A European Union (EU) funded €11.3 million project was the main item for discussion at a Media Breakfast hosted by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission on November 10th at the Beachcombers Hotel.
The “Regional Integration through Growth Harmonisation & Technology (RIGHT)” programme falls under three strategic themes: Free Movement; Sustainable Development; and International Competitiveness.
Head of the Commission’s Regional Integration Unit Kevin Hope said the RIGHT programme is being implemented by the OECS Commission in conjunction with various government ministries, departments and agencies throughout the sub-region, including other regional and international partners such as the European Union.
The revised treaty of Basseterre 2010, addresses the rights and privileges of all citizens and nationals of the Economic Union, and recognizes the importance of regional integration as a critical focus of the OECS.
Speaking on the free movement of people within the OECS, Senior Legislative Drafter at the OECS Commission Samantha Charles made reference to Article 12.2 in the revised treaty of Basseterre, which protects OECS nationals from discrimination, regardless of the OECS country where they were born or reside.
Additionally, Charles cited article 12.3, which addresses the issue of contingent rights. This provides for citizens of protocol member states (Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Montserrat, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), to enjoy the rights to freedom of movement within the Economic Union. These rights also include equal treatment, work permit exemption and access to national insurance services.
Senior Technical Officer at the OECS Commission Clarence Henry referred to issues related to the border management enhancement initiative, and the unique OECS ID to be implemented among the Member States.
The Unique ID is geared towards enhancing how the protocol member states deliver public services while the border management enhancement initiative speaks to strengthening border security within the OECS.
As part of the ongoing integration process, Head of the Communication Unit at the OECS Commission, Loverly Anthony, said the Commission’s website is now available in English and French since Martinique and Guadeloupe became associate members of the OECS.
SOURCE: Agency For Public Information