Senator DeGazon Participated in the Inaugural International Conference on Small Island States
At the invitation of Mr. Jim Randall, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Co-Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability, Senator Allison DeGazon participated in the First International Conference on Small Island States and Subnational Island Jurisdictions.
“I am pleased to have been invited to this inaugural conference. We have more in common as a Caribbean people, than we have differences. I submitted legislation, in January, to petition Congress to allow the US Virgin Islands to apply for full membership to CARICOM," DeGazon said.
The purpose of the conference was an effort to host a diverse compliment of Caribbean leaders to share their concerns relating to identifying shared challenges and hold round table discussions, as the beginning of dealing with those issues that unite us a Caribbean region.
“My vision for the territory as a member of CARICOM, would open the corridors for inter-island commerce that would allow our local farmers to export various agricultural products that may not be available in abundance, or not at all in other parts of the region. In turn, we would be in the position to create trade opportunities in the region," DeGazon stated.
The four-day conference addressed the following: Island to Island Connections; Politics and Governance; Construction of Island Identities: Social Capital; Governance and Ecosystem Health; Independence and Decolonization; Economic Development and a host of other shared topics of concern.
Senator DeGazon was asked to participate in the four-day conference, by providing an update relating to the territory’s recovery and reconstruction efforts. The senator also participated in several round-table discussions that addressed concerns shared by stakeholders of the Caribbean region.
While at the conference, Senator DeGazon, was able to meet with several key stakeholders of the Caribbean region and discuss the issue of collaborative, economic development that would allow each island-nation, or territory to benefit from the approaches towards economic growth and stability and highlight the strengths of each.
“In addition to possible trade opportunities, we could develop a concept of inter-island tourism via shopping visas. I have held preliminary discussions with the Honorable Stacy Plaskett, prior to the conference, seeking her advice on the approach to Congress,” DeGazon said. “It is important that we attend such type conferences for the building and strengthening of the Caribbean. A stronger Caribbean, where we share many common interests. Those shared interests could serve as a stepping stone to not only building new relationships throughout the Caribbean but help grow the economy of the US Virgin Islands.”