Building Together: A Guide to Regional Integration in the OECS

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BUILDING TOGETHER A Guide to Regional Integration in the OECS Regional Integration is about Building Together For The Good of All and the Disadvantage of None

©2020 - OECS Commission

Published by: OECS Communications Unit, Morne Fortune, Castries, Saint Lucia. Email: Website: Written by: Earl Huntley Editorial Team: Tahira Carter, Ramon Peachey Design: Scribble Design Studio Illustrations: Malfinis Film & Animation Studio

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by reviewers, who may quote brief passages in a review.

ISBN 978-976-635-094-9 (Print edition) ISBN 978-976-635-095-6 (Ebook/Electronic edition)

Printed in Saint Lucia

Teacher’s Resource Book


WHAT IS REGIONAL INTEGRATION? Examples of Regional Integration


Organs and Institutions of the Organisation Membership of the Organisation

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59 43 47 49 52 55 56 58

The Common Currency Joint Diplomatic Representation Page 5 -14 Agriculture Page 12 Tourism Page 14


OUR ISLANDS, NATURAL PARTNERS FOR Health REGIONAL INTEGRATION Page 17 - 22 Education Physical and Financial Limitations Geographic Similarity Area and Population of Member States Biological Diversity Common History Common Culture

Freedom of Trade and Economic Activity Free Movement of Goods


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The Environment The Judiciary Civil Aviation Defence and Security Telecommunications

TOWARDS THE FUTURE The Maturation of the OECS

1.1 Area and Population of the Founding OECS Member States 1.2 Area and Population of the Associate Member of the OECS 1.3 Combined Area and Population of OECS Member States 2.1 Pattern of Trade in Goods between OECS Member States in 2018 2.2 Pattern of Trade in Goods between OECS Member States in 2017 3.1 OECS Total Trade in Services 2016-2017 3.2 OECS Regional Trade in Services 4.1 Contributions of Travel to GDP of OECS States 4.2 International Tourism Receipts as Share of Exports of OECS Member States 2010-2016 4.3 Annual Growth in Tourist Arrivals in the Regions of the World 2005-2017

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Free Movement of Persons Free Movement of Services



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As a useful guide to teachers key subject areas have been highlighted throughout this book to give you the option to pick out these specific areas to plan into your lessons. These will appear at the side of each page with a coordinating colour area within the text to indicate the most relevant topics in the following colours:


Regional Integration: Building Together

WHAT IS REGIONAL INTEGRATION? cooperating in or uniting aspects of their functions of government – that is, aspects of their political, economic, security or social duties for example – and by so doing form a single new system, they become engaged in a process of regional integration. The purpose for which these countries integrate will determine the type of regional integration. Regional integration is therefore a method of uniting a region.


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Countries can integrate their economies, or elements of their economies. For example, in 1952, six countries in Europe – France, West Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg came together to form the European Coal and Steel Community – ECSC – to integrate their coal and steel industries. Countries can come together in other functions of government like education. In 1948, the ten territories of the then British West Indies (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts–Nevis–Anguilla, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago) established the University College of the West Indies for cooperation in tertiary education – one University to serve all the Member States. This integration of education has continued at the level of secondary schools with the creation of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) in 1972 – one regional body formed by all the Caribbean governments to organise and regulate secondary school leaving examinations.


The term integration is generally regarded as a process by which different independent units are brought together or united to form a new larger unit. The subject of Integrated Science, taught in Secondary schools and Universities, is an appropriate illustration of the concept of integration. Elements of the conventional science subjects like Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics which are traditionally taught separately, are combined or fused into a single new subject called Integrated Science. In the same way that Integrated Science is a combination of several science subjects, countries can unite various aspects of their functions of government to create a single new system. When two or more countries, in the same geographical region, come together for the common purpose of

When countries embark on a process of regional integration, they agree to limit their constitutional authority or responsibility in the functions they are integrating. They then: • Either transfer part or all of that authority to a regional institution which will be responsible for managing and taking decisions in those policy areas that they have integrated. • Or they come together in a regional organisation through which they will jointly make decisions in those functions or subjects they have agreed to integrate. The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States – OECS – is an example of a regional integration organisation. It was formed on 18 June 1981, by Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, to promote cooperation among the Member States at the regional and international levels, to promote unity and solidarity among the Member States and to defend their sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence, to assist the Member States in the realisation of their obligations to the international community and to promote economic integration among Countries can also integrate politically. Political integration the Member States. occurs when two or more countries or states become joined together by transferring all or part of their constitutional Other examples of regional cooperation organisations are authority to a new unit to form a larger new state the Caribbean Community – CARICOM; the European Union – a political union. In 1867, four British North American – the EU; the Economic Community of West African States colonies - (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Upper Canada and – ECOWAS; the Association of Southeast Asian Nations – Lower Canada) - each with a separate identity, united to ASEAN; South African Development Community – SADC; form one country – Canada. The United Kingdom of Great the Southern Common Market – MERCOSUR. Britain and North Ireland is a political union of four countries – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Page 2

Regional Integration: Building Together



When countries embark on regional economic integration, they create a larger market or economic space for the production and sale of the goods and services they produce and for the movement of other resources like capital and their people. This larger market and the free circulation of goods and other economic resources of the countries within it, results in greater trade, business, and economic opportunities in the countries and in their general economic advancement. Countries that are engaged in regional integration arrangements obtain a wider, more diverse pool of physical and human resources with which to operate their economies and societies.


In the Preamble to the 1981 Treaty of Basseterre establishing the OECS, the Governments of the participating countries, confirmed why countries generally pursue regional integration when they affirmed, “their determination to achieve economic and social development for their peoples” and to “satisfy the legitimate aspirations of their peoples for development and progress.” Countries therefore embark on regional integration because, essentially, regional integration is about working and building together for the good of all and to the disadvantage of none.


Regional integration is a process of uniting a region so that the countries of the region can work together for their common advancement. Regional integration allows the participating states to perform functions that can be more effectively carried out if they are undertaken together rather than by individual states. Joint or cooperative action by a group of states, through regional integration, allows these states to provide common services to their citizens with greater efficiency and at reduced costs since their resources are pooled.


A strong regional integration grouping leads to peace and stability between the Member countries, provides them with greater visibility and weight internationally as they face the world as one, rather than speaking and negotiating as separate, weaker voices. As a regional group they are better able to compete internationally. Page 3

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History of the OECS

THE ORIGINS OF THE OECS The people of Jamaica voted against remaining in the Federation leading to its withdrawal. Jamaica would later seek and gain independence from Great Britain. Following Jamaica’s withdrawal, Trinidad and Tobago’s Premier Dr. Eric Williams also took the colony of Trinidad and Tobago out of the West Indies Federation and on 31 May 1962, the Federation of the West Indies was dissolved. Both Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago then gained independence from Great Britain in August 1962.

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The other islands: Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts–Nevis–Anguilla, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines – that At the same time, each colony had its own internal became known as the “Little Eight”, sought to establish a government headed by a Chief Minister or Premier. The new Federation among themselves. capital of the Federation was in Chaguaramas, Trinidad and Tobago. Although the West Indies Federation had been the result of a four decades old struggle by West Indians for a federal union and self-government, the Federation collapsed in 1962, for a variety of reasons, but largely as a result of differences between the leaders of the colonies and in particular the larger colonies of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago and the weakness of the federal government itself. The disintegration was put in motion when Jamaica’s Premier Norman Manley held a referendum on 19 September 1961 to decide whether Jamaica should remain in the West Indies Federation.


The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) emerged out of efforts from 1958 to 1981 to create a viable integration arrangement for the British West Indian islands. In 1958, the then British colonies of Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts–Nevis– Anguilla, Montserrat, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, came together to form the West Indies Federation (WIF) which resulted in a single federal government - to manage matters of common interest to the colonies. The Federal Government was headed by a Prime Minister, Grantley Adams, the Premier of Barbados, with Ministers drawn from the various colonies.

For three years, in talks with the British Government and at their own regional meetings, the leaders of these colonies through a body known as the Regional Council of Ministers, negotiated the form, structure and financing of the proposed Little Eight Federation. However, these negotiations were unsuccessful and in 1965 Barbados withdrew from the discussions and from the Regional Council of Ministers to be granted independence from Great Britain in November 1966. The seven remaining colonies, which were unable to proceed to independence at the time, decided to continue to meet regularly and work together in a number of common areas and for which joint action would be more beneficial to them. They created a new regional council for this joint approach. Having been granted a novel constitutional status of Associated States of Great Britain in 1967, the regional council was renamed the West Indies Associated States Council of Ministers (WISA Council). It was established on 21 September 1966 and comprised the Heads of Government of each colony. Each Head of Government was to become Chairman of the Council for one year on a rotational basis. The Council had a Secretariat based in Castries, Saint Lucia with an Executive Secretary who was assisted by an Executive Officer. Although there was no formal agreement (a document signed by the governments) for its establishment, the WISA Council of Ministers was responsible for, among other things, joint overseas missions in the UK and Canada; cooperation in civil aviation matters, the Judiciary - the West Indies Associated States Supreme Court was formed; and a common currency managed by the East Caribbean Currency Authority.The WISA Council met at least once a Page 6

year and took decisions in the interests of the group as a whole. In 1968, the WISA Council of Ministers decided to create an economic integration organisation – the East Caribbean Common Market (ECCM). The ECCM Agreement was signed on 11 June 1968 in Grenada. According to its Preamble, it was formed because the Governments were “determined to establish the foundation of a closer union among the peoples of the East Caribbean” and were “resolved to ensure by common action economic and social development of their countries by eliminating the barriers which divide them.” The ECCM was governed by a Council of Ministers (Ministers responsible for trade matters) and its Secretariat, with an Executive Secretary in charge, was based in Antigua and Barbuda. The regional integration process in the Eastern Caribbean therefore then comprised two institutions – the WISA Council of Ministers and the ECCM. Ten years after they became States in Association with Great Britain, the Eastern Caribbean islands began proceeding to independence from Great Britain. The leaders of the WISA Council decided that after independence, the islands should be represented jointly overseas and speak with one voice in international affairs. It was agreed that in order to achieve this, a regional organisation, more formal and stronger than the WISA Council, should be established to further advance regional integration. On 18 June 1981, in Basseterre, the capital of Saint Kitts and Nevis, the WISA Council members signed the Treaty of Basseterre that integrated the informal WISA Council of Ministers and the ECCM into the new organisation – the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States – OECS.

History of the OECS


With the OECS, the areas of integration among the participating countries were broadened to include mutual defence and security; foreign policy harmonisation, and joint overseas representation; tertiary education; external economic relations; external transportation; maritime matters; tourism; currency and central banking; training in public administration and management; and scientific, technical and cultural cooperation. These were in addition to the existing economic integration arrangement of the ECCM (the ECCM agreement became a part of the Treaty of Basseterre); the common Judiciary with the West Indies Associated States Supreme Court that was renamed the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC); and the Directorate of Civil Aviation. Later, new areas like sports and

the joint purchasing of pharmaceuticals through the Eastern Caribbean Drug Service - later called the Pharmaceutical Procurement Service (PPS) – were added. The functions of the OECS were to be carried out through five institutions of the Organisation. ● The Authority of Heads of Government of the Member States was made up of the Prime Ministers/ Chief Ministers of each State. It was the supreme policy making institution of the Organisation. The Foreign Affairs Committee consisting of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of each Member State. It was responsible for the development of the foreign policy of the Organisation. • The Defence and Security Committee consisting of Ministers for Defence and Security of each Member State. It was responsible for coordinating collective defence and the preservation of peace and security against external attacks and developing ties between the Member States in defence and security matters. • The Economic Affairs Committee was made up of Ministers appointed to the Committee by their respective Governments and was responsible for the economic integration arrangements of the ECCM. It took over the functions of the Council of Ministers of the ECCM. • The Central Secretariat led by a Director General with supporting staff was responsible for the general administration of the Organisation.

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History of the OECS

An economic union is a higher form of economic integration than a common market - what the ECCM was supposed to be.

2. A Customs Union – allows for the free trade in domestically produced goods and for the countries to adopt a common customs tariff/common external tariff on goods imported from countries outside their grouping. 3. A Common Market – allows for the free trade in goods as well as the free movement of capital, labour, and services within the grouping.

• The Council of Ministers comprising of Ministers appointed to the Council by their Governments and responsible for recommending to the Authority Acts of the Organisation and regulations for the implementation of these Acts. • The OECS Assembly made up of representatives of the elected members of the Houses of Parliament and Legislatures of the Member States. Each independent Member State of the Organisation elects five members of its Parliament to the Assembly while Non-Independent States are entitled to three members. The representatives are to come from both Government and Opposition political parties in proportion to their representation in their respective Parliaments. Membership of the Assembly is for two Page 11


4. An Economic Union – allows for the free movement of goods, labour, capital and services and for the harmonisation of certain social, economic and financial policies, including fiscal and monetary policies and a common currency. To create the economic union, the Treaty of Basseterre, through which the OECS was founded, was revised to

The principal organs of the OECS under the Revised Treaty of Basseterre are: • The Authority of Heads of Government of the Member States - the supreme policy making body.


There are four levels of economic integration: 1. A Free Trade Area – a group of countries allow the goods they produce domestically to be traded among themselves without tariffs or customs duties being imposed on these goods.

On 18 June 2010, the Revised Treaty of Basseterre (RTB), setting up the OECS economic union, was signed in Saint Lucia by the Member States and the Treaty came into effect in January 2011. There are many differences between the Revised Treaty of Basseterre and the Original Treaty. First, the Revised Treaty provides for new organs and institutions for the Organisation.


The establishment of the OECS was a deepening of Eastern Caribbean regional integration and in July 2001, the Heads of Government of the OECS moved to a further deepening and consolidation of the movement with the decision to form an economic union among the seven Full Member States.

provide for an economic union. In the revised treaty, the Protocol of Eastern Caribbean Economic Union replaces the ECCM Agreement of the Original Treaty.

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years. The Assembly considers matters referred to it by the Authority.


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• The OECS Commission led by the Director General with one Commissioner of Ambassadorial rank from each Member country. The Commission provides secretariat services to the Organs of the Organisation. These are: The common market including customs union The Revised Treaty also formally incorporates three Monetary policy institutions into the Organisation – The Eastern Caribbean Trade policy Supreme Court (ECSC), the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank Maritime jurisdiction and maritime boundaries (ECCB) and the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority Civil aviation (ECCAA). While these institutions have always been part Common commercial policy of the regional integration arrangements, they were not Environmental policy recognised in the Original Treaty of Basseterre as agencies Immigration of the OECS integration system. (See opposite for OECS Structure). By giving the Organisation the legal authority to make decisions and carry out certain actions on behalf of its However, the fundamental difference between the Revised members, the Governments of the OECS demonstrated and the Original Treaty of Basseterre lies in the provisions their determination that the people of the region should of the Revised Treaty for enforcing the implementation of benefit from regional integration. the decisions of the Authority and the Council of Ministers. Under the Original Treaty of Basseterre, decisions taken by the Heads of Government were not always implemented in the Member States in a timely manner and this retarded the advancement of integration and prevented the people from enjoying its benefits. To overcome noncompliance


• The Economic Affairs Council consisting of Ministers appointed to the Council by their respective Governments with these Ministers having responsibility for the functioning of the Protocol of Eastern Caribbean Economic Union.

with decisions, under the Revised Treaty, the independent Member States agreed to enact legislation to transfer to the Organisation the power to legislate in a number of areas set out in the Treaty. In other words, once the Heads of Government in the meetings of the Authority or the Council of Ministers, decide on a course of action or a policy, that policy decision can become law in the relevant Member States and such Member States are legally bound to implement it. Through the Revised Treaty, the countries therefore agreed to pool their constitutional authority or their sovereignties in selected key policy areas.

OECS Membership

MEMBERSHIP OF THE ORGANISATION In 1981 the OECS was formed by the seven countries which were members of the WISA Council of Ministers – Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. They were full members of the Organisation, having the right to be its supreme policy makers. Under the 2010 Revised Treaty, they continued to be full members but more specifically they were signatories to the Protocol establishing the Eastern Caribbean Economic Union and are called Protocol Member States.

The 1981 Treaty also provided for Associate Membership of the OECS. According to the Treaty, the rights and obligations of the Associate Members are determined by the Authority of Heads of Government. Generally, Associate Members participate in meetings of the organisation but are not formally part of the decision-making by the Authority. The British Virgin Islands became an Associate Member of the OECS on 22 November 1984 and Anguilla, an Associate Member on 24 May 1998, bringing the total membership to nine states. The 2010 Revised Treaty of Basseterre retained the original Treaty provisions for Associate Membership of the organisation and under article 3.2 Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands are listed as continuing to be Associate Members; while this allows them full participation in the organisation’s activities as determined by the Authority, they are not members of the Protocol of Eastern Caribbean Economic Union. A decade and a half after admitting its ninth member, the Organisation expanded when the French overseas department of Martinique became an Associate Member of the OECS on 4 February 2015. This was a historic milestone as it was the first time that a French Caribbean territory had joined a regional intergovernmental organisation. The French connection was further strengthened when another French Caribbean overseas department - Guadeloupe - became an Associate Member of the OECS on 14 March 2019. With the inclusion of Martinique and Guadeloupe, the OECS is an eleven-member organisation that encompasses almost the entire chain of Eastern Caribbean islands, commencing

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from the British Virgin Islands in the north-eastern Caribbean through to Grenada in the south. ECONOMICS HISTORY

The momentousness of the admission of Martinique and Guadeloupe to the OECS was acknowledged by Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in his address as Chairman of the OECS Authority at the Special Meeting of the Authority, on 14 March 2019 in Guadeloupe, held on the occasion of Guadeloupe’s Accession to Associate Membership of the OECS. Dr. Gonsalves declared: “Centuries of European colonial rivalries in the Caribbean have contributed to the fracturing of our countries in differing linguistic groups and a contrived island separateness. Yet, within and arising from the rivalries, contradictions, and separations are the very seeds which predispose our territories to a greater and more perfect union, as the circumstances admit … The maturation of the OECS embraces practically the variable geometry of integration as made manifest in its welcoming of Martinique and Guadeloupe to associate membership”


Notes 1. The British Virgin Islands and Anguilla have not yet signed the Revised Treaty of Basseterre.

▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪

The West Indies Federation Referendum Norman Manley Eric Williams Associated State French Overseas Department

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The constitutional development of the British colonies of the Windward and Leeward Islands post the failed West Indies Federation of 1958-1962, was the catalyst that moved them to new regional cooperation arrangements in 1967. However, these islands of the Eastern Caribbean, that formed the OECS in 1981, and those that have joined it since then, are all natural partners for regional integration. At first, their geography appears to contradict this “naturalness”; for they are seemingly distant from each other – islands spread across the Eastern Caribbean Sea in an arc that commences from the British Virgin Islands in the North to Grenada in the south. In reality they are in close proximity to each other. The air travel distance (the shortest distance as the crow flies) from the British Virgin Islands to Grenada is 767 kilometres or 477 miles. It is estimated that an airplane travelling at an average speed islands, which were first encountered in the Caribbean due of 560 miles would arrive in the British Virgin Islands from to these trade winds, were called the Windward Islands, Grenada in 51mins. and lay in the direction from which the wind was blowing. These were: Dominica, Martinique, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent Historically, the islands have been classified into two and the Grenadines and Grenada. geographical groups as a result of the pattern of the voyages of the European sailing ships that came to the Caribbean Those islands that were downward or downwind or away from the fifteenth century onwards. These ships, particularly from the wind, were called the Leeward Islands and were slave ships, depended on the trans-Atlantic currents and Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, winds to push them from the West African coast to the St. Kitts and Nevis, the Virgin Islands as well as Caribbean; these winds blow from east to west and so the St. Martin, St. Eustatius, and Saba.

The British colonial Governments used these geographical groupings for their administrative purposes. From 1871 to 1956, Antigua and Barbuda, Montserrat, St. Kitts– Nevis–Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands were placed in a Leeward Islands Federation under one Governor. During the same period, Grenada, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines with Barbados (until 1885), Tobago (until 1889) and Dominica (from 1940) were in the Federal Colony of the Windward Islands with another Governor. The islands in each group are geographically close, most within eyesight of each other and the flying time between some islands is between 15 to 20 minutes. While their geography and political history aid in regional cooperation, the islands possess other characteristics that are even more supportive of regional integration.


First, they are all very small islands with limited physical and financial resources – mini states in the context of global affairs. In 1981, the smallest Member State of the OECS was Montserrat at 39 square miles/102 sq. km and the largest Dominica with 751 sq. km/305 sq. miles. Their combined land area was 2,892 square kilometres or 1,075 square miles which would still have made them (as one state) one of the smallest countries in the world, just slightly larger than Luxembourg (2,590 sq. km) and Samoa (2,830 sq. km). All the islands have very small populations, so small that together the estimated total population in 2018 of the seven founding Member States was 628,898. The addition of the Associate Members of Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, Guadeloupe and Martinique just about doubles the population of the OECS, taking it to an estimated 2018 total of 1,448,952, (about the population of Trinidad and Page 18

Tobago) with a combined landmass of 5,882 sq. km/2,230 sq. miles. That would still make the OECS region comparable to the world’s smallest states. The combination of these tiny populations into one larger economic space of between 600,000 and 1.4 million through regional integration would be logical, particularly as their economies are similar – the majority are tourism-based while others are a mixture of tourism, agriculture and light manufacturing. The limitations of size and physical and financial resources are an incentive for the governments of these small islands to come together for the joint administration of important social and economic services for their citizens. In this way, each Government will reduce the high cost of providing these services on its own and each will ensure higher quality services for its people.


The second natural factor facilitating regional integration of the Eastern Caribbean States is that the islands are generally similar in terms of topography and not only in size – although there are differences between the Windward and the Leeward islands. The majority of the islands are volcanic in origin with active and dormant volcanoes in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis and Montserrat. On 8 May 1902, the Mount Pelée volcano in Martinique erupted and killed approximately 30,000 people, and in July 1995 Montserrat lost its capital, Plymouth, to an eruption of the Soufriere Hills volcano.

Islands of the OECS: One Community

TABLE 1.1 Area and Population of the Founding OECS Member States STATE


POPULATION (2018 Estimate)



































Source: World Bank Grouping: Small States Information by Country. data. 1. Source: worldometers:




POPULATION (2018 Estimate)





















TABLE 1.2: Area and Population of the OECS Associate Members

Source: worldometers: TABLE 1.3 Combined Area and Population of OECS Member States




POPULATION (2018 Estimate)

Founding States




Associate Members







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and grasslands. The majority of the islands boast white sandy beaches that are integral to their tourism products, while some of the more volcanic ones like Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines feature some grey or dark sand beaches.


In these islands, soaring mountains and deep valleys clothed with lush tropical trees and forests dominate their landscape. An island which vividly depicts this is Dominica which styles itself as the “Nature Island of the Caribbean”. The highest mountain in the grouping is Soufriere in Basse Terre, Guadeloupe an active volcanic peak that towers to 4,813 ft.; while Saint Lucia is famous for its twin peaks – Gros Piton and Petit Piton in the south-western town of Soufriere – rising straight from the sea to 2619 ft. and 2461 ft. respectively. In contrast to the purely volcanic islands, Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands and the eastern half of Guadeloupe – Grande Terre – are formed from coral limestone (although there is a volcanic region in Antigua) and are flat, with low hills, scrubland, some woodlands Page 20

The islands share a rich heritage of biological diversity. Their marine life contains several species of marine mammals, multiple species of whales, dolphins and turtles. The North East Marine Management Area in Antigua and Barbuda is notable as a refuge for endemic, rare and globally significant wildlife. Similarly, the many offshore islets throughout the region serve as homes to both globally important and threatened species. The flora and fauna of the islands, particularly the Windwards, are regarded as one of the most diverse and interesting in the world, in keeping with global recognition that the Caribbean is a biodiversity hotspot. There are 168 regionally endemic tree species in the Windwards; endemic parrots are found in Dominica, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines and endemic hummingbirds in Dominica and Martinique. Almost all the Windwards contain protected forest reserves. The islands are all subject to the menace of tropical storms and hurricanes during the annual hurricane season from June to November. The phenomenon of climate change in recent years has intensified the force of these hurricanes with devastating consequences for these Eastern Caribbean States. Additionally, invasive alien species that have either been introduced or found their way onto the islands by other means, also pose a threat to the very critical biodiversity, especially the endemic species.

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The fourth factor facilitating the regional integration of the islands is that the people are all of similar racial backgrounds, the majority being descendants of Africans who were shipped to the Caribbean to work as slaves on British and French plantations from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Their culture is common, derived from the melting of the cultures of the variety of peoples – African, European, and Asian - who arrived in the islands during the colonial era as well as the indigenous people whom they met there. It is expressed in their carnivals – be it the pre-Lenten celebrations in Dominica, Guadeloupe, and Martinique, the Emancipation Day festival of Antigua and Barbuda, the summer events of Grenada, Saint Lucia


Thirdly, the islands share a common history. They are all English and French speaking former colonies of Britain and France. The British colonies each had a constitution and a form of government modelled on the British parliamentary system of democracy. From British colonial days, they inherited a number of regional institutions that the British had in place for more efficient administration and which provided common services. These institutions are: the British Caribbean Currency Board (1935-1965) which became the Eastern Caribbean Currency Authority (in 1965) issuing a single currency – the Eastern Caribbean Dollar; a Directorate of Civil Aviation (from 1957) for civil aviation matters; and the Windward and Leeward Islands Supreme Court and Windward and Leeward Islands Court of Appeal (from 1939) which was transformed into the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in 1967.

and St. Vincent and the Grenadines or the end of the year festivities of St. Kitts and Nevis; in their music – the pulsating calypso and soca rhythms in the English speaking islands, the world-famous Zouk originating in Guadeloupe and Martinique with roots in Dominica’s cadence-lypso, the folk music and dances driven by African drum beats; in their folk dress and costumes – fashioned from madras and cotton cloth, the women’s headdress which depict their social status; in their religions – the predominant Catholic faith in Dominica, Saint Lucia, Martinique and Guadeloupe, the Protestant denominations in the other islands and Rastafarianism throughout the region; in their foods and cuisine – their seafood, their common tropical fruits like mango, guava, papaya, sweetsop, sapodilla, passion fruit, tamarind and vegetables such as yams, plantains, cassava,

breadfruit while the same dishes with local varieties, for Page 21

example callaloo soup, can be savoured in any island; and The accession to the OECS of the French overseas in their passion for cricket and the West Indies cricket team departments of Martinique (in 2015) and Guadeloupe (in in the former British colonies. 2019) strengthened the capacity of the islands towards closer integration. Geographically, Martinique is located in Over the centuries, from the days of colonisation, the people the centre of the arc of Eastern Caribbean islands, a mere of the Eastern Caribbean have mixed through marriage, 24 miles from Saint Lucia with which it has traditionally sports, inter island travel and migration. Persons from enjoyed close relations both at official level and that of the different islands have attained prominent positions in the people who have visited and traded with each other from societies and governments of other islands. For example, time immemorial. Guadeloupe is to the north of Dominica the first Chief Minister (1960) of St. Kitts–Nevis–Anguilla which finds itself between that island and Martinique; and and later Deputy Premier and Premier (1978) of St. Kitts the same type of close relations between the people of and Nevis, Paul Southwell, was from Dominica. Sir John Martinique and Saint Lucia exists between those of Dominica Compton, who was Head of Government of Saint Lucia and Guadeloupe. (1964-1979; 1982-1996; 2006-2007) was born and spent his early childhood in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. In all four countries the people (approximately ninety Sir Dwight Venner, Governor of the Eastern Caribbean percent) speak a similar Kweyol language (derived from Central Bank (1989-2015), was born in St. Vincent and French with an African syntax; it was also spoken in the Grenadines, went to school in St. Vincent, Grenada Grenada in the past) as Saint Lucia and Dominica were and Saint Lucia. Sir Wilfred Jacobs, who became the first former French colonies at some period in their history. Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda in 1981, and Indeed, the membership of Martinique and Guadeloupe in prior to this, a Magistrate in Dominica and St. Kitts and the OECS with their relatively large populations (Martinique, Nevis, and Attorney General of the Leeward Islands, was 375,673; Guadeloupe 399,848) means that Kwéyòl is now born in Grenada. Two other Grenadians served as Attorneys the language of the majority of the people of the OECS. General in other islands – Cosmos Phillip in Antigua from Martinique and Guadeloupe have done more than simply 1976-1979; and Barrymore Renwick in Saint Lucia. increase the land size, marine space and population of the OECS; with their more advanced economic status, In regional sports, for years the Windward and Leeward in comparison to the other member countries, they have Islands fielded one cricket team (the Combined Islands) in brought technical and financial resources that will assist regional cricket tournaments. History therefore has been with the development aspirations of the OECS. Indeed, the shaping the people of the islands of the Eastern Caribbean inclusion of these two French speaking states in the OECS into one family, one community that can readily embrace is a reaffirmation of the inclination of the Eastern Caribbean regional integration. islands towards cooperation and integration. Page 22

Teacher’s Resource Book


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OECS Economic Union


● Allowing freedom of all forms of trade and economic activity between the Member States ● Undertaking common economic policies.


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The major goods traded between the countries of the OECS are manufactured articles, fresh produce, processed foods, and beverages. In 2016 and 2017, the countries exporting the most to other OECS Member States were Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.


The free circulation or trade in goods within the common economic space is basic to the proper functioning of any economic union. Companies in the OECS have the right to export goods among the seven Protocol Member States without having to pay customs duties or tariffs on these goods as long as they meet the originating criteria. The goods will however be subject to domestic taxes like the value added tax. For example, rice produced in St. Vincent and the Grenadines can be exported to any of the seven Protocol Member States without having to pay the duties or tariffs charged on rice from the United States. Goods produced in the OECS are therefore made more affordable for OECS consumers than those from outside the region. The free movement of goods within the region helps the growth of local businesses.


Through the Eastern Caribbean Economic Union Protocol of the Revised Treaty of Basseterre, the Member States of the OECS are building one economy for the region. A single large economy of the seven small economies of the islands promotes trade, business and economic opportunities for all their citizens. Building one economy entails:

TABLE 2.1 Pattern of Trade in Goods between OECS Member States in 2018

Exports (EC$ Million)

Imports (EC$ Million)
















Source: OECS Trade Policy Unit: OECS Trade Performance Review 2016-2017

TABLE 2.2 Pattern of Trade in Goods between OECS Member States in 2017

Exports (EC $ Million)

Imports (EC $ Million)

















Source: OECS Trade Policy Unit: OECS Trade Performance Review 2016-2017

The level of trade between OECS Member States is low compared with trade with non OECS Countries. In fact, the countries of the OECS import more from outside the Eastern Caribbean than they do from within the region. OECS Member States conduct more trade with the USA, the United Kingdom (UK), Spain, and France and within Page 26

the wider Caribbean, with Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica and Guyana than they do with each other. To strengthen the capacity for exports from OECS Member States, the OECS Commission provides technical assistance to companies in the Member States to enable them to increase their exports. The Commission works with these firms as well as the Governments and public sector agencies to make Eastern Caribbean businesses more competitive. In addition, in 2018, an initiative spearheaded by the Martinique Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the OECS Commission and the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA), provided new opportunities for the expansion of inter-regional trade. The Trade Enhancement for the Eastern Caribbean (TEECA) programme was established in January 2018 with the aim of enhancing trade and investment opportunities between Martinique and other Member States of the OECS. It was devised by the Martinique Chamber of Commerce for companies in that French Overseas Department which traditionally saw France as their primary export destination but which needed to take advantage of new markets in the OECS facilitated by Martinique’s membership of the organisation; and the same thinking was applied to companies in the English-speaking OECS Member States for whom Martinique could now be a more accessible market. The two-year programme, funded by the Interreg Caraibes European Regional Development Fund, targeted small and medium enterprises in the OECS in five main sectors: manufacturing, agro processing, information and communication technology, music, fashion and green industries.

OECS Economic Union

The free movement of persons enables each country to draw from a larger pool of people to contribute to its economy than what is available in each country. Freedom of movement of persons within an economic union is necessary for the fulfilment of the objectives of the union.


TEECA prepares companies to be able to export by providing adequate knowledge of their markets and their legal environment; ensuring the export readiness of their products and services; developing export strategies; introducing them to potential business partners; and providing language training. Thirty small- and mediumsize enterprises were selected for the programme which provided them with two years of individual and group coaching. The programme also contained a youth outreach element- a Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge by which tertiary level students from Martinique and other OECS states participate in cultural exchanges through an entrepreneurship and business capacity competition. The programme’s first major activity was a Business Retreat in Martinique from 1- 3 July 2018 for fifteen enterprises from Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines and their counterparts from Martinique.



Citizens of the seven OECS Protocol Member States are free to move throughout the seven Protocol Member States to work, establish businesses, to provide services and to stay in any of the seven Protocol Member States indefinitely. They can travel without a passport using other forms of national identification. The free movement of persons contributes to the economic development of the seven Protocol Member States as those persons who cannot find employment and business opportunities in their island home, or who are attracted to better opportunities in other Member States, are not debarred from seeking such opportunities in the other islands of the regional grouping. Page 27

be it artistic, medical, legal, financial, management or tourism. For example, a professional singer who earns his livelihood singing at hotels in one of the seven Protocol Member States or a medical doctor with a practice in one Protocol Member State can both travel to any of the other Protocol Member States to do the same without requiring permission from the Government authorities in the recipient country; Prior to the Economic Union Protocol, nationals of the seven Protocol Member States had to obtain a work permit from the Government of an Economic Union country in order to work or conduct business in that country. This is no longer necessary.


Complementing the free movement of goods and people is the free movement of services. Under the provisions for free moment of services, citizens of the seven Protocol Member States can establish a business in any of the seven Protocol Member States with minimal restrictions. They have the right to provide professional services once they meet the relevant regulatory requirements which apply to nationals of the country, such as licensing and registration, in any Economic Union Member State and in any field; Page 28

Trade in services can be carried out through four main modes of supply: 1. Cross border supply – for example, an architect in Saint Lucia can submit plans via email for the construction of a building to a client in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and undertake meetings with the client via web conferencing. 2. Consumption abroad occurs, if, for example, a Dominican travels to Antigua and Barbuda to undertake a medical procedure or when hotel services are provided for a visitor to Saint Lucia from the USA. 3. Commercial presence – an example of this would be, a Credit Union from Saint Lucia establishing a branch in Grenada. 4. Movement of Natural Persons is the fourth mode; in this case, for example, a singer from Montserrat performs at a festival in St. Kitts and Nevis and returns home thereafter.

OECS Economic Union

TABLE 3.1 OECS Total Trade in Services 2016-2017 (In EC$M)
























































Source: OECS Trade Policy Unit: OECS Trade Performance Review

Table 3.1 shows the value of Total Trade in Service in the OECS in 2016 and 2017 for each country. Table 3.2 shows Services trade in the OECS consists mainly of travel intra-OECS trade in services in 2017 is a small percentage services, transportation, air transport, insurance services of the total services trade of the countries, indicating that and other business services. Trade in services has become there is much room for growth in that sector. a significant element in the overall trade of OECS Member States accounting for 80% of the Gross Domestic Product of TABLE 3.2 OECS Regional Trade in Services 2017 (%age of total trade) IMPORTS FROM EXPORTS TO the countries, according to Volume 3 of “The OECS and Trade COUNTRY EECU COUNTRIES ECCU COUNTRIES in Services”, published in 2016 by the OECS Commission. ANTIGUA/BARBUDA 5.6 7.5 This is chiefly because the economies of the countries are DOMINICA 16.9 4.3 highly dependent on the tourism industry and its services, GRENADA 18.0 1.0 as this drives their economic growth and employment. MONTSERRAT 11.7 11.6 For example, according to a 7 April 2017, World Bank ST. KITTS NEVIS 8.7 4.0 Statement, tourism accounted for 61%, 50%, and 45% SAINT LUCIA 7.0 1.7 of the export earnings of Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the ST. VINCENT AND 16.2 3.1 Grenadines and Grenada respectively. Since tourist arrivals THE GRENADINES to the countries originate chiefly from North America, the Average % 12.0 4.7 UK and Europe, their trade in services, like their trade Source: OECS Trade Policy Unit: OECS Trade Performance Review in goods, is mainly with countries outside of the OECS. 2016-2017: ECCB Stats


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2016-2017: ECCB Stats


The bedrock of economic integration in the OECS and one of its most important advantages for the people is its common currency – the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC Dollar) – and the common central bank – the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) which all the countries share (except three of the four Associate Members – British Virgin Islands, Martinique and Guadeloupe). Anguilla is the only OECS Associate Member that is also a member of the ECCB. The EC dollar was minted in 1965 when it replaced the British West Indies dollar (BWI $) which was the currency used during the Federation of the West Indies. At that time, the BWI dollar was managed by the British Caribbean Currency Board (BCCB) based in Trinidad and Tobago.

Following the breakup of the Federation in 1962, Trinidad and Tobago withdrew from the BCCB to establish the Trinidad and Tobago dollar. The BCCB was then moved to Barbados and became the Eastern Caribbean Currency Authority (ECCA). Barbados also withdrew from the common currency arrangements in 1972 and the ECCA headquarters was transferred to St. Kitts and Nevis. In October 1983, the Heads of Government of the OECS converted the Currency Authority to a central bank – the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) which controls and manages the EC dollar. The ECCB is also responsible for the conduct of monetary policy for the ECCB Member States, for advising Governments, supervising the commercial banks, and having overall oversight of the financial sector in the Eastern Caribbean. The member countries of the Bank are collectively referred to as the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). The EC dollar is one of the great successes of Eastern Caribbean regional integration as it facilitates business and travel throughout the region. Citizens of the OECS do not have to change currencies when they travel through the islands or export products among the islands. The EC dollar has also brought monetary and financial stability to the ECCB Member States. The value of the EC currency is US $1 = EC $2.71. The EC dollar has been fixed at this exchange rate to the US dollar from1976 and it has been the policy of the ECCB to maintain the EC dollar at this fixed rate of exchange. This policy has generated confidence and trust in the EC dollar, made it one of the strongest currencies in the Caribbean, and has helped to develop and stabilise the financial sector in the Eastern Caribbean Economic Union (ECCU).

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Common Economic Policies

Dollar; strengthening and enhancing the financial sector; promoting fiscal and debt sustainability; and supporting economic development. Fellow citizens of the Currency Union, this Plan is about you and for you. The ECCB cannot do it alone. Therefore, collaborative and collective action is critical. The ECCB will work closely with Participating Governments, the business community, labour unions, churches and other social partners, development partners and fully engaged citizens.”


The common currency and the ECCB have therefore benefitted the seven Protocol and one Associate Member States of the OECS in a manner that would have been difficult to attain, if each country had possessed its own central bank and national currency. Multi-state central banks – central banks owned by several countries – like the ECCB, are rare as there are only three others in the world, attesting to the value and uniqueness of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank. These are: the European Central Bank (ECB), which was established by the EU in 1998, fifteen years after the ECCB though European regional integration began in 1956; the Central Bank of West African States (French: Banque Centrale des États de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, BCEAO- formed in 1962) and the Bank of Central African States (French: Banque des États de l’Afrique Centrale, BEACH formed in 1972).


Through the ECCB, its member countries pool the foreign currencies that they earn from their exports of goods and services and invest these aggregate foreign reserves in the international market. This combined investment gains more profits for each country than each would have gained individually, and is a source of additional strength for the EC dollar. In times of economic difficulties or natural disasters in one country, the combined financial resources of the group are also available to assist the ones that are in need.

In its Strategic Plan for 2017-2021, the ECCB affirms the principles that have guided its work and the successful application of which has brought the Bank international recognition: “Over the next five years, our Central Bank will endeavour to advance the good of the people of our region by maintaining a strong and stable Eastern Caribbean Page 31


To advance and protect their trade and economic development interests, the Governments of the OECS have established joint diplomatic missions to two international organisations that are of vital importance to their countries. By combining their human and technical resources for these unified missions, the Eastern Caribbean States can obtain more effective diplomatic representation at these organisations than if they each maintained individual missions. The first of the organisations is the European Union. The European Union and some of its Member States are one of the major trading partners of the countries of the OECS. The European Union is also an important source of development assistance for the OECS. In February 1984, three Eastern Caribbean States – St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines – opened a joint diplomatic mission in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, where the headquarters of the European Union – the European Commission – is located. Known formally as the Embassies of the Eastern Caribbean States (ECS) to Belgium and Mission to the European Union, the Mission monitors relations between the European Union and the seven Protocol Member States of the OECS. It now also represents Antigua and Barbuda as well as Dominica. International trade, that is trade between the countries of the world, is regulated by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) which is based in Geneva, Switzerland. The WTO sets the rules by which international trade is conducted and adjudicates in trade disputes between member countries. Page 32

Teacher’s Resource Book

African continent. This is to take the form of non-resident Ambassadors to Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Algeria and the establishment of permanent diplomatic missions in the Kingdom of Morocco, and Ethiopia at the seat of the African Union in Addis Ababa.


The seven Protocol Member States of the OECS coordinate their policies towards the WTO through a joint diplomatic mission in Geneva which was established in 2005. The members of staff of the Mission represent the Eastern Caribbean countries at meetings of the various committees of the WTO and monitor and report on developments at the organisation. The Mission is formally known as the Permanent Delegation of the OECS to the United Nations Offices and other International Organisations in Geneva. In addition to the WTO, the Mission therefore represents the seven Protocol Member States at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and the International Trade Centre (ITC).


Joint diplomatic representation had been one of the moving forces behind the formation of the OECS in 1981 and this had led to the establishment of joint OECS High Commissions in London and Ottawa. However, these arrangements did not endure. The joint High Commission in London, which represented St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, was discontinued in 1998. Instead, the countries agreed to simply share premises for separate High Commissioners while the Joint High Commission in Ottawa was closed down in 2011 for financial reasons. At the 66th Meeting of the OECS Authority in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in October 2018, the Organisation decided to return to its founding mission and agreed to reopen the Joint High Commission in Ottawa and to broaden its diplomatic horizons with strategic representation on the Page 33


Article 20 of the Economic Union Protocol addresses common policies in Agriculture and it states that: “Protocol Member States recognise that Agriculture in the OECS Member States has contributed and has the potential to further contribute to economic and social development”; and “the Member States commit to the transformation of the agriculture sector​ 1”. This commitment to the revitalisation of the sector arises from that fact that Agriculture was the main economic activity in OECS Member States from their early colonial history in the 17th Century until its decline at the end of the twentieth century.

In the 20th Century, bananas and sugar were the main agricultural exports. In the 1990s, bananas accounted for 43% – 70% of the exports of the Windward Islands providing thousands of jobs in the rural areas mainly in Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica and Grenada. The Windward Islands dominated the UK banana trade with a 65% share of that market in 2001. Alternately, the agricultural landscape for St. Kitts and Nevis was dominated by sugar cane production recording a total export value of EC$47.9 million of sugar in 1997. The agricultural sector, therefore, has been a significant contributor to economic growth and poverty reduction, especially in the rural communities in the OECS Member States. In that same year the WTO ruled that the preferential access under which Windward Island bananas were exported to the EU, contravened the rules of free trade and therefore had to be changed. This also applied to sugar. The erosion of the preferential access to the UK market presented unprecedented challenges to the sector. Compounded by; the high cost of production, challenges to access finance, low economic growth/impacts of the 20082009 global financial crisis, an aging farming population, the lack of properly governed grassroots farmer organisations, the occurrence of extreme hydro-meterological events and historical economic dependence on monocrop culture, (among other factors) many Governments found it difficult to diversify the agriculture sector. Consequently, a severe contraction of the sector was observed.

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Teacher’s Resource Book


Concomitantly, the volume and cost of food imported by Eastern Caribbean States from outside the region began increasing. In 2011, the countries of the OECS imported from 55% to 95% of their food. In 2015, the food import bill of the OECS Economic Union Protocol Member States was US$418 million doubling the value recorded in 2005. In addition to reduced agricultural production, the increasing Food Import Bill has also been driven by the development and expansion of the Tourism Sector.

Notwithstanding the challenges outlined above Agriculture remains central to food and nutrition security, and the livelihoods of many persons living within rural areas. Additionally it is critical to consider agriculture within the context of health and wellbeing (poor diets and increasing incidences non-communicable diseases) climate variability and change (increasing intensity of hurricanes and drought events, proliferation of pests and diseases, etc.) and poverty and crime among others.


Tourism has replaced Agriculture as a primary source of revenue generation in Saint Kitts and Nevis and Saint Lucia. The Commonwealth of Dominica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada have maintained active agricultural sectors while exploring diversification into serviced based sectors. Notably, in addition to international trade, the latter three (3) Member States engage heavily in intraregional trade in agricultural produce. These countries (and to a lesser extent Saint Lucia) trade in various agricultural products including fruits, vegetables, root crops, spices, legumes, agro-processed goods and livestock. With this view, it became necessary for the OECS Member States to re-evaluate and refocus their position on agriculture and develop appropriate agricultural policies and accompanying interventions that would fully integrate agriculture into all other economically productive sectors. This prompted the Revised OECS Regional Plan of Action for Agriculture 2012 – 2022 (Revised APOA). Notes 1. Revised OECS Regional Plan of Action for Agriculture 2012 – 2022 Page 35

The Revised APOA was developed to achieve the goal assigned to the agricultural sector - “To transform the agricultural sector of the OECS Member States while reducing poverty and promoting food and nutrition security” and the commitment made under Article 20 of the Economic Union Protocol. It seeks achieve these through “diversifying agricultural production and exports, intensifying market led agro-industrial development, deepening institutional reform, expanding agribusiness management and generally, conducting agricultural production on a competitive, marketoriented, internationally integrated and environmentally sustainable basis”.



3 4

Programme Priority Promotion of a Market-Oriented Agribusiness Approach to Alleviating Poverty & Food & Nutrition Insecurity

Objective(s) 1. Modernisation of agriculture through the promotion of and support to public and private sector initiatives in response to national and regional food and nutrition security demands and export opportunities; and 2. Alleviation of poverty and food insecurity through policy and incentives. Develop and Promote Agro-Tourism Services Establish and implement OECS criteria and guidelines to identify, appraise, evaluate, and strengthen the agro-tourism value chain and develop or strengthen agro-tourism sites and services enterprises throughout OECS Member States. Programme Priority 3: Develop Synergies Develop and adopt a strategic approach to establishing synergies with the with CARICOM/CSME wider CARICOM/CSME process. Mobilise Resources for Implementation Formulate and implement a Resource Mobilisation, Investment and Financing Strategy for the OECS Agriculture Plan and Programme.


Strengthen Capacity of the OECS Secretariat/Agriculture Desk


Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation and Securing Water Resources for Sustainable Development

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Coherent and effective participation of Member States in the OECS regional programme through improved coordination and strengthened capacity of the OECS Secretariat Agriculture Desk. 1. Promote and support climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies including early warning systems, and mainstream in agriculture programmes to protect food production systems and build resilience against tropical storms, heavy rains, extreme temperatures and droughts in rural/farming communities. 2. Secure long-term access to water for irrigation and value chain activities.

Common Economic Policies


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The sub-regional plan consists of six (6) programmatic ● Developed a unified Sanitary and Phytosanitary areas (as outlined below) and accompanying specific (SPS) Policy for the OECS; actions aimed at addressing the policy/legal/institutional frameworks, institutional reform, production interventions, ● Improvement of packaging standards (bags to boxes); marketing and Programme promotion. ● Joint venture production of crops to fulfil shipment quotas The Ministers of Agriculture of the seven Protocol for international trade; Member States and the OECS Commission have started several measures to achieve the transformation of the ● Developed an app to connect producers, traders, Agriculture Sector – the major one being the Agri-Export supermarkets and hotels virtually; Initiative. In June 2016 an Agri-Working Group made up of agriculture Ministers, manufacturers, traders, officials ● Identification of high value crops for each of the seven of bureau of standards and the OECS Commission was Protocol Member States with a view to increase production formed to undertake the initiative. Meeting virtually to for regional and international trade; and accelerate decisions, the Group was able to register notable achievements by June 2017. ● Identification of designated agriculture focal point persons in each of the seven Protocol Member States to support These included: the governance structure, implementation of projects and ● Improved Agriculture Health and Food Safety Systems the plan of action. – with financial assistance from the EU, financial and technical assistance from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Caribbean Plant Health Directors (CPHD) government departments and agencies in the OECS, responsible for agricultural health and food safety, was strengthened in the areas of surveillance, pest risk analysis, upgrade testing laboratories, plant quarantine, the development of national pest lists, strengthened animal health, plant health and food safety bills, all linked to strengthening the quarantine and quality infrastructure in the economic union to ensure competitiveness;

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Common Economic Policies


TABLE 4.1 Contributions of Travel and Tourism to GDP, 2017


Employment Share

Visitor Exports/ Total Exports

























Source: World Bank 2018: OECS Countries Systematic Regional Diagnostic

According to the World Bank’s 2018 Diagnostic Report on the Region, this decline is due to the lack of diversification in the regional tourism market, its high prices, the impact of natural disasters and the 2009 world financial crisis. It was consequently essential for the OECS to address these challenges to the industry, if the industry was to remain competitive and continue to be an engine of growth. Since the tourism sector in each island has grown largely independently of that of the other islands, Article 21 of the Economic Union Protocol therefore provides for Member States to adopt, “where advisable” a common policy on tourism development that involves establishing a mechanism for joint tourism marketing and promotion, and the creation of greater community participation in the industry. Through this common approach, it is anticipated that the seven Protocol Member States will be able to make their respective tourism sectors more competitive and that they will achieve greater success together than each would on its own. Page 39


GDP Share

However, despite this remarkable development of the tourism industry in the OECS and its pivotal role in Eastern Caribbean economies, OECS countries have the smallest share of the tourism industry in the Caribbean and have become less competitive in the global market. As can be seen in Table 4.3, OECS countries experienced the lowest growth in tourist arrivals as compared to other regions of the world while other Caribbean countries gained approximately four times their rate during the twelve year period from 2005.


The tourism industry has replaced agriculture as the principal economic activity in the majority of the seven Protocol Member States of the OECS and is in fact a crucial sector of the economy of each Member State. It provides the highest number of jobs, contributes heavily to production and exports, earns the greatest amount of foreign exchange for governments making it a critical source of revenue for them as is illustrated in Table 4.1 and 4.2. In Saint Lucia, tourism provides 50% of the country’s employment, with almost the same percentage in Antigua and Barbuda while in the other Member States it accounts for approximately one quarter of the employed population. In Dominica, Saint Lucia and Grenada, revenue from tourism forms 60% of receipts from exports while in Antigua and Barbuda and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, it is approximately 50%.

Common Economic Policies

TABLE 4.2: International Tourism Receipts as a Share of Exports (2010-2016 Average)

Percentage COUNTRIES


20 -40%

40 -50%










Source: World Bank 2018: OECS Countries Systematic Regional Diagnostic TABLE 4.3: Annual Growth in Tourist Arrivals in Regions of the World 2005- 2017

Africa 5.0

Americas excl. Caribbean 3.9

Asia and Pacific 6.4

Caribbean 2.7

Europe 3.2

Middle East 4.6

OECS 0.6

Source: World Bank 2018: OECS Countries Systematic Regional Diagnostic

In 2011, in response to the mandate of the Economic Union Protocol, and to address the challenges facing the region’s tourism industry, the OECS adopted a Common Tourism Policy which was based on extensive consultations with private and public sector interests across the Eastern Caribbean.

of the people of the region and to respond to the threats to this aspiration. The ODS is also in fulfilment of the Economic Union Protocol. It is for the period 2019-2028 and is complemented by an Action Plan which is to be reviewed and updated in 2022.

It was the first harmonised policy to be developed in keeping with the Economic Union Protocol. Its aim was to gradually harmonise the tourism policies of the Member States in order, “to achieve more than the individual states can achieve on their own, to progress towards a sustainable and self-sufficient tourism economy, and to contribute towards a wider understanding and awareness of the value of tourism amongst governments, officials and residents of Member States.”

Tourism development initiatives, for example joint marketing and product development, and ease of travel within the region by air and sea, are a fundamental part of the ODS. In January 2019, OECS Ministers of Tourism, agreed to a tourism work plan that includes activities for community tourism and the enhancement of joint tourism marketing and promotion.

Since the adoption of the Common Tourism Policy, two other initiatives have been added to the efforts of the OECS to strengthen the tourism industry in its Member States. In 2018, the OECS adopted the OECS Development Strategy (ODS) which outlines major policies that will be pursued by the Member States to achieve the social and economic betterment Page 40


1. The World Banana Economy 1985-2002: Pedro Arias; Barnes & Noble, Google Books 2. Eastern Caribbean Currency Union: Selected Issues; IMF March 2007






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Functional Cooperation in Health

BUILDING ONE COMMUNITY for medicines that they would have had to if the PPS had not existed. The programme has also ensured that medical products meet the required quality standards and that they are not in short supply. Another noteworthy achievement is the leading role that the PPS is playing to combat HIV/AIDS in Eastern Caribbean countries. By acquiring drugs for the treatment, prevention and containment of the disease from international agencies, the PPS has made them affordable and easily available for distribution throughout the OECS. HISTORY

In the opening paragraph of the Protocol of the Revised Treaty of Basseterre establishing the Economic Union, the Governments of the Eastern Caribbean States declared their determination to establish “the foundation of a closer union among the peoples of the Eastern Caribbean”. This declaration expresses their recognition that their people are in fact already united, are already one people and one community; and it affirms their undertaking to strengthen that community and make it more united through the bonds of the OECS. The OECS has been developing these bonds in a variety of areas like health, education, the environment, civil aviation, the judiciary, defence and security and telecommunications.



In 1986, the governments of the seven Full Member States of the OECS established a Pharmaceutical Procurement Service (PPS) to bulk purchase medicines and medical equipment on behalf of the Member States. There were two objectives behind that decision: the first was to strengthen their negotiating power to deal with pharmaceutical companies by purchasing medical supplies as a unit, instead of doing so individually; and the second was to make medical products more affordable for the people of the Member States. The PPS has proven to be one of the most successful programmes of the OECS because of its direct and significant impact on the lives of the people of the Eastern Caribbean region. Consumers in the OECS are paying considerably less Page 43

The programme has provided another form of support to the health services in the seven Protocol Member States through the organisation of training programmes for health professionals that enable them to improve the delivery of healthcare. The Member States have derived financial benefits from the PPS through the savings on the cost of drugs – estimated at EC$10 million annually – and through financial surpluses it has been able to redistribute to the seven Protocol Member States. The PPS is self-financing as it charges a small administrative fee for its services.

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The regional approach to managing critical health issues that are common to all the countries has attracted international assistance for illnesses other than HIV/AIDS. In 2018, the World Diabetes Foundation (WDF) provided US$400,000 to the OECS for a two-year “OECS Diabetes Prevention and Care Project” that was expected to train approximately 300 senior level health care professionals, provide comprehensive care and follow-up to 7,500 diabetes patients in the five islands involved in the project; and establish or strengthen four diabetes clinics in each of the islands. A second project funded by the World Diabetes Foundation, “Diabetes in Disasters in Eastern Caribbean Island States”, aimed at addressing and mitigating risks due to natural disasters and subsequent disruption of health care for people with diabetes and other non-communicable diseases. The WDF has provided US$374,917 for the two-year project which began in 2019. Membership in the OECS of the French Overseas Departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe has also facilitated OECS Commission’s efforts to institute health care cooperation programmes between OECS Member States and these Departments. Of particular concern was the high cost and the administrative hurdles for non-French nationals. For decades, nationals of the original OECS Member States travelled to Martinique and Guadeloupe to seek medical care that was not available in their home countries. Overtime, the costs became prohibitive and the application process burdensome. Formal cooperation between the French Overseas Departments and the other OECS Member States began in November 2017 when the OECS Council of Ministers of Health, at a meeting in Martinique in November 2017 issued the Fort De France Declaration on Health affirming the commitment to regional solidarity in health care.

Functional Cooperation in Health


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Desirous of pursuing regional approaches to the growing problem of non-communicable diseases within the region; Understanding the need for the consideration of Health In All Policies; Endorsing the four pillars of the OGDS Health Agenda 2017 to 2030. 1. Healthy Environments and Health Empowerment. 2. Equity in Access to Sustainable Quality Healthcare Services.
 3. Accessible Information for Strategic Governance of Health Systems. 4. Long-term Investment in the Health Sector. Now therefore, we commit to the following actions through existing or new mechanisms geared toward the realisation of Health for All: 1. Share Health Human Resources; 2. Facilitate pooled procurement of health equipment and services; 3. Collect and share the relevant information to drive the strategic direction of health including quality and outcome indicators; 4. Develop and implement common policy and legislative approaches in health; 5. Develop and disseminate common messages on healthy living; 6. Create healthy environments through appropriate planning, development and community engagement; 7. Prioritise prevention and primary care particularly for non communicable diseases; 8. Share access to specialised services; 9. Jointly prepare for and respond to health emergencies; and 10. Share Best Practices and conduct common research.


We the OECS Ministers of Health attending the fourth (4th) Meeting of the Council of Ministers Health held at Fort de France in Martinique on November 10th 2017. Acknowledging the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health as articulated by the World Health Organisation; Recognising the social and economic cost of disease and disability, as well as the rising cost of Healthcare Services and the susceptibility of vulnerable populations in the Member States of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States; Cognisant of the vulnerabilities of our Member States to health emergencies, including outbreaks, climate change and natural disasters. Recognising health as an economic contributor and a driver of investor and visitor confidence in our region; Recalling the Revised Treaty of Basseterre establishing the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Economic union, free movement in Protocol Member States, a common approach to social policy and an emphasis on functional cooperation; Noting the right of OECS citizens of the Protocol Member States to access primary and secondary public healthcare services in all Protocol Member States; Recalling the desire of Protocol Member States to undertake a co-operative approach to develop sustainable and resilient health systems, policies and infrastructure. Cognisant of the 2030 health related Sustainable Development Goals; Noting that “A Healthy Caribbean” is one of the four priority areas in the United Nations Multi—Country Sustainable Development Framework in the Caribbean (UN MSDAF- Caribbean) 2017-2021; Building on 31 years of pooled procurement of medicines and medical supplies and a history of regional responses to infectious, communicable diseases including HIV and TB within the OECS;

Concrete steps in that direction commenced about one year later with the launching, in Saint Lucia in October 2018 of the INTERREG CARES (Cooperation, Accessibility, Referrals, E-Information System) initiative - a €5 million project funded by the European Union to deepen cooperation and health care in the region. The project’s objectives: • Improve access for OECS nationals to the health services of the French Departments through the harmonisation of fees and billing procedures, the creation of a unique identification number for patients of the OECS and the coordination of medical data-sharing. • Focus on improving health care for every citizen of the OECS; • Improve health the region;





• Initiate 17 essential medical projects in telemedicine, anticipated cancer screening and treatments through new technologies, screening of sickle cell anaemia and HIV, orthopaedic surgeries, paediatric surgery, cardiology, ophthalmology, emergency treatments, access to medical labs and assistance to the elderly. The two-year project is led by the regional health agency of Guadeloupe and includes several public and private health organisations in Guadeloupe and Martinique. Page 46

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Through these education reform plans, the OECS has developed common curricula; trained teachers; strengthened management of Ministries of Education through common management practices; attracted technical and financial resources from international development agencies for education development in the region; provided model education legislation; and offered general guidance for the development of education in the Member States.


Cooperation in education by the Member States of the OECS commenced in 1992. In that year, OECS Governments accepted a ten-year strategy for reform of the education system in their respective country that was called Foundations For the Future (FFF). FFF (1991 – 2000) concentrated on harmonising education systems at all levels throughout the region; the terms and conditions of service of teachers; administration and management and financing education. In order to coordinate and implement the FFF strategy, in 1993 the Education Reform Unit (OERU) was established within the then OECS Secretariat. It was later renamed the Education Development Management Unit (EDMU). The FFF strategy was revised in 2000 and another ten-year plan – Pillars for Partnership and Progress (PPP) was instituted.

Eastern Caribbean Governments have been addressing their agreement in the Economic Union Protocol to harmonise policies in education. In Article 22 of the Revised Treaty, the Governments of the OECS commit to providing “fair and equitable access to inclusive education and training opportunities for all citizens.’’ The vision of the OESS is “every learner succeeds” so that “all citizens, at every stage of the learning journey, from early years to adulthood are able to reach their full potential and be successful in life, work and in society”. The attainment of better quality education throughout the OECS will contribute to the economic and social development of all the countries which is the goal of the economic union.

In May 2012, the Council of Ministers of Education adopted a new regional plan for education – the OECS Education Sector Strategy (OESS) which builds upon the earlier reform plans (FFF and PPP) and guides the development of education in the region for the decade 2012 - 2021. OESS was timely as it has been the mechanism through which Page 47

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One of these projects was: The OECS Protected Areas and Sustainable Livelihoods Project (OPAAL). Its aim was to contribute to the conservation of biodiversity (the varied forms of life) in Member States that were considered of global importance. This was to be done by improving the management of protected areas of the environment and fostering more civil society and the private sector involvement in the planning, management and sustainable use of those areas. The project was executed from 2004 to 2014 in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines with US$7.57 million provided by the Fonds Français de l‘Environnement Mondial, the Global Environment Facility/ World Bank and the Organisation of American States (OAS). Among its achievements were: obtaining a vessel for the Saint Lucian National Trust to better monitor the Pointe Sable Environmental Protection Area in Saint Lucia; the renovation of three interpretation centres to enhance eco- tourism activities, signage at twelve eco-tourism sites; public awareness and education programmes in Page 49


In September 1999, OECS Ministers of the Environment mandated the NRMU to prepare a regional strategy for environmental management in the region. Out of this was fashioned the St. George’s Declaration of Principles for Environmental Sustainability in the OECS, which was signed in April 2001 and has guided the Member States and the OECS Commission in their work on environmental and natural resource management. The St George’s Declaration comprises 21 principles, each of which contain specific actions for the Member States to undertake. In 2002, the NRMU prepared an environmental management strategy which provided guidelines on how the St George’s Declaration was to be implemented.

By the time Economic Union Protocol came into being, the OECS countries together, had already developed a framework for regional action on environmental matters and, in addition, had been implementing a number of projects aimed at improving the management of the environment in the Region.


As a result, in 1986, a Natural Resources Management Unit (NRMU) was established within the OECS Secretariat to provide technical support and advice to Member States on environmental issues.

This was followed by assistance to each Member State on the preparation of their own national environmental strategy for the St. George’s Declaration.


The preservation of the environment is of paramount importance to the islands of the Eastern Caribbean since, as small island developing states (SIDS), they are particularly vulnerable to the effects of unusual changes in the global climate and environment. Given all the islands share the same natural resource base – the Caribbean Sea – and environmental issues are no different from one island to another, pushed them from the early years of the OECS’ existence to cooperate on environmental matters and implement sound environmental policies and management actions.

St. Kitts and Nevis, Grenada and Dominica. The production of documentaries on the Central Forest Reserve of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Annandale and Grand Etang forest reserves in Grenada; a public awareness campaign consisting of a jingle, two television and four radio public service announcements and a half hour documentary to highlight the role of protected areas in biodiversity conservation in the OECS; the completion of a study, with a ten-year plan on the sustainable financing of protected areas in the region. The Economic Union Protocol recognises that it is essential for the OECS to continue coordinated action on the environment. Consequently, in Article 24 of the Revised Treaty – Environmental Sustainability – the Protocol Member States agree to “implement the St. George’s Declaration of Principles for Environmental Sustainability in the OECS, to minimise environmental vulnerability, improve environmental management and protect the region’s natural (including historical and cultural) resource base for optimal social and economic benefits for Member States.” The powerful hurricanes which have devastated the region in the first two decades of the 21st-century have made this more urgent as they are a harsh reminder of the severe vulnerability of the Eastern Caribbean islands. The enormity of the task of environmental conservation and protection, both in terms of human and financial resources, in the face of the gravity of the effects of climate change, has caused it to be an imperative for a common regional approach by the OECS.

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The OECS Commission has been implementing new projects to assist Member States meet the challenge and their responsibilities under the Economic Union Protocol. One of these, the iLand Resilience Project, is a specific response to Article 24 of the Revised Treaty: The seven-year project (2014 to 2020) was funded by the European Union at a cost of EC$11,222,220 with the objective of enabling each OECS Member State to implement the St. George’s Declaration and so fulfil the provisions of Article 24 of the Economic Union Protocol. The project aims at improving the capacity of the region’s natural resource base to withstand the impact of climate change through more effective and sustainable land management practices. For the OECS, there are six aspects to Sustainable Land Management.


(i) Proper urban and rural planning for sectors such as tourism, housing, agriculture and forestry; (ii) Food SecuritySustainable fishing, agriculture, Social Management and land management; (iii) Environmental Protection- Protecting functional ecosystems in the interior, along Coastlines and within the oceans; Managing disposal of waste, pollution and preserving biodiversity; (iv) Managing Natural Resources- energy, water, land biodiversity; (v) Disaster Risk Management – Building resilience to hurricanes/ storms, flooding and drought; and (vi) Economic Activity – tourism, business practices. The project also aimed at enabling the OECS Commission to better administer and manage its climate change programmes; and improve awareness and public education on climate change issues in the OECS.

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The West Indies Associated States Supreme Court Every society needs a justice system to administer and was renamed the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and regulate the laws that are necessary for the orderly continued to be regarded as an institution of the new OECS, functioning. The administration of justice must be fair, although this was not stated in the Treaty of Basseterre. impartial and independent of the authorities who create the laws. Achieving this situation in very small societies like The Original Treaty simply listed the Judiciary as one of those of the islands of the Eastern Caribbean is a challenge the fields for cooperation, harmonisation and the pursuit that the Eastern Caribbean countries have overcome by of joint policies. On the other hand, the Revised Treaty pooling their resources to maintain one judicial system for of Basseterre, setting up the Economic Union, specifically all the countries. recognises the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) as one of the three institutions of the Organisation, the Indeed, one of the first areas of cooperation in the OECS others being the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and the was that of the Judiciary or Judicial matters and this was Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority. The Court has inherited from its predecessor, the West Indies Associated jurisdiction over the Revised Treaty. States Council of Ministers (WISA Council). At the time of the formation of the WISA Council in 1967, the Windward The headquarters of the ECSC is in Saint Lucia where the and Leeward Islands shared a common supreme court – Chief Justice resides along with five Appeal Court Judges the Supreme Court of the Windward Islands and Leeward but the sittings of the Appeal Court are rotated among Islands – and a common appeal court – the Court of Appeal the Member States. However, a Judge of the Courts’ High of the Windward Islands and Leeward Islands that was Court Division is based in each Member State. The Judges established for its colonies by the British Government in are appointed by a regional body – the Judicial and Legal 1939. With the new constitutional status of Statehood in Services Commission- and are chosen from the Member Association with Britain, which was given to the Windward States. The operational costs of the Commission and the and Leeward islands in 1967, the Windward and Leeward Court are met jointly by all the States. By pooling their Islands Supreme and Appeal Courts were converted into a human and financial resources, the OECS Member States single court “The West Indies Associated States Supreme are able to secure the best available talent for the Court Court”, consisting of a Court of Appeal and a High Court. and to maintain the Court. The fact that the ECSC was fifty The Court became an institution of the WISA Council of years old in 2017 and that it developed from a regional Ministers. When all the islands moved from Associated court that began in 1939 attests to the value of the regional Statehood to Independence and the WISA Council evolved integration of the judiciary for the Eastern Caribbean States. into the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States in 1981, Notes 1. The OECS Associate Member States of Martinique and Guadeloupe are not members of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. Page 52

Functional Cooperation in Civil Aviation


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Functional Cooperation in Defence and Security


Civil Aviation is the business of transporting people and goods by non-military aircraft. It also includes the infrastructure for flying – that is, airports and air navigation facilities and the manufacturing of aircrafts. The air transport industry in a country has to be controlled and regulated to ensure safety standards and the protection of persons when they fly. To carry out this responsibility of regulating the air transportation industry in their territories, countries maintain a civil aviation authority.

In 2003, Ministers of Civil Aviation of the OECS signed an Agreement establishing the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA), transforming the Directorate of Civil Aviation of the Organisation into a self-financed, fully autonomous authority for the regulation of civil aviation matters in the Member States. It is overseen by a Board of Directors and led by a Director General, and according to the Agreement establishing ECCAA, its purpose is “to establish and maintain a regulatory environment that promotes safety and efficiency in the civil aviation industry of the participating States.”


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The International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) is made up of countries from around the world and through it they The ECCAA is based in Antigua and Barbuda and it advises work together to establish common standards and practices the Member Governments on airfields, air services, airport for civil aviation that they all observe. developments; it regulates civil aviation in all seven Protocol Member States through inspections, investigations, In the Eastern Caribbean, the seven Protocol Member monitoring and licensing of civil aviation activities; it States of the OECS have established a single organisation investigates civil aviation accidents in the Eastern Caribbean, to regulate civil aviation matters in their countries. and ensures that the seven Protocol Member States observe Cooperation in civil aviation by the seven Protocol Member International Civil Aviation regulations. States is as old as their cooperation in judicial matters and goes back to their colonial days under the British. In In March 2006, ECCAA registered a significant achievement 1957, the UK Government appointed the first Director of when the US Federal Aviation Authority (USFAA) accorded Civil Aviation for the Windward and Leeward Islands as part it Category One Status. This meant that airline companies of the UK Civil Aviation Department of the UK Board of registered in the OECS, like the regional airline LIAT, can Trade to provide advisory services to the islands. When seek approval from the USFAA to operate in US markets the WISA Council of Ministers was formed in 1967, the UK and can team up with US airlines to bring passengers to the relinquished that role and the Directorate of Civil Aviation region. The Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority is became an institution of the WISA Council with the Director listed as one of the Institutions of the OECS in the Economic receiving his authority from each Member State’s Civil Union Treaty. Aviation Minister to regulate civil aviation matters in that state in keeping with ICAO conventions. This continued Notes 1. The OECS Member States of Montserrat, the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Martinique and Guadeloupe are not members of the Eastern Caribbean with the formation of the OECS in 1981. Civil Aviation Authority.


Like the areas of the Judiciary and Civil Aviation, cooperation in defence and security matters commenced with the WISA Council of Ministers when the Council recognised the need for a regional coastguard service to protect the maritime resources of the islands, counter smuggling and carry out search and rescue operations since each island was unable to effectively carry out these functions individually given the extent of their maritime areas and their limited resources. In October 1980 therefore, the Council established a regional planning committee to devise a plan for such a service. The plan proposed that Barbados should also be involved in the arrangements and on 29 October 1982, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on security and military cooperation was signed between Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. St. Kitts and Nevis became a signatory in February 1984 and Grenada in January 1985. The MOU provided for the countries to assist each other in national emergencies, threats to national security, maritime policing and the prevention of smuggling. The arrangements came to be known as the Regional Security System – RSS – with a Council of Ministers made up of the Defence Ministers of each Member State and responsible for policy-making and a central liaison office located in Barbados under the leadership of a Regional Security Coordinator, acting as a coordinating secretariat.

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Functional Cooperation in Telecommunications

A Treaty replacing the MOU and establishing the RSS as an international organisation in its own right was signed in St George’s, Grenada on 5 March 1996. Despite the RSS Treaty and the fact that Barbados is not a member of the OECS, cooperation in security matters has been an integral part of the original and revised treaties forming the OECS.


The activities of the RSS fall in three components: maritime, air and land. The RSS maintains an air wing while the coast guard and paramilitary police and defence force units in each island are linked through the system so that they can engage in joint operations when necessary. In October 1983, just one year after its formation, the land forces of the RSS undertook its first major operation when they participated in the United States-led intervention in Grenada against a faction of the Government that had overthrown and assassinated Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and some members of his Cabinet of Ministers. Since then, maritime surveillance, search and rescue, and disaster relief operations have dominated RSS activities and the organisation has been particularly critical in relief efforts in Member States that have been devastated by hurricanes.


The most notable situations have been Hurricane Hugo, 1989 (Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis and Montserrat); Hurricanes Luis and Marilyn, 1995 (Antigua and Barbuda and St. Kitts and Nevis), Hurricane Georges, 1989 (St. Kitts and Nevis); Hurricane Ivan, 2004 (Grenada); Hurricane Thomas, 2011 (St. Vincent and the Grenadines); Hurricane Erica, 2015 (Dominica), Hurricane Irma, 2017 (Antigua In the 1981 Treaty of Basseterre, Article 8 created a Defence and Barbuda, Anguilla, the BVI) and Hurricane Maria, 2017 and Security Committee with responsibility for collective (Dominica). The RSS motto: “Strength in Unity” is an apt defence, the preservation of peace and security and the description of its value to the countries that it services. development of close ties between the Member States in external defence and security matters. In the 2010 Revised Treaty, the Member States agreed to “endeavour to coordinate, harmonise and undertake joint actions and pursue joint policies in the field of mutual defence and security (including police and prisons)”.



Telecommunications is the sharing of communications over a distance. The revolution in information technology and communications, which began in the closing decades of the 20th century, has turned the field of telecommunications into a huge global industry that has impacted every country in the world having changed businesses and lifestyles everywhere. With today’s technologies, time and distance are no longer barriers to speedy communication. Perhaps, the most powerful symbols of the telecommunications revolution are the Internet and the mobile telephone.

As telecommunications changed and expanded rapidly and became increasingly vital to economic development, governments around the world found it necessary to regulate the industry to enable fair and full competition and to protect the interests of the public. The governments of the Eastern Caribbean countries were no exception. In 1998, a World Bank review of the telecommunications industry in the seven Protocol Member States of the OECS showed the sector was dominated by a single company that possessed a virtual monopoly for the provision of telecommunication services. Consequently, the high prices consumers paid for these services were not based on actual costs and generated excessive profits for the company. It found that the quality of service was often well below the expected average and with outdated laws it was difficult for new service providers to enter the market. Regulation of the industry was managed by different government departments in each country which were inadequately staffed for the tasks they needed to perform. Five members of the OECS – Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with the assistance of the World Bank, decided to join to reform their respective telecommunications sector. On 4 May 2000 they signed an agreement establishing the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) – a regional body empowered to provide legal and technical advice to the governments on all areas of telecommunications. It was a unique achievement since, for the first time, governments were ceding some regulation of the telecommunications industry to a regional organisation.

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ECTEL sets policy and guides the management and development of the telecommunications industry in the participating Member States. With the advent of ECTEL, the monopoly in the Eastern Caribbean telecommunications industry was broken as new companies were allowed entry into the market; consumers in the participating Member States gained better choices and prices, as well as greater access to telecommunication services. The number of internet and mobile phone users increased steeply in all ECTEL countries during the first five years after deregulation while the fees for international telephone calls declined just as sharply.


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According to a study on the history of ECTEL by Edgardo Favaro, in Dominica for example, from 2000-2004, the number of internet users increased by 208 percent, the number of mobile phone subscribers per 1000, jumped by 3,341.2 percent while in Saint Lucia that number went up by 3,450.0 percent. In addition to its positive impact on consumers, ECTEL has again demonstrated the benefit of regional integration for the Eastern Caribbean States for it brought together and utilised a talented pool of technical Notes experts which each Member State would have found 1. Small States, Smart Solutions: Improving Connectivity and Increasing impossible to acquire on its own. ECTEL has therefore the Effectiveness of Public Services, Edgardo Favaro, World Bank Publications, 2008 revolutionised the telecommunications industry in the Eastern Caribbean. ECTEL consists of a Council of Ministers, KEY WORDS FOR FURTHER REFERENCE a Board of Directors and national telecommunications regulatory commissions in ECTEL countries. ▪ Biodiversity ▪ Ecosystems The ECTEL Secretariat is based in Saint Lucia and is headed ▪ ICAO by a Managing Director. It is funded from license and ▪ ST. GEORGE’S DECLARATION spectrum fees. ▪ Sustainable Development

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Shared Future


The admission of the French Departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe into the OECS was as pivotal for the integration process as was the adoption of the Economic Union Protocol of the Revised Treaty of Basseterre. Their membership widened the Eastern Caribbean regional integration movement in a direction that had not been foreseen by its founders – the inclusion of non-English Page 61


speaking Caribbean islands which are formally part of a metropolitan country – France. The Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, in his speech on the occasion of the admission of Guadeloupe into the OECS in March 2019 stated that its membership and that of Martinique in the OECS represented “the maturation of the OECS”. The OECS had matured because it decided to pursue the difficult enterprise of simultaneously deepening (through economic union) and broadening (through French Caribbean membership) Eastern Caribbean integration. Can this be successfully accomplished? Should it have been undertaken at that The functional integration which the OECS provided has been juncture, particularly as it is being regarded as containing successful because it has brought tangible benefits to both the profound implications not only for the OECS but also people and the governments of the OECS. It is this success for the larger Caribbean integration movement itself? that led to the further deepening of regional integration through the creation of the Economic Union in 2010. It is now the task of a new generation of leaders and people of the Eastern Caribbean to work towards the full implementation of the Economic Union Protocol so that its promises of social and economic development and environmental stability for the benefit of the people of the Eastern Caribbean can be realised.


The leaders of the governments of the seven Eastern Caribbean States who first embarked on the journey of the regional integration of their islands in 1967, began with a modest building block – an informal council by which they met to plan and advance their goal of a united Eastern Caribbean. Over five decades, they and other generations of leaders, public service officials, and citizens continued to build on the advances made; and an informal institution grew into a formal regional organisation encompassing cooperation in a variety of important functional areas fuelled by the desire for full economic integration.

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Whatever the variation in the course of regional integration by the OECS, its fundamental goal has to remain “the closer union of the peoples of the Eastern Caribbean” as was first stated in the Preamble of the 1968 ECCM Agreement and reaffirmed in the Preamble of the Economic Union Protocol to the Revised Treaty of Basseterre. The lessons of the preceding decades are that this can be accomplished; the foundations have been firmly set; and that by continuing to build together, the full union of the Eastern Caribbean can be achieved for the good of all and to the disadvantage of none. Page 63


…..Our Caribbean experience teaches that concentric circles of integration are permissible and practical, each complementing or supplementing one another with their relevant points of contact, joinder, or association. Is the evolving OECS a path-breaker or harbinger for the future in this regard... The maturation of the OECS embraces practically the variable geometry of integration as made manifest in its welcoming of Martinique and Guadeloupe to associate membership.”


According to Dr. Gonsalves: “Before our very eyes, the regional integration movement is being transformed with the entry of both Martinique and Guadeloupe as Associate Members of the OECS. Is Barbados next? What about French St. Martin and the territories which are called “the Dutch Antilles”? Is there emerging an enlarged south-eastern and northeastern pole of regional integration? How would Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Barbados react to all this in any reordering of regional integration? Would there be a reconfiguring of CARICOM itself with the emergence of a north-western integrated pole of Jamaica, the Bahamas, Haiti, and perhaps the Dominican Republic - and in time, Cuba and Puerto Rico? Would the altered, and altering, global political economy, its knock-on regional reverberations, and regional homegrown alterations demand a reordering of the regional integration movement to accommodate a flexible variable geometry of integration as the circumstances admit?

The newly designed OECS Regional Integration Resource Booklet seeks to raise awareness on the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the many benefits of regional integration amongst secondary school students throughout the region. In a fully illustrated and easy to read format, the booklet also identifies lessons for teachers. The overall goal is to foster the creation of an “OECS and Caribbean identity.” The Resource Booklet was co-funded by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Eastern Caribbean Office, in partnership with the OECS Commission.

ISBN 978-976-635-094-9