ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Following the appointment of a senior Caribbean diplomat to the cabinet of the new World Trade Organization’s (WTO) director-general, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, CARICOM chairman prime minister Gaston Browne, has commended the director-general for living up to promises she made to both the OECS and CARICOM heads of governments.
Ambassador Stephen Fevrier, who heads the OECS mission in Geneva at the WTO, has been recruited by Dr Ngozi to be a senior advisor to the WTO director-general. Ambassador Fevrier’s appointment follows meetings held between the CARICOM heads of government and the director-general earlier in the year. During those meetings, Dr Ngozi had given an undertaking that she would be paying more attention to issues affecting small states; and that she would appoint a high-level official to her office to ensure that these issues are taken into account in the work of the WTO.
In making the announcement, Dr Ngozi noted that ambassador Fevrier will be joining her office as senior advisor and that ambassador Fevrier had served as OECS ambassador and Permanent Observer to the United Nations in Geneva. He is also the incumbent coordinator of the CARICOM caucus of ambassadors in Geneva.
Ambassador Fevrier, a national of Saint Lucia, joins the WTO with a distinguished record of service on regional trade and development issues. He has served in various technical and advisory capacities in the Caribbean and Pacific regions, as well as being the OECS envoy in Geneva.
In welcoming the appointment, prime minister Browne noted:
“This appointment provides a positive sign that the WTO is recognizing the importance of the challenging issues that confront small states.”
“This first step must lead to a place where special and differential treatment, so important to CARICOM Member States, is entrenched as a core principle of WTO and all states, big and small, must play according to the rules.”
The OECS director-general, Dr Didacus Jules, also welcomed the appointment of Ambassador Fevrier and noted that while his departure from the OECS Commission creates a loss to the OECS, ambassador Fevrier was now ideally placed to continue to advocate for the issues of concern to small states, including the OECS.