Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)

What is the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)

The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) is an economic union comprising ten islands located in the eastern Caribbean that promote the unification of economic and trade policies among its member states. It is dedicated to economic integration and harmony between the independent and non-independent states of the Eastern Caribbean, as well as to the protection of the legal and human rights of the citizens of those states, and to the promotion of good governance of the states independent and non-independent from the Eastern Caribbean. In the event of a natural disaster affecting the States of the subregion, the OECS plays a role in the distribution of responsibility and responsibility for recovery among the various nations and dependencies of the Eastern Caribbean.

Key points to remember

  • The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States is an economic union comprising ten islands located in the Eastern Caribbean.
  • Seven of its member states are full members while three have associate member status.
  • It was formed in 1981.
  • The OECS countries have an official currency, the Eastern Caribbean dollar.

Understanding the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)

Many countries and dependencies that participate in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) operate under one official currency, the Eastern Caribbean dollar. The British Virgin Islands use the US dollar, while Martinique, as a French overseas department, uses the euro. Geographically, these islands form an almost continuous archipelago across the Caribbean Sea, known as the Lesser Antilles.

OECS Member States

The subregional grouping was formed in 1981 after the founding member states promulgated the Treaty of Basseterre. With its central secretariat based in Saint Lucia, the OECS promotes the full economic integration of its members and has therefore implemented a number of policies to remove trade barriers in the sub-region. For example, in 2020, the OECS implemented a free movement regime for citizens of all of its full member states, namely Antigua and Barbuda; Dominica; Grenade; Montserrat; Saint Kitts and Nevis; St. LUCIA; and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Its three associate members are Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands and Martinique; they do not benefit from the free movement regime because they only have observer status. Aguilla and the British Virgin Islands are British overseas territories; Martinique is part of the French Republic as a region of France and overseas department. Martinique was the first non-British and not formerly British dependency in the Eastern Caribbean to join the OECS. Eight of the 10 OECS members consider themselves part of the British Commonwealth of Nations, with Queen Elizabeth II as sovereign; the nation of Dominica is a republic, and Martinique is part of France. English is the official language of all Member States except Martinique, where the official language is French.

In addition to overseeing their monetary policies and operating their currency through the Central Bank of the Eastern Caribbean, OECS members share the Supreme Court of the Eastern Caribbean and the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority.

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