Miss OECS 2019 representative for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sylvorn Lavia and Miss Dominica, MArisol John both want to see real unity among countries of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States.
Speaking at the Miss OECS Pageant launch on Tuesday, Lavia expressed that she longs to see the goal of integrated nations met.
Highlighting the CARICOM’s goal of free access among Caribbean countries, she relayed that integration among countries should include that particular type of unity.
“One of the goals is for any member of the OECS to be able to travel to another
OECS country and work freely but it is not as it seems. I’m certain that if I come to Dominica and I am employed here, someone might say I am a Vincentian with a job and a Dominican is unemployed or vice versa.
“We should still show that level of love and appreciation; I should be able to go any OECS country and walk without fear, insult or hatred. I should also be able to travel freely with my ID card and not a passport. I think the goal needs to be made reality,” she asserted.
Meanwhile, Miss Dominica, Marisol John shared the same sentiments and is calling on citizens to take up the mantle to promote OECS unity.
“We talk about regional integration and Caribbean unity but do we actually live it. I don’t think it’s left to governments only. In simple things like this pageant: a move supporting regional integration. We need to take up the mantle as contestants but also as individuals and citizens of our own country. We have that responsibility and citizenship on behalf of our islands but also of the OECS community. I believe that we have achieved a level of integration but we have a lot more to do and a long way to go before we can relax and say we are a unified region.”
John recommended improvement in facilitation where movement of people within the OECS is concerned.
She went on to discuss air travel restrictions in the OECS which also hinder free movement naming flight inconsistencies and airfare.
“But we are on a good path and in a couple of years, we will be able to say that we have accomplished it,” John believes.