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OECS High Commission in Ottawa to close

OECS High Commission in Ottawa to close

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The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) announced on Tuesday that it will be closing its High Commission in Ottawa, Canada.{{more}}

OECS Director General Dr. Len Ishmael said the High Commission, which was established in 1982, will be closed by December.

She blamed the ongoing global financial and economic crisis for the situation.

“OECS Heads of Government have been engaged in a critical review of the organisation aimed at the rationalization of its operation, and overseas representation was one area subject to this review in light of the extraordinary burden which it constituted for the treasuries of member states.

“It was to be noted that increasingly, the focus of engagement between Canada and the member states of the OECS had shifted as a result of Canada’s policy of decentralisation in respect of CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency), Ishmael said.

She said this policy has resulted in the relocation of key CIDA personnel and related operations to Canada’s High Commission in Barbados.

“As a result, collaborative efforts involving Canadian and OECS member state officials had shifted to the region, and in particular, to Barbados.

“When taken together, these factors raised serious doubts about the wisdom of maintaining the High Commission in Canada, and as a result, OECS Heads of Government agreed to the closure,” she noted.

Ishmael said that the OECS will consolidate and strengthen their consular operations in Toronto in order to satisfy the growing consular demands of OECS nationals resident in Canada, and to be in a position to respond adequately to the expanded range of economic opportunities in Canada for OECS nationals.

“The Heads of Government have noted with interest the opportunities which present themselves, especially in the areas of trade and service provision and have indicated their intention to broaden the scope of operations of the Eastern Caribbean Liaison Service in Toronto.

“In this way, it would be better equipped to provide the necessary support to the commercial sectors in the OECS, as well as private nationals in the region who may wish to explore and avail themselves of these opportunities,” she added.

The OECS groups the islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands.

The OECS High Commissioner to Ottawa is Vincentian Brendon Browne.

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