Cayman to chair OCTA

The Cayman Islands will host the Overseas Countries and Territories Association annual EU-OCT forum and OCTA Ministerial Conference in 2008.

During this year’s meetings held earlier this month in Nuuk, Greenland, the Cayman Islands was selected to assume the position of ministerial vice-chair, starting in January 2007, Cabinet Minister Alden McLaughlin said last week.

‘Under OCTA protocols, this means that Cayman would move up to Chair in 2008,’ he said, noting that the Chair hosts the annual OCTA meetings.

Mr. McLaughlin said the incoming OCTA Chair for 2007 is St. Pierre et Miqueleon, a small island territory of France near Newfoundland, Canada.

OCTA was set up in 2003 and has 16 member states, all of whom have a constitutional link with a European Union member state. The Cayman Islands joined OCTA in 2004.

One objective of the organisation is to provide a forum for discussion and sharing of best practices among members, Mr. McLaughlin said.

OCTA also makes recommendations to EU member states about appropriate courses of action in relations to issues of concern to members. Acting in his ministerial capacity, Mr. McLaughlin used the EU-OCT forum last year as a platform on which to request emergency financial aid from the EU with respect to Hurricane Ivan damages. That aid is finally expected to arrive next month.

Two other objectives of OCTA include defence of collective interests of its members and the promotion of effective working relationships with other relevant international organisations, Mr. McLaughlin said.

OCTA’s three broad focus are economic, social, cultural and political development; communications and external relations; and training and research.

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