Thursday, March 03, 2005 - Stakeholders of a recently formed Coalition of
Services Industries in St. Lucia will get an opportunity on the weekend to learn
more about the work of the organization and discuss its future importance to the
services sector on the island and the wider region.
The exercise, to take place at the NIC Conference Centre on Saturday, March 5th,
2005 is being conducted ahead of the official launch of the organization, slated
for sometime in April of this year.
The event will help sensitize stakeholders to the issues and purpose of the
organization, in anticipation of some of the challenges that professionals and
organizations providing services will have to face, because of St. Lucia’s
association with various trading arrangements, such as the Caribbean Single
Market and Economy (CSME) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
It has taken two years of consultations between government, the OECS Trade
Policy Project and the Chamber of Commerce to bring the coalition to this point.
An interim board was set up in November of 2004, to put in place the
institutional and legal structures necessary for the establishment of the
Interim President of the St. Lucia Coalition of Services Industries, Althea
Valmont said, “The coalition of services is an organization, which focuses on
meeting some of those challenges and informing those who may be affected by
these changes of ways of meeting these challenges.”
According to Foreign Service Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Stephen
Fevriere, the services sector in St. Lucia contribute significantly to the
overall gross domestic product (GDP), and therefore it has been recognized that
it is important for the sector to organize itself to more effectively feed into
“It is very important that at this time, the services sector appreciate the
importance of what is happening multilaterally and can use this forum to create
and affect policy, which will be beneficial to their interest, and help feed
these policies into government policy; that is one component. The other
component is at the national level, assisting the services providers in
enhancing their service capacity to compete,” Mr. Fevriere explained.
CARICOM Council of Trade and Economic Development (COTED) at a meeting in 2001,
agreed to the formation of national coalitions of Services Industries in each
member state of the Community. To date, only Barbados and St. Lucia have