Director General of the OECS, Dr. Didacus Jules, noted the timeliness of the publication as the Eastern Caribbean faces a period of marked social and economic strain due to the concatenation of crises faced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The inherent vulnerability of our islands to catastrophic events, such as hurricanes and volcanic eruptions, compounded with the far-reaching effects of the current pandemic, reinforces the urgent need to increase efforts towards deeper cooperation and connections amongst our Member States.”
“This publication targets our region’s youth with the anticipation that these young minds, equipped with intimate regional knowledge and increased awareness of the opportunities available to them through the free-movement of persons and educational and business exchanges with the French Departments, will develop a deeper sense of community and fraternity – towards a stronger OECS union,” Dr. Jules said.
Written by Ambassador Earl Huntley, Former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Saint Lucia, the booklet features illustrations by young OECS animators, adding to the authentic Caribbean feel of the publication.
Senior Communications Specialist at the OECS Commission, Tahira Carter, who played a key role in the elaboration of the booklet, said the overall goal was to produce an interesting learning tool for teachers and students that engenders an “OECS and Caribbean identity.”
“It was important for us to share the history of the organisation, and the many milestones that we have achieved throughout these forty years, in a format that was student-friendly. Cognisant of the fact that “regional integration” can be a heavy topic, we sought to design a light layout – with relatable real-life examples, vibrant colours and relevant animations – to better captivate the attention and imagination of students.”
“Another important aspect of the book is the focus on the Eastern Caribbean region’s unique culture, people, terrain and wildlife. It is the hope that this distinctive look at our shared history, natural resources, racial background, dialect, food and music would foster a deeper appreciation and affinity amongst our OECS and Caribbean peoples,” Carter added.
This publication forms part of a three-pronged project, led by the OECS Communications Unit and the Education Development Management Unit (EDMU), to raise awareness and sensitisation on OECS regional integration in schools throughout the region. The additional products include an eight-part television series and class workbooks.
An official roll out of the booklet, in the form of an electronic package for schools, is expected to begin in the new school year.
The Resource Booklet was co-funded by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Eastern Caribbean Office, in partnership with the OECS Commission. The Commission extends sincere appreciation to the teachers, students and members of staff who reviewed the booklet in its initial stages, providing invaluable feedback.