Prime Minister to Chair EU Regional Aids Meeting in Aruba

As Territorial Authorizing Officer oversees Discussions on AIDS Response in the Region

The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams will travel to Aruba on Wednesday where she will be attending the ECOCT Steering Committee and Planning Meeting from the 5th to the 7th of September.


The Prime Minister is the Territorial Authorizing Officer for the Project Steering Committee and as such will be chairing the meeting. "The meeting that will be taking place on Aruba on the sixth and the seventh to be exact is in the context of the EU Program for the Dutch and British OCT’s as far as the HIV Aids Response is concerned. As the Territorial Authorizing Officer, which I am, I will be chairing the meeting on Aruba," commented the Prime Minister.

The meeting is being coordinated by the Pan American Health Organization/ World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), with financial support from the European Community (EC). Participants will include focal points and steering committee members from the British and Dutch Overseas Caribbean Territories and community advocates from St. Maarten, the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica and Venezuela. "All of the territories will be present and we will be discussing the EU funded HIV/ AIDS program within the territories, which in the case of St. Maarten is an important part of our overall HIV/ Aids Response. There will also be an examining as to how far the territories have been able to come from their own national perspective on combatting the epidemic and also with regards to the programming and the funding made available by the European Union," continued the Prime Minister.

The European Community Overseas Caribbean Territories (ECOCT) Project, designed to ‘strengthen the integration of the British and Dutch OCTs into the regional response to HIV/AIDS through the PANCAP’, was signed by PAHO/WHO and the European Community in 2008. PANCAP is a regional partnership established by Carioca heads of government in 2001 to respond to the HIV and AIDS epidemic in the Caribbean. Some PANCAP regional partners including the UNAIDS, OECS HAPU and CRN+ will attend as observers. Participants will also review progress of the project’s year three work plan and present updates, achievements and challenges.