Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Dr. Natalio Wheatley said that he is expecting that the Pooled Procurement Service (PPS) dialogue will generate stronger mutually beneficial partnerships and positive outcomes.
He made this statement at the opening ceremony for the 36th Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)/Pooled Procurement Service Board Meeting and Ninth OECS Council of Health Ministers held on 9th October.
Premier Wheatley stated, “I am confident the deliberations at the PPS Policy Board Meeting and the Council of Health Ministers Meeting over the coming days will be very fruitful in developing and strengthening ways for closer collaboration among members and more effective representation of regional interests in health and wellness.”
The Government of the Virgin Islands is host country of the high-level dialogue meetings, which are scheduled to take place between October 10 and 12.
Significantly, Minister for Health and Social Development, Honourable Vincent Wheatley will be assuming the role as chair of the OECS/PPS Board for the upcoming year.
Premier Wheatley extended heartfelt gratitude to the outgoing chair for his dedication to the organisation, and by extension, the contributions made through service to the region in his capacity as chair.
He said “We join with the regional community in thanking the outgoing chair, Honourable Sir Molwyn Joseph, for his service and for the support of the Government and people of Antigua and Barbuda.”
Premier Wheatley also acknowledge the PPS’s critical role in allowing OECS countries to access quality pharmaceutical supplies at significant savings through strategic negotiation, and reductions in shipping and other logistical costs. This was achieved since the individual countries were categorised as a single large customer rather than multiple customers.
Against this backdrop, Premier Wheatley reiterated that regional multilateral organisations like the OECS continuously demonstrate that our strengths and abilities as a collective are magnified significantly more than the sum of the individual parts.
He further explained that the success derived from the PPS initiative can be operationalised as a blueprint for confronting various challenges, and addressing issues unique to the Caribbean states in navigating the global political economy.
The Government of the Virgin Islands remains committed to advancing the interests of the Territory through maintaining strategic partnerships with regional partners, in a manner that is consistent with the overall National Sustainable Development Plan.