Several political leaders of Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories are due in Montserrat this week for a meeting to discuss European Union funding for the overseas territories.
The Honourable Premier of Montserrat, Mr Reuben Meade, will chair the meeting which will be attended by OCT leaders Mrs Sarah Wescott-Williams of Dutch St Maarten, Mr Hubert Hughes of Anguilla and Dr Orlando Smith of the British Virgin Islands.
The Montserrat meeting on Thursday 15th and Friday 16th May will determine how the EU funds earmarked for the territories are to be disbursed in advance of a major EU funding meeting scheduled for Barbados next month.
The Caribbean OCTs will be identifying three project areas to present to officials from the European Commission at the Barbados meeting.
The Montserrat meeting is a follow up to last December’s Caribbean Regional Consultation on the 11th European Development Fund for the OCTs which was held in Brussels.
That was part of a wider forum which addressed a number of issues pertaining to the European overseas countries and territories.
Coming out of the Brussels discussions regional financial allocations were set for the OCTS.
Under the current EDF 10 Caribbean Regional Allocation over 50 million Euros have been earmarked for small and medium sized enterprise projects in the respective Caribbean territories.
In the Caribbean these are the British dependencies of Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands and Montserrat; the Dutch overseas kingdom partners of Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, St Eustatius and St Maarten; and the French territory St Barth’s.
The Caribbean is home to twelve OCTs, five British, six Dutch and one French. Guadeloupe, Martinique, French St Martin and Guiana are not OCTS but Departmente Outre Mers or DOMS.
The OCTS benefit from EU funding and other resources under the European Development Fund (EDF).
The goal of the Caribbean OCT regional programme is to foster cooperation among OCTs of the same region and which share a similar set of challenges and priorities.