Cooperation between the independent and non-independent Caribbean has been further enhanced as the result of the activation of an agreement between the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the University of Puerto Rico. The agreement follows the establishment in 2006 of an OECS Office in Puerto Rico to facilitate trade, investment and tourism, and to provide commercial support for Puerto Rican and Eastern Caribbean entrepreneurs.
The office was one of the outcomes of the 2004 Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Puerto Rico and the OECS which is designed to facilitate cooperation in trade and investment, agriculture and fisheries, health, education, sports, information technology, tourism justice and governance, security, disaster management and the environment, civil aviation and air and sea ports.
The most recent agreement with the University of Puerto Rico was highlighted in the official OECS communiqué of November 2008:
ORGANISATION OF EASTERN CARIBBEAN STATES COMMUNIQUE
48TH Meeting of the OECS Authority
19th to 21st November 2008
Montserrat Cultural Centre
Little Bay, Montserrat
Mem. of Understanding with University of Puerto Rico
The Authority noted the provisions of the Collaborative Agreement established between the OECS and the University of Puerto Rico in May 2008 which has as a first step, the development of a Study Programme to strengthen cultural understanding and educational exchanges and growth between the two parties. The Programme will allow OECS Nationals to:
Pursue an academic degree in any field of study on any campus of the University of Puerto Rico and be accorded the same status as Puerto Rican students;
Make payments for tuition, accommodation and health insurance at the same amount set for Puerto Rican students and,
Obtain full scholarships to pursue studies at the University based on availability of places and a predetermined selection criteria.
The Meeting endorsed the next steps required to operationalise the Study Programme by September 2009 to ensure, inter alia, the enrollment of the first batch of students in the Study Programme at the 2009/10 academic year.
Procedures of Accreditation
The Authority noted the increase in the numbers of requests from countries to the OECS Secretariat for its policy on accreditation and approved the accreditation procedures presented by the Secretariat.