OECS and Massy Stores Partnership Against COVID-19: Engaging the Region’s Private Sector
OECS Media Release
Monday, April 6, 2020 — The COVID-19 pandemic threatens the sustainability of social and economic systems within the OECS, impacting the lives of approximately 1.4 million inhabitants. Recognizing these daunting circumstances and its mandate to support OECS Governments and citizens, the OECS Commission has charted a robust response mechanism to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the OECS. This mechanism includes, in large measure, a private sector engagement strategy to strengthen the OECS’ response.
Leading regional supermarket chain, Massy Stores Limited joined the OECS’ COVID-19 Response by donating EC$250,000.00 towards the procurement of five (5) ventilators to be distributed among Member States. Director General of the OECS, Dr. Didacus Jules, lauded the efforts of Massy Stores in this crisis. He remarked that:
“The OECS is pleased to work with partners of such sensitivity. Massy has helped maintain rationality by the measures they have put in place to guarantee equitable access to food supplies, and to ease public concerns on food security.”
Managing Director of Massy Stores (Saint Lucia), Mr. Martin Dorville specified the importance of private sector support for public-spirited initiatives such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, and re-affirmed the Company’s commitment in such circumstances. Further, Mr. Dorville expressed a willingness to work with the OECS on this initiative given its alignment to Massy’s strategic focus:
“Massy Stores (SLU) Ltd. has and continues to respond to this crisis in a very real way, through the commitment of our team members, suppliers, customers and other stakeholders. We understand the very important role the private sector can play in this fight, which is slowly becoming a humanitarian effort. Partnering with the OECS Commission allows us to leverage our resources and bring much needed support to people of the region at this critical time. For us, it is important that the OECS as a region remains cohesive and focused in spite of the pressures and remain optimistic about the future. In all of this, Massy Stores (SLU) remains steadfast to being a Force for Good in our Communities and throughout the Region.”
This collaboration has planted seeds of opportunities beyond COVID-19, as the parties have recognized the need for more deliberate collaboration to strengthen food security in the region.
“Even while our immediate collaboration is focused on helping to win the medical battle, Massy and ourselves have started discussions on longer term strategic initiatives that will reduce our reliance on foreign food imports, and promote healthy food choices.” noted the Director General.
The OECS Commission’s response in the fight against COVID-19 includes inter alia the establishment of an OECS COVID-19 Task Force, revamping communications management for the region’s response (including a Facebook collaboration), realigning current donor-funded project objectives to respond to emerging regional challenges, bilateral engagements to increase resource mobilization efforts (including enhancing collaboration with Direct Relief and Cuban counterparts), and enhancing education tools for learning continuity.
The OECS Commission is of the fervent view that the most powerful strategy against the COVID-19 pandemic is through heightened collaboration between the public and private sector. The Commission therefore takes this opportunity to sound a clarion call to other regional Private Sector institutions to join the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in the OECS by supporting the ongoing efforts spearheaded by the Commission.
Further information on partnership opportunities can be obtained by contacting the Development Cooperation and Resource Mobilisation Unit at the OECS, via telephone 1-758-455-6354 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.