Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)
Founded in 1981 when seven eastern Caribbean states signed the Treaty of Basseterre agreeing to co-operate with each other to promote unity and solidarity among the members.
Members. Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines. Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands and Martinique have associate membership.
Functions. As set out in the Treaty of Basseterre: to promote co-operation among the member states and to defend their sovereignty and independence; to assist member states in the realization of their obligations and responsibilities to the international community with due regard to the role of international law as a standard of conduct in their relationships; to assist member states in the realization of their obligations and responsibilities to the international community with due regard to the role of international issues; to establish and maintain, where possible, arrangements for joint overseas representation and common services; to pursue these through its respective institutions by discussion of questions of common concern and by agreement on common action.
The Authority is the highest decision-making body of the OECS, comprising the heads of government of the member countries. The OECS is administered by a Central Secretariat (based in Castries, St Lucia), headed by a director general who is responsible to the Authority. The Secretariat is divided into four principal divisions: the division of the office of the director general; social and sustainable development division; corporate services division; and economic affairs division.
In June 2010 a Revised Treaty of Basseterre was signed. It came into effect in Jan. 2011, establishing the OECS Economic Union. Under its terms, member states agreed to the removal of trade barriers, the free movement of labour and capital, the establishment of a regional assembly of parliamentarians and the implementation of a common external tariff. Membership of the Economic Union initially comprised Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Official language: English.
Headquarters: Morne Fortune, PO Box 179, Castries, St Lucia.
Director-General: Dr Didacus Jules (St Lucia).