Today, Friday June 18, 2021, is the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Basseterre that brought into being the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
To mark the occasion, a special flag-raising ceremony is taking place at the Office of the Prime Minister where both the National Flag of Antigua and Barbuda and the OECS flag will be raised. In addition, singing of Antigua and Barbuda’s National Anthem and the OECS song will take place.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne will deliver address this ceremony that will be attended by Government officials, including Foreign Affairs Minister E.P Chet Greene and the twin-island nation’s OECS Commissioner, Ambassador Colin Murdoch.
As part of the observance of OECS Day, Minister Greene will appear on State television’s morning show to talk about the benefits of the Integration Movement among the States of the Eastern Caribbean.
The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States came into being on 18th June 1981 when seven Eastern Caribbean countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Montserrat) signed a treaty agreeing to cooperate and promote unity and solidarity among the Members. The agreement became known as the Treaty of Basseterre, named after the capital city of St. Kitts and Nevis, where it was signed.
The 1981 Treaty was replaced in 2010 with a Revised Treaty of Basseterre, establishing an economic union in which barriers to trade between the member countries are reduced or removed in favor of a single market with a Customs union.
This Revised Treaty was signed on 18th June 2010 in Saint Lucia during the 51st Meeting of the Authority. The Revised Treaty established a single financial and economic space where goods, people and capital move freely. It also allows the harmonisation of monetary and governmental policies relating to taxes and revenue. The countries of this economic union continue to adopt a common approach to trade, health, education and the environment, as well as the development of critical sectors such as agriculture, tourism and energy.
Antigua and Barbuda hosts one of the key organs of the OECS, the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA).