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OECS Authority to convene its 59th meeting on Saturday in St Vincent
Published on July 26, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent -- The 59th meeting of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Authority and the first of two official OECS heads of government meetings for 2014, will be held on Saturday in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

A report on the initial sitting of the OECS Economic Affairs Council (EAC), a fundamental asset to the effective management of the OECS Economic Union, is among the agenda items for the OECS Authority this weekend.

The OECS Economic Affairs Council currently chaired by Dominica and inaugurated on June 12, 2014, in Saint Lucia, is responsible for supervising the application of the Economic Union Protocol and keeping its operation under review. It acts in an advisory capacity on a number of issues including member state action with regard to promoting attainment of the objectives of the OECS Economic Union including the free movement of OECS citizens. The EAC is also required to facilitate the establishment of closer links between the OECS Economic Union, other countries and international organisations.

The 59th meeting of the OECS Authority will deliberate on the establishment of the Eastern Caribbean Competition Commission -- an authority to regulate competition in the region. A common competition policy is envisaged within the protocol of the Eastern Caribbean Economic Union. The OECS initiative to establish the competition authority arises from a number of needs and obligations.

In addition to the obligations within Revised Treaty of Basseterre there is an obligation enshrined in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC) that all Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states establish national competition authorities to facilitate implementation of the competition rules established in chapter eight of the RTC.

CARICOM itself established the CARICOM Competition Commission (CCC) in 2008 to regulate cross-border anticompetitive business conduct within the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). Apart from their responsibilities within the domestic sphere, national authorities are also required to cooperate with the CCC to achieve compliance with competition rules, investigate allegations of anticompetitive business conduct referred to them by the CCC or competition authorities in other member states, and cooperate with these authorities in detection, prevention and information sharing relative to anticompetitive business conduct.

Within CARICOM it was agreed that the OECS would establish a single competition authority to serve as the national authority for all OECS member states, so permitting the region to pool its human and financial resources and manage more effectively the creation of a culture of competition in the OECS.

The 59th meeting of the OECS Authority is expected to discuss the work plan and budget for the OECS Commission, and it will also consider a date for the second official sitting of the OECS Assembly which is based in Antigua and Barbuda. The first official sitting of the OECS Assembly was held on March 26, 2013.

The OECS Authority will officially welcome for the first time the new prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne, who recently handed over the chairmanship of the OECS Authority to Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit. Skerrit will preside over Saturday’s meeting of the OECS Authority.
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