ORGANISATION OF EASTERN CARIBBEAN STATES (OECS)
OECS Central Secretariat Telephone: (758)452-2537 P.O. Box 179 (758)452-2538 Morne Fortune Facsimile: (758)453-1628 Castries E-Mail: email@example.com St. Lucia Internet: www.oecs.org Director General: ... Ms. Len ISHMAEL
ESTABLISHMENT AND FUNCTIONS
The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) came into being on June 18, 1981, when seven Eastern Caribbean countries signed a treaty agreeing to co-operate with each other and promote unity and solidarity among the Members. The Treaty beame known as the Treaty of Basseterre, so named in honor of the capital city of St. Kitts and Nevis where it was signed.
Following the collapse of the West Indies Federation and prior to the signing of the Treaty of Basseterre, two caretaker bodies were created: the West Indies Associated States Council of Ministers (WISA) in 1966 and the Eastern Caribbean Common Market (ECCM) in 1968.
As the islands gained their independence from Britain, it became evident that there was need for a more formal arrangement to assist with their development efforts. So it was that the OECS was established. The WISA Secretariat became the Central Secretariat of the OECS and the ECCM, the Economic Affairs Secretariat.
In mid-1997, as a result of restructuring of the organization, the Economic Affairs Secretariat was merged into and became a division of the OECS Secretariat in St. Lucia.
The objectives of the Organisation, as set out in the Treaty of Bassetterre is to promote co-operation among the Member States and to defend their sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence; to assist Member States in the realization of their obligations and responsiblities to the international community with due regard to the role of international law as a standard of conduct in their relationships; to establish and maintain wherever possible, arrangements for joint overseas representation and common services; to promote economic integration among the Member States.
The OECS functions in a rapidly changing international economic environment, characterised by globalisation and trade liberalisation which are posing serious challenges to the economic and social stability of their small island members. It is the purpose of the Organisation to assist its Members to respond to these multi-faceted challenges by identifying scope for joint or coordinated action towards the economic and social advancement of their countries.
9 Member States: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
The functions of the Organisation are set out in the Treaty of Basseterre and are co-ordinated by the Secretariat under the direction and management of the Director General.
The restructuring of the Secretariat was informed by considerations of cost effectiveness in the context of the need to respond to the increasing challenges placed on it, taking into account the limited fiscal capacities of its members. The Secretariat consists of four main Divisions responsible for: External Relations, Functional Cooperation, Corporate Services and Economic Affairs. These four Divisions oversee the work of a number of specialised institutions, work units or projects located in six countries - Antigua/Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica, St Lucia, Belgium, Canada, and the United States of America.
In carrying out its mission, the OECS works along with a number of sub-regional and regional agencies and institutions. These include the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB); the Caribbean Community (Caricom) Secretariat; the Caricom Regional Negotiating Machinery (RNM) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
For a list of publications, visit the web-site at www.oecs.org
UPDATED: December 2003