The opening of the 67th Meeting of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Authority and the Fourth Sitting of the OECS Assembly officially began Sunday evening where government leaders and high-ranking politicians from the OECS convened to address issues facing member states.
The opening ceremony focused on the official handing over of the Chairmanship of the OECS Assembly from St. Vincent and the Grenadines to Antigua and Barbuda.
Government officials, members of various opposition parties, Cabinet officials, parliamentarians and
other dignitaries were in attendance at the sub-regional meeting. During his speech, Prime Minister of Antigua, Gaston Browne focused on two critical issues: the continuation of LIAT in the region and the establishment of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Five Islands Campus.
Browne noted that LIAT is “quintessential” and “irreplaceable” to regional transportation and connectivity.
“Although, it has been the beating-post of many, LIAT has served us well…LIAT may be based in Antigua but its benefits are spread across the region,” he said.
“Antigua and Barbuda is determined to keep LIAT in the Caribbean skies where it belongs and in which it has earned its place,” he said, adding that it was time that the OECS take collective ownership of the regional airline.
The prime minister also spoke on the establishment of the UWI campus in Five Islands and the“democratization of tertiary education”.
“It should be the right of every person, particularly the youth, in each of our countries and in our collective community to higher education,” Browne remarked.
According to him, the rationale behind establishing UWI was to ensure that persons in the sub-region access higher education that is more affordable.