Castries, St. Lucia, January 23rd 2009 - The OECS Secretariat, on
Wednesday January 21st received His Excellency Mr. Jesus Silva as the Permanent
Representative of Spain to the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
In the first ever ceremony of its kind held at the OECS Secretariat, Ambassador
Silva presented his Letters of Credence to OECS Director General Dr. Len
Ishmael. The ceremony was attended by a delegation from Spain, representatives
of the diplomatic corps in St. Lucia and senior staff of the OECS Secretariat.
In welcoming the new Ambassador, Dr. Ishmael said his accreditation was a symbol
of a new ethos in the OECS, in which the grouping of nine member countries is
actively seeking to create strategic relationships in various parts of the
world, on its own merit.
She spoke of the historic nature of the occasion, being the first time that
credentials were being presented to the OECS by a country outside of the region
and of the fact that this event was symbolic of the growing friendship between
Spain and the OECS.
She expressed deep appreciation to Ambassador Silva for his strong personal
commitment to the process and for extending the hand of friendship to the OECS,
noting that his work has already facilitated the OECS participation, in its own
right, at the 4th CARICOM/Spain summit in July 2008.
The Director General made reference to the Memorandum of Understanding between
the OECS and the Spanish Diplomatic School in October 2008 which will provide
assistance for training in diplomacy and protocol for OECS Nationals. As part of
that agreement, the Diplomatic School will assist the OECS Secretariat with the
operationalisation of its School for Protocol and Diplomacy for the OECS region,
and will also offer up to two places yearly in its International Studies course
to Foreign Service Officers of OECS Member States, students, and staff of the
Ambassador Silva says his historic appointment as Spainís first Permanent
Representative to the OECS signals another phase in the already deep relations
between Spain and the Caribbean. Spain which is one of the fastest growing
economies in Europe and the worldís 9th largest industrial power has stepped up
investments in several Caribbean islands over the last ten years and hopes to
expand to the entire region.
The Ambassador said an initial step in the OECS, was last yearís signing of the
MOU between the OECS and the Spanish Diplomatic School. He said Spain is
watching with admiration and respect the savvy process of OECS regional
integration which he describes as Ďthe most successful model of integration
besides the European Unioní. He sees the current process towards the
establishment of an OECS Economic Union as a natural consequence of the
successful Monetary Union, a well established institutional framework and an
Ambassador Silva promised that the presentation of his credentials to the OECS
is not the end of a process, only the beginning.
The OECS Member States are Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat,
St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Anguilla and the
British Virgin Islands.