Premier's Office
Release Date:
Wednesday, 21 June 2023 - 11:51am





Her Excellency Marcella Liburd, Governor General of the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis

His Excellency Dr. Didacus Jules, Director General of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States

The Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew, Prime Minister of the Federation of Saints Kitts and Nevis and Incoming Chairman of the Organisaton of Eastern Caribbean States,

Fellow OECS Authority Heads of Government and Ministers Present

The Honourable Dame Janice M. Pereira, DBE, LLD, Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court

Members of the Cabinet of the Federation of Saint of Saint Kits and Nevis

The Honourable Lanein Blanchette, Speaker of the National Assembly of the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis

Honourable Members of the National Assembly of the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis

OECS Commissioners

Ladies and gentleman

A pleasant good afternoon.

Let me first begin by congratulating Prime Minister Drew on assuming the Chairmanship of the OECS Authority, and also thank outgoing Chairman Premier of Montserrat Hon. Joseph E. Farrel for his leadership over the past year.

It is a great honour for me to once again deliver an address at the opening ceremony of an OECS Authority meeting. This time as the most recently elected Head of Government. My second appointment as Premier, however, is under very different circumstances and comes with a fresh mandate from the people of the British Virgin Islands after the General Election held on 24th April.

As everyone is aware, the British Virgin Islands’ path to a General Election was not easy. We faced very difficult and uncertain circumstances. While the democratic will of the people has been clearly expressed, we still in fact the threat of a suspension of our constitution that is hanging over our heads by the United Kingdom Order in Council in reserve and a potential attempt to seize more powers over the islands.

I am very conscious that I would not be here this afternoon as a newly elected Premier without the unwavering support and intervention of the OECS.

I again want to thank the Governments and people of the Eastern Caribbean for coming to our aide. You were there for us during our darkest hour, and continue to make representation on our behalf at the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization in New York.

We are grateful for your efforts to ensure that the democratic and human rights of the people of the British Virgin Islands are respected, including our inalienable right to self-determination, and the well-established principle of self-governance for a people seeking to achieve a full measure of self-government.

Ladies and gentleman, we cannot afford to forget that the Caribbean space is not yet completely free of its colonial past.

Therefore, we cannot and should not rest until the decolonization process is complete, until our people have received reparatory justice for the enslavement of our ancestors in these islands, and we have achieved the sustainable development and quality of life for all of our people that they deserve.

In this regard, the OECS is special because it brings together our governments and people in a way that overcomes the political barriers created by the colonial experience. We are able to sit together at one table, independent and non-independent, to support each other and forge a brighter future.

We are anchored by a common heritage, common historical experience, and common challenges that we are stronger addressing together.

I want our new Chairman Prime Minister Drew to know, as well as fellow Heads of Government, Ministers and Political Representatives of the OECS that you have in me and the British Virgin Islands a reliable partner as we collectively face the challenges of today and tomorrow. We will be there for you, as you have been there for us.

At present, we all find ourselves in an uncertain international environment where greater cooperation is needed to mitigate the negative effects on our countries.

The world economy is forecast to slow down in the months ahead, marked by reduced trade, as well as high interest rates that are increasing financial pressure on countries carrying high-debt.

The Russia-Ukraine War continues unabated, which continues to impact food, energy and fuel prices.

We face cross-border security threats by organised crime whose elements are moving between our islands.

There is also the chronic problem of gun crime to which we are losing too many young men in our region.

Our young people are also increasingly vulnerable because of youth unemployment that must be reduced.

Contact between the people of the Eastern Caribbean, and the ability of families, visitors and business people, to get around, is hampered by the current limitations of intra-regional transportation.

All of these challenges are compounded by the complication of El Nino, which has historically seen the Caribbean suffer from drought and water shortages that impact agriculture and the availability of potable water.

It is only by working together that we can mitigate these challenges and the OECS is our vehicle to arrive at solutions for the sustainable development of our countries.

I am encouraged by the international leadership of OECS Member States, including Antigua and Barbuda who will host of next year’s Fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines will host the regional preparatory meeting in August and I commend them as well.

The OECS is demonstrating that our influence on the world stage is not limited by our size. It is our principled and moral positions on issues such as the climate crisis and sustainable development that are resonating with the rest of the world.

It is Caribbean leadership that has called for our planet to be preserved so that all the peoples of the world can live without climate risks, which we in the OECS experience every year in terms of hurricanes and sea-level rise.

The OECS must stay on the forefront of these issues for the sake of our people and their genuine desire for sustainable development.

Ladies and gentleman, as I close, I again want to express my gratitude for this opportunity to address the Opening Ceremony, and thank the OECS for your support to the British Virgin Islands.

I thank you.



Sonjé Greenidge

Information Officer II
Department of Information and Public Relations (GIS)
Telephone: 468-2742