Categorized | Local, News, Regional

Inaugural OECS Assembly in Antigua-Barbuda marches the OECS on

An adaptation  from Ellsworth I. A. John
OECS Commissioner for St Vincent and the Grenadines

Group picture of OECS Assembly

Thirty-nine parliamentarians from throughout the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) were scheduled to assemble in Antigua and Barbuda on Friday, August 10, 2012, for the inaugural meeting of the OECS Assembly, a new institution fashioned under the Revised Treaty of Basseterre Establishing the OECS Economic Union, which came into force in January, 2011.

This inaugural meeting of the OECS Assembly marked the achievement of yet another benchmark, as the OECS continues on its march to realise its objective of creating an effective economic union, which promises growth and economic development for its members and associate members.

Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines are full members of the OECS. Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands are associate members. This issue in terms of full membership still seems not clear even to many as Prime Minister in his address to the Assembly referred only to the sovereign states and include Montserrat in the others.

The OECS Assembly joins the OECS Commission as two new institutional arrangements designed to improve the governance arrangements in the OECS. By July 2011, the Commission, which is comprised of one commissioner from each member state party to the protocol plus the Director General, began operating.

One writer agrees, “There is already evidence after one year of operation, that both the secretariat of the commission and the member states are implementing mandates at a higher level of efficiency.”

 

He says this is evidenced by the coming into force of the free movement of persons in August 2011 and methodical approach being taken to monitor and evaluate the gains of the economic union with involvement by the critical stakeholders in the member states.

Article 5.3 of the Revised Treaty mandates the independent member states to enact legislation that delegate to the OECS the authority to legislate in its area of competence with the intention that the acts, regulation and orders have direct effect in the laws of the member states. In effect, once the Revised Treaty was passed into the domestic law in the member states, the OECS had the authority to pass laws in specified areas that were binding on the member states. This process can now begin with the establishment of the OECS Assembly.

The OECS Assembly, which is required to have among its members all of the prime ministers and leaders of the opposition, acts as a filter for all legislation passed by the OECS Authority. Persons have questioned whether the OECS Assembly has any real clout, given that the legislation is passed at the level of the prime ministers through the OECS Authority. The simple answer is yes. The substantive debate on proposed legislations will take place in the OECS Assembly, and it is the place to hear the voice of the people through their representatives.

The areas of legislative competence of the Organization are restricted to custom union, monetary policy, trade policy, maritime jurisdiction, common commercial policy, immigration policy and environmental policy. These are all areas where a collaborative approach can lead to significant changes in the wellbeing of the citizens of the OECS and it is therefore important that we remain engaged through our elected representatives in the work done through this legislative process.

Related stories:

http://www.themontserratreporter.com/inaugural-oecs-assembly-seals-regional-integration/

Editorial: http://www.themontserratreporter.com/discussions-education-and-information-will-mark-oecs-success/

 

Leave a Reply

TMR print pages

Newsletter

Archives

CARICOM – Staff Vacancy

CXC HEADQUARTERS - Executive Search

https://indd.adobe.com/embed/2b4deb22-cf03-4509-9bbd-938c7e8ecc7d

A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

An adaptation  from Ellsworth I. A. John
OECS Commissioner for St Vincent and the Grenadines

Group picture of OECS Assembly

Thirty-nine parliamentarians from throughout the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) were scheduled to assemble in Antigua and Barbuda on Friday, August 10, 2012, for the inaugural meeting of the OECS Assembly, a new institution fashioned under the Revised Treaty of Basseterre Establishing the OECS Economic Union, which came into force in January, 2011.

Insert Ads Here

This inaugural meeting of the OECS Assembly marked the achievement of yet another benchmark, as the OECS continues on its march to realise its objective of creating an effective economic union, which promises growth and economic development for its members and associate members.

Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines are full members of the OECS. Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands are associate members. This issue in terms of full membership still seems not clear even to many as Prime Minister in his address to the Assembly referred only to the sovereign states and include Montserrat in the others.

The OECS Assembly joins the OECS Commission as two new institutional arrangements designed to improve the governance arrangements in the OECS. By July 2011, the Commission, which is comprised of one commissioner from each member state party to the protocol plus the Director General, began operating.

One writer agrees, “There is already evidence after one year of operation, that both the secretariat of the commission and the member states are implementing mandates at a higher level of efficiency.”

 

He says this is evidenced by the coming into force of the free movement of persons in August 2011 and methodical approach being taken to monitor and evaluate the gains of the economic union with involvement by the critical stakeholders in the member states.

Article 5.3 of the Revised Treaty mandates the independent member states to enact legislation that delegate to the OECS the authority to legislate in its area of competence with the intention that the acts, regulation and orders have direct effect in the laws of the member states. In effect, once the Revised Treaty was passed into the domestic law in the member states, the OECS had the authority to pass laws in specified areas that were binding on the member states. This process can now begin with the establishment of the OECS Assembly.

The OECS Assembly, which is required to have among its members all of the prime ministers and leaders of the opposition, acts as a filter for all legislation passed by the OECS Authority. Persons have questioned whether the OECS Assembly has any real clout, given that the legislation is passed at the level of the prime ministers through the OECS Authority. The simple answer is yes. The substantive debate on proposed legislations will take place in the OECS Assembly, and it is the place to hear the voice of the people through their representatives.

The areas of legislative competence of the Organization are restricted to custom union, monetary policy, trade policy, maritime jurisdiction, common commercial policy, immigration policy and environmental policy. These are all areas where a collaborative approach can lead to significant changes in the wellbeing of the citizens of the OECS and it is therefore important that we remain engaged through our elected representatives in the work done through this legislative process.

Related stories:

http://www.themontserratreporter.com/inaugural-oecs-assembly-seals-regional-integration/

Editorial: http://www.themontserratreporter.com/discussions-education-and-information-will-mark-oecs-success/