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Economic Union Treaty ratified

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The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States’ (OECS) Economic Union Treaty came one step closer to becoming law with the signing of the ratification instruments by St. Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

“The signing of the Treaty took place in St Lucia last year, and now the Cabinet has ratified the Treaty,” Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said at a press conference last Monday, January 17.

“What now has to be done is the Treaty has to be put into domestic law in the same way the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas after we signed it in July 2001 and was subsequently put into domestic law so it becomes more than just a treaty between our partners,” he continued.

The prime minister said that he has been in communication with the Attorney General who had indicated that she is working on the Bill and is awaiting further instructions from the OECS secretariat.

Gonsalves said it had been hoped that the Bill would have got into the sitting of the House which began yesterday, but it will probably have to wait until the next sitting of Parliament in February.

January 21, 2011, is the indicative date for commencement of the operation of the Economic Union.

“We want it to be put into domestic law as quickly as possible,” the prime minister said, adding that he did not believe that any of the other member states had done so as yet.

The signing of the Treaty paves the way for the free movement of people, goods, services and capital among participating countries.

The Revised Treaty will replace the Treaty which established the OECS in 1981 and will, significantly, create the economic union as a single financial and economic space.

Although OECS member countries already cooperate in several areas, including the common use of the Eastern Caribbean currency and the joint regulation of banking and securities, the new treaty promises joint actions and joint policies by member countries. (DD)

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