Accelerate the Agenda for Regional Integration

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Fellow Citizens of the OECS,
On 18th June 1981, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States was formed with the signing of the Treaty of Basseterre by leaders of the Eastern Caribbean who represented a wide political spectrum. Among the persons signing were Maurice Bishop of Grenada and Eugenia Charles of Dominica who, despite the wide ideological divide between them, were visionary enough to embrace the things that could unite us.

Today we celebrate 35 years of that historic initiative. In the wake of this anniversary in 2016, we are also celebrating 15 years since the formation of ECTEL, the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, and 5 years since the signing of the Revised Treaty of Basseterre. Then in February 2017, we will be celebrating 50 years since the formation of the OECS Supreme Court.

The great vision of the Revised Treaty of Basseterre is the creation of a single economic and domestic space. This involves the free movement of people, goods, services and capital across the member states; the harmonization of policies in trade, monetary policy, social welfare, health and a range of areas. In other words, it is about bringing together our collective strengths to overcome our individual weaknesses.

Look at what is happening all over the world. In Asia, the Pacific and Africa, advancing economies, who are intense competitors, are creating regional trading blocs and defining new areas of cooperation so that they can be more competitive in the wider global space. This is the name of the new global game: building regional cooperation in order to be more globally competitive. In every phase of our own history we have learned that we are stronger together; that a house divided against itself cannot stand, but we continue to maintain the illusion that each of us can stand alone and succeed.

For more, click to see the full issue of OECS Business Focus.