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Knowledge Background

OECS Economic Union


Economic Union Treaty: FAQs

The intention of this publication is to provide answers in as simple and clear a manner as possible to questions that are commonly asked by OECS people about their Organisation e.g. what is it about? Why was it founded? How do OECS people benefit? What is the link between the OECS and CARICOM? These are just some examples of the questions which are asked. The purpose of this
publication (FAQs) is not only to provide information on the OECS but of equal importance to encourage support and a deepened commitment by all OECS citizens to OECS integration since at this time and well into the foreseeable future integration is the only tool that will effectively bring about the social and economic development of the people of the Member States of the OECS.

A Guide to Regional Integration (Regional Integration is about Building Together Regional Integration is about Building Together) in the OECS.

Administrative Arrangements and Procedures

Monday August 1, 2011 heralded the commencement of full free movement of
OECS citizens throughout the six independent countries of the Organisation.
Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St.
Vincent and the Grenadines from that date, permits OECS citizens to enter their
territories and remain for an indefinite period in order to work, establish
businesses, provide services or reside.

In order to facilitate the free movement of citizens, the following administrative
arrangements and procedures are in effect in Member States:

OECS citizens traveling within the Economic Union should enter the special
immigration lines designated for CARICOM Nationals.

OECS Assembly Fact Sheet

What is the OECS Assembly?


The OECS Assembly is one of 5 principal Organs established by the Revised Treaty of Basseterre Establishing the OECS Economic Union, and is one of the new Organs of the OECS. The Revised Treaty came into force in 2011 and replaces the original OECS Treaty of 1981. The Revised Treaty establishes new governance mechanisms to enhance the ability of the OECS to respond to global and regional challenges.


his brief paper is intended to provide a review, for the general public, of the background to the development of the OECS, its experience up to now, and why some of that experience suggests the need for a closer relationship among the OECS countries. Further papers will seek to provide documentation on various aspects relating to the matter of Closer Political Union.

Address delivered by Dr. the Honourable Ralph E. Gonsalves Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines at Castries, St. Lucia, on March 16, 2009, sponsored by the OECS Secretariat and the Government of Saint Lucia

The CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) is the flagship of the regional integration movement, aimed at creating a single economic space which will support competitive production within CARICOM for both intra-regional and extra-re~onal markets. It is considered critical to the future growth and development of the Region, and intended to ensure that CARJCOM effectively surmounts the challenges and difficulties that confront Member States and keep pace with the changing global economic climate.

Despite substantial social and economic progress, CARICOM States continue to be confronted by a number of imposing challenges, including the high prevalence and rising incidence of HIV/AIDS; increasing poverty, varying among countries in severity and rural/urban distribution;high rates of unemployed youth; drug abuse, violence and crime, linked to the narcotic drug trade, and their growing threat to security; the loss of trade preferences for the traditional products of bananas, rice, sugar and rum, resulting in loss of market security; the negative effect
on offshore financial services, an area in which Member States enjoyed a comparative advantage, by OECD actions to counter money-laundering; and the impact of changes in information and communication technology, in giving rise to new economic activities based on knowledge and information at the expense of traditional natural resources-based industries


Monetary union imposes significant cost on some of the members of the union and
they can quite easily be large in comparison to the benefits. Such cost are usually higher
for small economies and countries with the stronger currencies, both characteristics of the
OECS countries.

The major selling card for monetary union in the Caribbean is the stability which
brings to the currency. The EC dollar is already quite stable and the existing arrangements
coupled with sound economic management should ensure that it remains that way. The
stability of the EC dollar was achieved through sacrifices in the form of the forgone
development projects in the entire subregion and higher unemployment in some countries.

This paper is an attempt to assess the impact of Europe 1992 on the economic relations between the european community and the Caribbean ACP states and the French DOM. While this work focuses on economic relations it is understood that political, social and cultural effects are equally relevant.

Situated at the pivot of North and South America, the Caribbean is inevitably swept up in the wave of economic - and perhaps political - change that has seized the Americas. Time for Action (West Indian Commission, 1992), the report of the West Indian Commission set up by the Heads of Government of Caricom1, began the process of conditioning the Caribbean to a new economic and political reality.- The region, and its leaders, are still
working out the implications of the direction in which the report points. Neither leaders nor populace are confident that the Caribbean may achieve meaningful self-determination in a world dominated by sophisticated industrial nations. The fear of economic, cultural and social oblivion lies deep in niany hearts.

The Fourth and Final Report of the Regional Constituent Assembly of the Windward Islands (R.C.A.) can usefully begin with a restatement of the tasks which it was charged with undertaking. These are set out in paragraph 4 • 1 of the Agreement between the Governments which participated in the setting up of the R.C.A. and read -
"The Constituent Assembly shall undertake -

(a) to consider and advise on the question of Windward Islands political union with specific reference to the economic and social viability of the union, the economic cost of union and the external relations and administrative implications of
the union;
(b) to consider and advise on the possible forms of union, that is, whether the proposed union should be a state which is federal, unitary or of some other form; (c) to consider and advise on the structure of government and
elements of a constitution which would be most appropriate to the union, including the administrative and electoral

This paper examines the theoretical basis for integration and presents the objectives and functions of the OECS secretariats with respect to regi onal integration. Describes developments in OECS regional integration over the period 1982-1991 and traces chronological stages in the process. Analyses the impact of the integration movement on growth and development of the OECS as a sub-region. concludes that regional economic integration provides the most powerful means of overcoming the economic disadvantages of small size from which all OECS economies s uffer. Fear and resistance to regional economic integration cont inues because of a lack of knowledge of some of its beneficial effects.

The fourth in a series of consultations in the member states of the OECS on Trade and Investment Liberalization took place in St.Kitts and Nevis on the 12th and 13th October 1994. The consultations are a joint collaborative effort of the Economic Affairs Secretariat of the OECS, the Ministries of Trade and the Chambers of Commerce in the member states under the auspices of the Caribbean Policy Project (CPP). The consultations involved four separate meetings at which presentations were given by the three consultants contracted under the CPP.

An increasing global recognition of the importance of social development and undeniable linkage between social and economic development has fuelled the debate in the OECS Sub-region on the need for a new focus on social development issues. Social ills of society can directly impede the pace of economic development. Notwithstanding the lack of reliable statistical data, it is recognised that social problems are increasing in the OECS. Concomitantly, this debate has also coincided with a number of developments which have begun to negatively impact on the sub-regions' economic development potential and which are considered to require new and innovative policies to cushion their effects.

The meeting was convened at the Economic Affairs Secretariat on November 13 1992, to discuss the findings and recommendations of a Wind Energy Assessment Survey carried out in six Eastern Caribbean territories. The assessment, which was concluded in March 1992, was under the aegis of the OECS/EAS and conducted by TransEnergy Consultants Ltd of Barbados, with funding from the British Development Division in the Caribbean (BDDC).

Today, nearly twenty-six years since Dickenson Bay, and over eighteen years since Chaguaramas, we frequently find ourselves engaged in searching evaluation of that to which we had set our hand in these two land-mark instruments, and of how we have fared along the road that has brought us to this point. In this appraisal, we are profoundly aware of two basic truths: firstly, that the goals of Dickenson Bay and Chaguaramas are still largely unfulfilled; and secondly, that whatever the reasons for the non-attainment of these goals up to the present time, the need for integration, economic and otherwise, among Caribbean countries, remains a compelling imperative.

The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) was established in 1981 with the Central and_Economic_ Affairs secretariats, the Directorate of Civil Aviation, the Eastern Caribbean Tourism Association and two overseas missions in London and Ottawa. Today, some thirteen years later, the organisation has expanded its portfolio quite significantly amassing in the process a total of fifteen separate institutions, . engaged in a wide variety of activities. Appendix 1 provides a list of OECS institutions with a brief description of the role and function of each. The activities of these institutions might be grouped for the purpose of analysis under rive runctional headings: trade and economic development activities; natural resources development and management; social services; aviation services; and general or cross-sectoral support services.


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