Tuesday, January 12, 2010

OECS Countries Establish Economic Union

On December 2009, leaders from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) signed a treaty to establish an Economic Union within the region. The event was described by OECS Chairman Mr. Denzil Douglas as having a “historical importance for the Governments and peoples that constitute the OECS”.

The new treaty establishing the OECS Economic Union updates the Treaty of Basseterre, which was signed 28 years ago, and will remove trade barriers between national markets to unite the countries of the region into one financial and economic space. Economic ties in the region are to be intensified in light of challenges and complications caused by global economic crisis.

The OECS includes the islands of Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis. Montserrat, which is a British Overseas Territory and a founding member of the OECS, did not sign the agreement.

The new agreement allows for the delegation of certain legislative authority in certain areas to the heads of government, and the formation of a Regional Assembly of Parliamentarians consisting of members of the parliaments of the individual jurisdictions. It it expected that over the next few months the agreement will be ratified by the Member States, and will enter into force in June 2010.

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