ST JOHN’S, Antigua – A planned public education programme on the full free movement of OECS nationals will not be launched this month as anticipated.
Antigua & Barbuda’s OECS Commissioner, Ambassador Colin Murdoch, says this is because funding for the programme, although already approved, is yet to be activated.
He, however, expects this will be done before the end of the present quarter, which runs until the end of September.
“There is a public education programme that was developed by the OECS Secretariat. It was submitted to the EU for funding, and they have agreed to fund the public education programme. As of this moment the funding hasn’t kicked in as yet. The funding is expected to become available within this quarter. I think it (the launch and scheduling of the public education programme) is really tied to the funding,” he explained.
On another matter, Ambassador Murdoch also said proposals to have combined police and other services for the OECS sub-region are still at the discussion stage, and nothing concrete has been decided as yet.
He said such consolidation is part of the deeper integration envisioned under a functioning OECS Economic Union.
“The discussion about a regional police force is more recent. Within the past five years they have discussed that and a regional magistracy – as well as a regional prison. But these things are just at the conceptual stage. Basically it’s just thinking about regionalising the whole law enforcement and administration of justice,” Murdoch stated.