OECS Media Statement
Thursday, May 30, 2019 — Governor of Sint Maarten, H. E. Dr. Eugene Holiday, paid a courtesy call on the Director General of the OECS, H. E. Dr. Didacus Jules on May 23rd 2019.
The meeting centered on mutually beneficial avenues for cooperation, particularly in the areas of disaster management and emergency response.
Dr. Holiday expressed Sint Maarten’s keen interest to deepen relations with regional organisations and strengthen working relations with the countries in the region, given shared challenges related to climate change impacts and disaster risk management.
Dr. Jules underscored the importance of coordination among the French, British and Dutch chain of islands to ensure critical military and recovery assets are deployed in a seamless manner following a disaster.
“In the face of such serious challenges, where mere minutes can mean the difference between life and death, cooperation in disaster response and risk reduction is more important than ever.”
“In the aftermath of the hurricanes of 2017, one of the lessons learned when engaging with the affected states was the need for pooled procurement of disaster recovery supplies.”
“The mixing of independent and non-independent Member States can work well to strengthen what we all seek to achieve,” Dr. Jules noted.
Further discussions were held on cooperation in the areas of education, entrepreneurship, health, environmental matters, tourism and agriculture.
Both parties also discussed the possibility of Sint Maarten’s membership to the OECS.
Saint Martin, the French side of the island, is expected to become an Associate Member of the OECS in the latter part of this year.