The scholarships, for the OECS Commission, mark a significant milestone on the journey it has embarked upon since the signing of the Revised Treaty of Basseterre in 2010. The treaty provides for the creation of an economic union and enables, among other things, the free movement of people, the free circulation of goods and services and the harmonisation of trade policy.
Scholarship recipients hail from the OECS Commission, Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The OECS-MITP will facilitate the technical and professional upgrading of trade expertise within the OECS Member States and in the Commission. The training will also strengthen capacities for the private sector and cross border traders as we navigate our insertion into a global space and prepare for post Brexit negotiations.
The 21 students were formally welcomed at a reception held in their honour on Friday, 28 February at the Sagicor Cave Hill School of Business and Management. The reception was attended by officials from the OECS Commission, Senior University administrative staff and faculty, current students and alumni of the MITP programme.
Project Manager of the ACP TradeCom II Project within the OECS Commission, Mr. Winsbert Louison, speaking on behalf Director General, Dr. Didacus Jules, urged the recipients to take advantage of the opportunity and looked forward to their contributions in furthering the mandate of the OECS Commission to expand the OECS’ trade capacity and solidify the economic union.
In his official welcome, SRC Director Neil Paul highlighted the feat of the regular MITP in training over 200 students from across the Caribbean. He referred to studies showing that MITP graduates have found employment not just in the highest levels of government, foreign embassies and regional and international organisations, but also in the private sector. Deputy Principal of The UWI Cave Hill Campus, Professor Winston Moore, explained that the OECS-MITP Programme fits within current initiatives of The UWI that are focused on offering specialised training.
The Programme is backed by the name and brand of The UWI, which ranks among the top 4% of universities in the world and top 2% in the Latin America and Caribbean region.
Delivering the evening’s keynote address entitled “The Place of the OECS in a Changing World”, Dr. Wendy Grenade, OECS-MITP Faculty Member, and Head of the Department of Government, Sociology, Social Work and Psychology of The UWI Cave Hill Campus, gave inspiration to the new students. She reiterated that they were joining a tradition of excellence at the University of the West Indies, where “one flies and all soar”. Dr. Grenade divided her address into two parts: the first explored the historical journey of the OECS, and the second considered implications for the OECS small states in a new world. She cautioned the students to be philosophically grounded as they engage the multilateral system and encouraged them to pursue trade policy conscientiously, and with an understanding of the machinations of global geopolitics. Replying on behalf of the new students, Ms. Leah Crag-Chaderton expressed the group’s thanks, quipping that while they had all come on ‘different ships’, they were all now in the “same boat”.
About the TradeCom II Programme:
The overall objective of the TradeCom II Programme is to contribute to sustainable economic development and poverty reduction in ACP countries through closer regional integration and increased participation in the global economy.
The Programme’s implementation strategy will facilitate the integration of OECS Member States in the global economy and value chains by improving their capacity to formulate and implement suitable trade policies and strengthening their competitiveness. The latter will target support to OECS private sector to diversify their export base, and markets also through greater integration into the regional and global value chains and simplifying, harmonising and regularly updating international compliance procedures including customs procedures. The overall strategy will entail building and strengthening OECS trade capacity at national and regional levels through a combination of technical assistance and capacity building actions like this scholarship programme.
The scholarship covers tuition, books and a laptop; a return ticket to the students’ home country; accommodation and living expenses in Barbados. In addition to the lectures, the Programme includes a two-week study tour to Geneva, Switzerland, a research paper and a three-month internship. As a component of the project, students are also required to sign a two-year bond to their respective Governments upon completion of the Programme to ensure the sustainability of this project component and leverage the impact of the training received by the students. The OECS-MITP Programme commenced on 24 February 2020 and will end in March 2021.
About the Shridath Ramphal Centre for International Trade Law, Policy and Services:
The Shridath Ramphal Centre for International Trade Law, Policy and Services (SRC) is the Caribbean’s leading institute for training, outreach and research on international trade and development matters. The Centre is based at The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill in Barbados.
Further information may be obtained at: www.shridathramphalcentre.com.