ST JOHN’S, Antigua, Thursday January 26, 2012 – New chairman of the Organisation for Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) authority, St Lucia’s Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony, has called on his peers to recommit to free movement through the sub-region.
“In respect of economic development, the creation of a free unified internal market cannot be realised unless the appropriate conditions are put in place that would allow the productive potential and capacity of the people of this region to flourish,” said Dr Anthony as he addressed the opening of the 54th meeting of the OECS authority on January 23 in St Lucia.
He called on OECS heads of government to urgently push strategic and legislative requirements to further advance the free movement of OECS nationals noting that any genuine development of the OECS must be premised on the involvement of the OECS citizenry.
The free movement of OECS nationals is a key component of the OECS Economic Union, which was operationalised in January 2011.
Anthony noted that: “If OECS heads are to deliver on the long term development objectives of the region, realising acceptable rates of economic growth, creating new employment opportunities and ensuring social equity and improve standard of living- the free movement of persons and labour and the rights contingent to these must be secured within the economic union area.
Dr Anthony also challenged other OECS member states who have not yet allowed the free movement of nationals in their respective countries to put in place the required legislation and administrative arrangements to give effect to the right of free movement in accordance with the provisions of the Revised Treaty of Basseterre and to do so as a matter of urgent priority.
He also encouraged those member states which have not yet brought the revised treaty into domestic law to do so expeditiously in order of the OECS economic union to be functioning in way that truly resonates with the people of our region.
He noted that without the enactment of the enabling legislation by all protocol member states, the operationilisation of the economic union simply could not proceed.