04 March 2011

PM of Sint Maarten Addresses Overseas Countries & Territories on new autonomous status

Prime Minister Wescot tells OCT/EU Forum Sint Maarten ready to walk the journey together.

Great Bay (DCOMM):--- Honorable Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams, told the leaders and representatives of government at the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT)/European Union (EU) Forum on the South Pacific island of New Caledonia that country Sint Maarten is proud to be part of the new vision of EU relations.

"We are looking forward to working together with all partners to realize the new relations. This is a partnership where we all have mutual interests and we shall walk the journey together," were some of the words that the Hon. Prime Minister used in her intervention statement given during the opening session of the forum.

The prime minister in her statement to the forum delegates spoke about the historic constitutional change that the Dutch Kingdom realized on October 10, 2010 along with the current challenges in the area of public finances and law and order.

Prime Minister Wescot pointed out that change has allowed the islands to rise to the occasion resulting in the aforementioned having direct responsibility for taking care of the people.

The prime minister proudly stated that Sint Maarten is home to over 100 nationalities; and is a destination of choice for close to two million visitors.

On Wednesday there was a working session on Public Health where a presentation was given by European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Another working session later in the day dealt with Environmental issues.

On Thursday the delegations...participate(d) in an Evaluation of the EU-OCT cooperation. A presentation (was)... given on the results of the evaluation of the past 10-years of EU-OCT cooperation. This ...(was) followed by Implementation and programming of the 9th and 10th European Development Fund territorial and regional allocations.The Forum...close(d) also on Thursday with statements by the European Commission, and Chairman and incoming Chairman of the OCTA Ministerial Conference.

The Ministerial Conference is the highest political body of the Overseas Countries and Territories Association (OCTA) which meets on an annual basis to discuss and agree on policy matters concerning the Association.

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.