OECS Economic Union goes into effect
CASTRIES, St Lucia, Monday January 24, 2011 – Member states of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) have marked another milestone in their integration process as the treaty establishing an economic union goes into force.
The grouping was able to meet its January 21 target date for commencement of the Economic Union with five of the six member states who signed the Revised Treaty in June last year ratifying it in time: Antigua and Barbuda, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, and Dominica.
The OECS Secretariat said it is anticipated that the other country which signed, St Lucia, will follow suit with ratification this week. In order for the Treaty to enter into force, four independent member states were required to ratify it.
The Revised Treaty establishes the OECS Economic Union, making possible the creation of a single financial and economic space within which goods, people and capital move freely, monetary and fiscal policies are harmonized and countries continue to adopt a common approach to trade, health, education and environment, as well as to the development of such critical sectors as agriculture, tourism and energy.
Chairman of the OECS Authority, St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas, said that with the operationalisation of the OECS Economic Union, the people of the OECS embark together on a journey full of opportunity and promise, confident that their needs, hopes, dreams and aspirations will be realized through the process.
“The OECS Economic Union will empower OECS citizens by making possible greater freedom of movement and of economic action, by engendering a greater sense of belonging and of pride in their achievements, and by offering a wider array of social and economic possibilities,” he said.
“The OECS has been able to arrive at this important milestone through the deep and unwavering commitment of its member states to the OECS model: that of the pooling of resources for the common good. In this connection, member states must be congratulated for the tremendous effort and energy that they have invested in this enterprise. In similar vein, the citizenry of the member states must be commended for your steadfast commitment and invaluable contribution to the deepening of the integration of our region.”
The next step for member states is to give the Revised Treaty of Basseterre Establishing the OECS Economic Union the force of law in their national spheres by an Act of Parliament.
The ratification of the treaty came just days ahead of the two-day 52nd OECS Authority Meeting which begins in Grenada today.