Government of Montserrat

Montserrat to chair disaster management working group for Caribbean OCT Council

WILLEMSTAD, Curacao – Montserrat has been selected to chair the working group on disaster management for the new Caribbean Overseas Countries & Territories Council, which met in Curacao today.
This was the first meeting of the group which comprises OCTs from the English and Dutch Caribbean. High-level political representatives of 10 Caribbean nations agreed to establish a regional OCT Council with Curacao elected as chair. The Cayman Island is the Vice chair and British Virgin Islands holds the secretariat for this Council.
According to the official council release, “the aim of the Council is to work on a joint agenda for sustainable development and a roadmap to establish a Caribbean Agenda with respect to the new Agreement of the Overseas Countries and Territories that is currently being prepared by the EU and that should come into effect January 1st 2014. The Council wishes to enhance their relationship with the European Union and ensure that the needs and interests of the Caribbean OCT’s are incorporated.
“The Council provides a formal institution to work together among all Caribbean Overseas Countries and territories on areas of common interest. Through this council knowledge and experiences will be shared and joint initiatives will be taken to ensure project funding from the EU on topics that are of joint interest,” the statement read.
The Council was established through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding.
During the discussions all participants embraced the concept of sustainable development as their starting point. Specific areas for cooperation were identified, and session chairs selected as follows:

• Cooperation within different constitutional frameworks – St. Maarten (SXM) as chair: participants OCT / PTU-SXM, British Virgin Islands (BVI)
• Transportation and logistics -Curacao as chair: participants Anguilla, Bonaire
• Capacity building and sharing/human capital development – Bonaire as chair: BVI, SXM
• Waste management – Curacao as chair: Participants SXM, Saba
• Climate change – Cayman Islands as chair: BVI, Anguilla
• Renewable energy – Curacao as chair: participants Cayman, Anguilla, Statia, Bonaire, Saba
• Disaster management – Montserrat as chair: BVI, Curacao, SXM
• Small Medium Enterprise (SME) development (already a project) – BVI as chair: participant: Saba
• Strategic development within a sustainable framework in small countries/territories – Cayman Islands as chair: participant Curacao
• Relationship with EU: budget vs. project support – Anguilla and Cayman Islands to co-chair
• Sustainable leadership in the Caribbean (BVI as chair with support of SXM and Cayman Islands)
• Develop private public partnership (Bonaire as chair)

Each working group is expected to present a plan by September 1st. The COCT Council will meet again on September 23, prior to the next EU-OCT Forum slated for Greenland later this year.