The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), sprang forth with some of its many purposes of subsistence being: to facilitate the fostering of beneficial associations among member states and in doing so, assist in achieving economic growth and development, as well as promoting economic and political integration among member states thereby vastly extending the region’s sphere of influence.
Nevertheless, a circumspect examination of the OECS member states inadvertently reveals that in spite of our rich combined cultural heritage and abundant natural resources, we as a collective group are not doing enough to promote sustainable use of our local products and natural resources and thus, we are hindering the promotion of self-sufficiency within the region particularly within OECS member states.
The advent of the industrial age brought with it not only a gargantuan and rapid advancement of technology, but also a vast wealth of knowledge and information to those willing to utilize it advantageously. The academic potential of Caribbean people has been demonstrated time and again. Whether it is from our Nobel Laureates, or numerous graduates from our extremely esteemed educational institutions, such as the University of the West Indies, one cannot deny our collective intelligence.
However, it is insidious to assume that Caribbean people only excel in academics. For it has now become global knowledge of our numerous sports related achievements from our now renown West Indies Cricket Team or more colloquially known as the Windies to St. Lucia’s very own Levern Spencer, one can unmistakably see that we as Caribbean people are multi-faceted, in that we are capable of accomplishing tremendous feats.
Why then do Caribbean states choose not to develop the most important and abundant natural resource available to them, its people? This is by far one of the most draconian issues faced by OECS member states. We as a collective body must endeavour to make adequate use of our people. Not only will it promote the advancement of the region in myriad of different areas but it will increase our region’s sphere of influence in the world.
Tourism is by far, one of the furthermost contributors to the GDP of every OECS member state and has essentially been woven into the fabric that is our Caribbean culture. Its’ significance to the region’s development cannot not be hyperbolized. Hugh Riley, the Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, confirmed this when he stated, “ tourism, now responsible for 15 to 70% of GDP in the Caribbean, has not only become the number one industry in our region, but its centrality to the core of our livelihood has made the Caribbean more tourism-dependent than any other region in the world.” . Thus, it is imperative that OECS member states utilize their individual country’s resources to promote the tourism product.
The Caribbean has gained a reputation for its sandy beaches, spectacular waterfalls and...