Collaboration among OECS countries spells great benefits –PM Skerrit

Prime Minister Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit talks about how Dominica benefits from being a part of the Economic Union following the first sitting of the OECS Parliament Meeting.

He says, “We are a small country like all of us in the OECS and there are things that we have to do together.  A classic example is the situation confronting the British American Insurance Company and also CLICO. These companies ended up having challenges with several of our citizens having invested.  If Dominica had decided to deal with the issue singlehandedly, without the help of St. Vincent, Grenada or any of the islands; there is a strong possibility, I would dare say that everybody who invested would have lost his or her investment.”

He further stated, “We also have had cooperation at the monetary level in respect to the central bank, we’ve been together for a very long time, we have the same currency, and at the court level we share the same court system.  So there are things that we have been doing together that brought benefits to us.  If each one of us were to have our own court system how would we finance it? Where would we get people to become judges and so forth? If we were to have our own central bank how would we afford to have a central bank?  In truth and in fact our economies are too small to have individual central banks.

He described how the OECS as a body benefits from worldwide services.

“We’ve been procuring pharmaceutical services jointly for some time now and because of the economies of scale, because of the volume at which we are importing or purchasing from the suppliers we get discounts and every country including Dominica benefits or has been benefitting from those discounts.”

The Prime Minister sees great advantages from adopting a wider vision for development instead of just a local one.

“We have to take this thing to another level.  We have to look at the services we are offering our citizens individually that we can do together to allow there to have a better offering to our citizens.  So there are a number of benefits to be derived from being part of the OECS body.”

“Dominica is no longer your market place; you have the entire OECS as your market place to do business. Suppose you are a journalism student and you decide you want to have a newspaper, it could be a regional newspaper, an OECS wide newspaper and you do not need to have a license to operate in any of the countries.  You do not need to register your newspaper in any of the countries to be able to sell your product or to procure services in terms of advertisements from these countries.”

Hon. Skerrit believes that collectively, the OECS can move forward through collaborative efforts.

“It’s important for us to continue to be focused because of the economic challenges we are having, the natural reaction is to be more inward looking, to see how we can address our issues by ourselves and so forth but it wouldn’t always work.  We really have to work together and find ways of cooperating and collaborating more because even when you put all of us together you are talking about less than seven hundred thousand and this is an apartment building in China.”