St. Maarten is now an associate member of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS).
While attending the 19th Ordinary Meeting of the Ministerial Council of ACS in Trinidad and Tobago last week the St. Maarten delegation comprised of Acting Head of the Department of Foreign Relations Khalilah Peters and Senior Policy Advisor at the Department Patrice Gumbs successfully lobbied for the inclusion of St. Maarten as an associate member to the organization.
The Association of Caribbean States is the organization for consultation, cooperation and concerted action in trade, transport, sustainable tourism and natural disasters in the Greater Caribbean Region. It is the only organization of its kind that allows for independent and non-independent states of the British, Spanish, Dutch, and French Caribbean to sit, as equals, at a table for the betterment of the region. The organization is also a platform for regional organizations whose work is complimentary to the ACS’ mission. These observer organizations include CARICOM, The Latin American Economic System (SELA), The Central American Integration System (SICA ), The Permanent Secretariat of the General Agreement on Central American Economic Integration (SIECA), The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO). Additionally, states that have expressed an interest in the region are also given observer status. These states are: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Egypt, Finland, India, Italy, The Netherlands, South Korea, Morocco, Peru, Russia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom.
Prime Minister Wescot-Williams, who as Minister of General Affairs is tasked with International Affairs for the country, stated that this is a good step for St. Maarten with regards to regional cooperation: “One of the things I have been stressing on is regarding are our responsibilities and roles that we have to take on as a country. One of those is participation in regional and international organizations. Now we have the capacity to meet with the ACS which us a voice in the region, for example on being against the sanctions on Cuba. The ACS is also very active in terms related to the Caribbean Sea with a focus on its protection and linkages between the various countries within the region. It is important that we remain a player in the region and that we strengthen the bonds between us and the Nations of the Caribbean,” stated the Prime Minister.