January 27, 2006
OECS Integration, key to CARICOM Single Market and Economy

Higher levels of integration between St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the rest of the OECS member states will allow us to access and manage the Caribbean Single Market and Economy process much better than we could as a single state.

This was implied by Sir Dwight Venner, Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, while he was making his presentation of the 2005 Currency Union Economic Review.{{more}}

The Governor noted that deepening the integration process in the OECS is critical for the success of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy.

Sir Dwight stressed that the CSME is a vital stepping-stone to our strategic integration into the international economy, but we must be able to establish and assert our specific interests at the level of the CSME, so that these interests could be robustly represented beyond the region and into the international arena.

Sir Dwight noted that OECS countries have a very high level of integration far superior to that of the wider CARICOM, manifested in their common court, common currency and central bank, common stock exchange and common regulatory arrangements in the areas of commercial banking, civil aviation and telecommunications. He made reference to a number of sound policies which have arisen from recent work by local, OECS and international agencies, but described the lack of synchronization as a factor that diminishes the impact these policies can make on both local and regional economies.

He emphasised the fact that further deepening of the integration process will have greater advantages in increased economies of scale in administration, production and marketing and increased capacity to negotiate with other countries.

With a proposed upgrade to the Treaty of Basseterre to encompass an Economic Union slated for June 2006, Sir Dwight boasts that this is the highest form of integration short of full political integration for the OECS.