Director-General of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Secretariat, Dr. Len Ishmael says good progress is being made on the Free Movement of OECS citizens throughout the sub-region. However, she added, there are a few hurdles that need to be overcome to ensure the success of the regime.
Dr. Ishmael made this statement during a recent visit to Dominica, where she updated government officials on the status of the implementation of the OECS Economic Union and the Revised Treaty of Basseterre.
The OECS Economic Union constitutes a single financial and economic space within which all factors of production, goods, services and people will move throughout the islands without hinDr.ance.
August 1, 2011 heralded the Free movement of OECS citizens throughout the six independent countries.
Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Skitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines, agreed that from that date they would permit citizens of participating member states to enter their territories and remain for an indefinite period without restrictions. Citizens are therefore allowed to work, establish businesses, provide services and reside in any of the OECS countries.
Following her engagement with Prime Minister Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit and Cabinet Ministers, Dr. Ishmael told the media that immigration officials meet on a constant basis to discuss and rectify administrative and legal requirements.
“There is a working group comprising chief immigration officials who meet constantly and regularly to make sure that there is a harmonized approach to the implementation of treaty provisions across the OECS. We are quite confident that by June all the legislative amendments that are required to ensure facilitation of travel will in fact be discharged and be in place.”
The OECS Director General sees this Economic Union regime as a great opportunity for co-operation and integration among OECS Member countries.