be one of the most important source markets for visitors, despite the global economic recession.”
With business entrepreneurs and models buzzing in the corridors, the fashion and cultural performance certainly reminded all that the Caribbean is one family. The colourful display of fabrics, artistry and funfair produced by the standing committee, cultural and entertainment chair, Eulalie Walling-Sampson and co-chair Lorraine Delsol, were exemplary of the islands indigenous creative arts.
Caribbean citizens form an integral part of Canadian multiculturalism and the rich culture that is displayed at CARIBANA, so mark your calendar July 17 to August 5, 2012.
The warmth of the islands is alive and well, the fusion of ideas and partnerships is great in the Diaspora. And in so doing, the technological space will permit a live feed for next year’s celebration and performance.