Prime Minister Meets with new Overseas Countries and Territories Association

And Prime Minister meets President of the Territorial Council of St. Pierre and Miquelon Mr. Stéphane Artano

Discuss Common Ground on Economic and Environmental Development

The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams hosted a meeting with the Chairman of the Overseas Countries and Territories Association (OCTA) and President of the Territorial Council of St. Pierre and Miquelon Mr. Stéphane Artano. Interim Head of the Department of Foreign Relations Ms. Khalilah Peters; Mr. Olivier Gaston, EU representative; Veronica Jansen-Webster from the Department of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations BAK and Emilia Thomas, Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister also attended the meeting.

The meeting was aimed foremost at familiarizing the Chairman with St. Maarten and to build a common understanding of OCTA challenges among OCT leaders amongst which the Prime Minister. This also included discussions on the way forward with steps to improve the OCTs political representation in Brussels and the preparation of the next OCT-EU forum focusing on innovation in economic and environmental policies. Discussions were also had on the OCTs needs to facilitate European Development Fund programming through the exploration of providing training, technical assistance and procedure simplifications. Additional topics discussed also included the syncing of economic and environmental policies, further building on the previous OCTA Chairman’s theme of Green Growth and Competitiveness.

OCTA is an important and essential voice in the European Union for St. Maarten and other Overseas Countries and Territories. In September of last year a St. Maarten delegation headed by the Minister Plenipotentiary the Hon. Mathias Voges attended a high level OCTA meeting in Ilulissat, Greenland seeking common ground on various issues unique to the OCTs.

"It was an fruitful meeting. One where various items of much importance to St. Maarten’s role in the OCT framework were discussed. Finding common ground on issues related to European assistance in economic, developmental and environmental issues facing OCT islands," commented the Prime Minister.