Ambassador Felix Gregoire voices concerns regarding OECS Economic Union

Press Release  GIS Dominica

Dominica’s Ambassador to CARICOM and the OECS, His Excellency Felix Gregoire is concerned that while Dominica has taken all legal and administrative measures with respect to the OECS Economic Union, some countries within the OECS region still have not done so.

The OECS Ambassador says the non action by some member states is causing unnecessary problems for the regional integration process.

“The Regional, Integration and Diaspora Affairs Unit which I head, has been on a campaign to educate Dominicans with respect to their obligations, and the privileges as it relates to the OECS Economic Union. We want our citizens to benefit from those arrangements however to date three countries within the OECS body have not conformed to the revised Treaty of Basseterre.”

The arrangements agreed by Member States to give effect to the Revised Treaty of Basseterre are for persons to enter the participating Member States without hindrance and remain for an indefinite period in order to work, establish businesses; provide services or to reside.

Ambassador Gregoire adds that in the case of OECS nationals being granted indefinite stay in another member territory, some OECS countries have not passed the necessary legislation.

“Antigua and Barbuda and St .Lucia have not passed the legislation to give effect to indefinite stay, so people will get other periods like six months instead of indefinite stay,” he said.

Ambassador Gregoire noted further that Dominican nationals seeking to work in countries such as Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada and St.Lucia still require work permits.

“A very important provision has to do with the work permit, where in the OECS countries, you do not need a work permit if you go to work in those countries. To date Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada and St. Lucia have not passed the legislation to make that happen. So while persons can come here (in Dominica) without a work permit to work, if nationals go to those three countries mentioned earlier to work they will have to get a work permit.”

January 2014 marked three years since the Independent Member Countries of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States commenced operation of the OECS Economic Union, a new development designed to enhance the way of life for people of the region in the long term.

The commencement of the OECS Economic Union followed the historic June 18th 2010 signing of the Revised Treaty of Basseterre.

The Treaty, which entered into force on January 21st 2011, creates a single economic and financial space covering participating OECS Member States, and sets the stage for deeper OECS integration.

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