OECS celebrates its 41st Anniversary
THE ORGANISATION of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), observed its 41st Anniversary on June 18, 2022 with celebrations held under the theme, ‘41 Years of Integration: Overcoming Challenges to Build Resilience and Sustainability.’ In a release the sub-regional grouping which has its Secretariat in St Lucia said the commemoration activities included a thanksgiving service held at the St Benedict Catholic Church in Morne Fortune, Castries on June 13.
June 17 was designated OECS Colours Day during which individuals were encouraged to post their OECS coloured outfits via social media using the hashtag #OECSDAY . Widespread participation for Colours Day came from schools, ministries, businesses and citizens across the OECS, with many creative displays in celebration of the anniversary. OECS director general, Dr. Didacus Jules led a team to engage in two school visits for Colours Day at the Desruisseaux RC Combined School, and the Grande Riviere Secondary School in St Lucia. During the visits, students got the invaluable opportunity to learn about the OECS, and discuss its benefits to them and their country, the release states.
The celebrations continued on Saturday, June 18 with an official Flag Raising Ceremony in commemoration of the 41st Anniversary of the OECS. This was addressed by Chairman of the OECS Authority, Dr. Keith Mitchell, prime minister of Grenada. In his address, prime minister Mitchell spoke to the many achievements of the OECS that “Illustrate the strength and resilience of our integration movement, particularly in a global environment where the uniqueness and inherent vulnerabilities of Small Island Developing States, are not considered a priority for all.’’ He challenged the sub-grouping to overcome all future and unforeseen challenges by remaining competitive, responsive and relevant”.
The OECS chair said further that, “as we go into the future, our commitment to economic harmonisation and integration, protection of human and legal rights and the encouragement of good governance among our independent and non-independent countries remains embodied within our compass.With our Revised Treaty of Basseterre, we must continue to increase the runs on the scorecard and remain responsive, competitive and relevant”.
He urged,”we must also continue to embrace gender equity, inclusion, empowerment of youth, digital innovation and entrepreneurship as cross-cutting and essential features of our integration movement.’’
A week of OECS Commission staff appreciation activities from June 17-July 1 will signal the end of celebrations for the 41st Anniversary of the OECS.
The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States came into being on June 18, 1981 when seven Eastern Caribbean countries signed a treaty agreeing to cooperate and promote unity and solidarity among the Members.The Treaty became known as the Treaty of Basseterre, named in honour of the capital city of St Kitts and Nevis where it was signed.
The 1981 Treaty was replaced in 2010 with a Revised Treaty of Basseterre, creating an economic union which is an agreement between countries where barriers to trade are reduced or removed for a single market with a customs union.
It was signed on June 18, 2010 in St Lucia during the 51st meeting of the Authority.
The revised treaty established a single financial and economic space where goods, people and capital move freely, and also allows the harmonisation of monetary and governmental policies relating to taxes and revenue.
The OECS currently comprises 11 full Member States and three Associate Members.