Editorial: Octa-opportunities

POSTED: 01/24/12 1:27 PM

Prime Minister Wescot-Williams traveled to the south Pacific in March of last year, to the island of New Caledonia to be exact, and now she is in Brussels for the same reason: to attend the ministerial meeting of Octa, the Overseas Countries and Territories Association.
While there is much criticism of travel abroad by members of the cabinet and by parliamentarians, these trips could actually be useful.
The Octa is the forum that gives small territories like St. Maarten a voice in mighty Brussels, the headquarters of the European Union. There is money to be had there for our country’s development and it therefore critical to be on the ball on this one.

Last year, the EU had $386 million available for the 25 territories spread around the world. The money is earmarked for special programs, regional cooperation and integration, technical assistance and emergency help. The territories are also eligible for funding under European programs for research, education and training, innovation and competitiveness, culture and media.
In other words, there are opportunities to be had, and our Prime Minister ought to grab them for St. Maarten.

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