Honorable Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams, is using the Overseas Countries and Territories Association (OCTA) Ministerial Conference and the OCT-European Union (EU) Forum currently taking place on the South Pacific island of New Caledonia, to build networks with other OCTs.
Sint Maarten is also using the opportunity to highlight challenges as well as opportunities as a new member within the OCT group.
The Sint Maarten delegation under the leadership of Hon. Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams also supports proposals for OCTs to gain greater accessibility to EU funding programs.
On Tuesday morning conference delegates were welcomed to the opening of the OCT-European Union (EU) Forum which was officiate by Member of the French Government in charge of the Overseas Territories Minister Marie-Luce Penchard, President of the Government of New Caledonia Philippe Gomes and Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.
There was also a session on "Future OCT-EU Relations," which entailed the presentation of the Joint Position Paper and of the political resolutions adopted by OCTA as well as statements by Heads of the delegations of the Kingdom of Denmark, the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Other statements were made by Member of the European Parliament Maurice Ponga, President of the Regional Council of Martinique on behalf of the Conference of Presidents of Outermost Regions Serge Letchimy (video message) and a statement by Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.
The Ministerial Conference is the highest political body of OCTA which meets on an annual basis to discuss and agree on policy matters concerning the Association.
The trip is being funded by the EU and is being coordinated by the Department of Interior and Kingdom Relations (BAK) that falls under the Ministry of General Affairs.
New Caledonia is a French OCT which is located in the Southwest Pacific Ocean approximately 751 miles East of Australia and 930 miles Northwest of New Zealand.