Launch of the OECS Economic Affairs Council in Saint Lucia
CASTRIES, Saint Lucia -- The principal organ of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Economic Union, the Economic Affairs Council (EAC), has been established. The official launch took place on Thursday, June 12, in Saint Lucia. One of its main aims is to assist in ensuring that the region benefits from the OECS Economic Union through rights such as the free movement of persons, goods and services.
The EAC 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, and facilitating the establishment of closer links with other countries and with international organisations.
According to The Revised Treaty of Basseterre, which gave life to the OECS Economic Union in 2011, the powers of implementation of the Economic Union shall be vested in the OECS EAC, acting on the direction of the OECS Authority, and that the EAC may, subject to this direction, delegate to the OECS Commission such powers as it thinks fit. The EAC is a key facilitator which ensures that the people of the region enjoy the benefits of the OECS Economic Union.
The EAC comprises OECS member states, represented by ministers of government who are selected by the head of government of each OECS member state. The OECS Commission’s Regional Integration Unit expects increased activity on the further deepening of economic integration following Thursday’s historic convening of the OECS Economic Affairs Council.
During Thursday’s launch the EAC was encouraged to consider further innovative actions that yield more cost effective results and boost economic activity and a better quality of life within the region.
Addressing the EAC, the director general of the OECS Commission, Dr Didacus Jules, referred to the rising food import bill which is a significant financial burden for OECS member states. In this regard, Jules, among his recommendations, suggested greater investment in home grown commodities which have significant nutritional value.
Dominica’s Colin McIntyre, who chairs the EAC, noted the need for careful consideration of regional priorities to help ensure that people of the OECS benefit from the Economic Union, particularly as it relates to the OECS growth and development strategy.
The inauguration of the EAC completes the implementation of five principal organs that support the OECS Economic Union. Besides the OECS Economic Affairs Council, already in place are the OECS Authority of heads of government, the OECS Council of Ministers, the OECS Assembly and the OECS Commission.