Above: Fort-de-France, Martinique (CJ Photo)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The French Caribbean departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe have joined the Association of Caribbean States as associate members.
The move marks their latest step toward increased integration with their regional neighbours, giving both departments membership in the ACS in their own names, rather than simply as part of France.
Martinique and Guadeloupe officially acceded to the ACS on Friday at the ACS’ Summit of Heads of State and Government in Haiti’s Petion-Ville.
Serge Letchimy, president of Martinique’s Regional Council, and Josette Borel-Lingertine, the President of Guadeloupe’s Regional Council, were on hand for the inauguration ceremony.
Victorin Lurel, the former President of Guadeloupe’s Regional Council and current French Overseas Minister, attended the summit on behalf of France.
Martinique and Guadeloupe join Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Now, the two departments can directly intervene in debates and vote at meetings of the ACS’ Council of Ministers and special committees.
Letchimy said Martinique would focus on issues including tourism, transport and sustainable development.
“This accession of Martinique to the Association of Caribbean States is no longer a frustrated desire, but is now a reality,” Letchimy said in a statement. “This accession responds to the human, geographic and cultural evidence. It seals our membership in the Caribbean basin.”
“We open the door to a new era for our country — of territorial diplomacy and political and economic integration,” Letchimy said.