CASTRIES, St. Lucia: The new Organization of Eastern Caribbean States’ Economic Union treaty has been signed.
The treaty, signed last Friday by the prime ministers of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, establishes their countries as a single economic and financial entity. It was signed on the 29th anniversary of the Treaty of Basseterre, which established the OECS.
Of the other members of the nine-member OECS, the British Overseas Territory of Montserrat – the only other full member – is expected to sign shortly, after receiving permission from the British government. Associate members Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands will not be part of the new entity.
The signing of the treaty paves the way for the free movement of people, goods, services and capital among participating countries.
OECS member countries already cooperate in several areas including the common use of the Eastern Caribbean currency, joint regulation of banking and securities and joint procurement of medicine.
However, the new treaty promises “joint actions” and “joint policies” by member-countries in areas such as the judiciary and the administration of justice; external relations including overseas representation; international trade agreements; international marketing of goods and services; education including tertiary education; telecommunications; intellectual property rights; external transportation and communications and public administration and management.