Journalists reminded of their role in OECS economic union and integration
November 15, 2013
Journalists reminded of their role in OECS economic union and integration

Journalists in St Vincent and the Grenadines have been reminded of their role in the economic union and integration within the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).{{more}}

On November 5, the Regional Integration and Diaspora Unit in St Vincent and the Grenadines hosted a workshop for journalists to highlight the part that they must play in highlighting issues that surround economic union and integration.

The workshop facilitated a space for journalists to interact with representatives from the OECS secretariat and share their views on the topic at hand, while learning about the progress that has taken place in other member states.

Managing director of Right Angle Imaging Inc, Barbara Jacobs-Small, who was also the day’s facilitator, challenged journalists to make stories surrounding the issue into headline stories.

“How can we be framing that story every day… sometimes it’s very difficult for us to take the very technical information from the policy documents and transpose that into news, but…how do you start to conceptualize that into real stories?” Jacobs-Small said.

“What our role as media journalists is, is to help people reframe their vocabulary to remind themselves every day that they are members of the economic union”.

Representatives from the OECS secretariat shared information about the progress that had been made in member states that facilitate regional integration and economic union, whether it is at trade, social, business, environmental or cultural levels.

Elma Gene Isaac, coordinator of the Regional Integration Unit, stressed that integration is all about the people. She also mentioned several things that link countries in the OECS together, one main one being the Eastern Caribbean (EC) currency.

Isaac noted that integration was a process where, under the Treaty of Basseterre, islands in the OECS can operate in a single space without meeting restrictions on travel or trade.

“It is that sense of a single seamless space that we want to get to and for that to happen, it means that we have to harmonize policies,” Isaac said. “In a very real way, integration over the years has touched people and it’s simply that people don’t realize that it’s about OECS integration”.

Programme officer in the OECS Regional Integration Unit Safiya Horne-Bique told journalists that currently, focus is being placed on removing barriers between countries so that persons can move freely throughout the countries.

“It makes sense for us to think of ourselves as one space,” she said.

“We’re trying to move that barrier so that we can move within that one space, take advantage of the human resource that we have.”

Horne-Bique noted that no restriction would be placed on how long OECS citizens stay in a country or whether they work or just enjoy the benefits of the country.

In fact, under the agreement, OECS nationals will be able to travel on any piece of identification that they possess, an identification card or driver’s licence.

While there are nine member states, Horne-Bique stated that St Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat and Dominica have began implementation.

David Popo, head of the Social Development Unit, and Debra Blackman, programme officer for the 10th EDF project, also shared information on other progress made in the member states.

For more information on regional integration and economic union, persons can visit: