Thursday, November 03, 2005 - Collective solidarity has been cited as the
sub-region’s best defence against multilateral pressures on their fisheries
sector. This issue was the focus of a two-day OECS forum on Fisheries and Trade
which began at the Bay Gardens Hotel on Thursday October 3rd 2005.
Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Saint Lucia Honourable
Ignatius Jean said it has been proven the consolidation of efforts in fisheries
and other areas of trade forces the international community to pay attention to
“That is something that we must continue, and of course continue to work
closely, to consolidate our efforts and have the kind of caucuses that we can
discuss issues prior to going to the international fora, so that we go there
with one position—as an OECS or a CARICOM position which will strengthen our
negotiations when we go to the international arena,” Minister Jean said.
The two-day exercise will serve to raise the awareness among stakeholders of the
key issues involving discussion on International Trade and Fisheries. Director
of the Social and Sustainable Development Division of the OECS Secretariat Dr.
Vasantha Chase said it is hoped that as a result of this intervention private
sector stakeholders will become advocates for the articulation and safeguarding
of their interests at the highest levels.
“The workshop, we hope, will serve as an opportunity to allow for the type of
cross fertilization between fisheries and trade officials and that this
fertilization will provide the basis, not only for greater familiarity with
perspectives of each other, but also as a basis for a joint OECS position on the
issues and the nexus between fisheries and trade,” the Fisheries Minister Said.
Fisheries have been considered the lifeblood of coastal communities in Saint
Lucia, contributing in excess of 19 million EC Dollars to the island’s economy.
Recognizing this valuable contribution, government has provided incentives to
the industry through duty free concessions on boats, engines, equipment and
other related materials. The incentive package which is estimated at three
million dollars annually also includes a 75cents per gallon fuel rebate to