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OECS eyes on Libya

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

OECS eyes on Libya

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The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) is following with much interest the unrest in Libya that could result in the sub-region being unable to benefit from millions of dollars in investment promised by the oil-rich North African country.
“The unrest in the Middle East has serious implications for all of us because whether we like it or not we are still very much dependent on oil from the Middle East, most of our economies are driven by that and to the extent that there is instability and war and so on it has an impact,” said Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer.
He told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that the sub-region and indeed the wider Caribbean Community (CARICOM) “should be interested in ensuring there’s stability in the area and whatever means are being used to effect change, those means are exercised in such a manner that it doesn’t create total chaos in the country which leads to the loss of many lives and a total breakdown in law and order”.
Last year, Libya announced plans to establish a number of diplomatic and investment facilities in the Eastern Caribbean.
OECS chairman and St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas, who led a delegation to Tripoli, said the OECS would also seek to establish a presence in Libya.
“We have agreed in our discussions with the Libyan Prime Minister, we have agreed to establish an OECS Diplomatic Mission in Tripoli and so over the next few weeks and months, it would be my duty as the current Chairman of the OECS to pursue this important initiative so that the Eastern Caribbean countries will have a presence in Tripoli,” he said then.
Libya later sent a team to the sub-region for discussions on the location of the Libyan Investment Company and it was later disclosed that Basseterre had been selected as the Eastern Caribbean home of the Libyan Investment Bank.
Dominica’s Ambassador to Libya Emmanuel Nantan said the unrest in Libya will affect Dominica.
“The effects of the situation in Libya are likely to affect all of us, not only in investments, banking, but also the effects of the world oil prices,” he said on the state-owned DBS radio.
Prime Minister Spencer said he was also concerned “with the whole question of peace and the whole question of people being able to resolve their issues in a democratic manner.
“Of course that part of the world comes with its own traditions, its own history and there’s really no comparison when you look at our own situation in the Caribbean and those countries that are going through this period.
“You cannot just lift these situations and plant them in the Caribbean or vice versa because there are some very strong cultural and religious underpinnings that would have to be taken into consideration,” he told CMC.
He said the unrest in the Middle East that has so far resulted in change of governments in Tunisia and Egypt could be a reflection of people in that region seeking a change of the governance approach in their countries.
“They are talking more about a democratic approach, now again that in itself remains undefined because democracy can be defined differently depending on what perspective you come from. I would hope that whatever transpires that it would be done peacefully and whatever transition has to take place that it is done in the best interest of the people. Because this is what this thing ought to be about,” he added. (CMC)