British Virgin Islands Weighing Options on OECS Economic Union

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Above: Scrub Island in the BVI

By the Caribbean Journal staff

The British Virgin Islands is in the process of weighing how closely it would like to be tied to the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States.

The British Virgin Islands could sign on to the Revised Treaty of Basseterre, which establishes the OECS Economic Union.

According to OECS Director General Dr Len Ishmael, the territory has a few options: it could fully sign on to the treaty and the economic union protocol, or sign the agreement with certain reservations.

It could also opt not to sign, and maintain its existing agreements under the 1981 Treaty of Basseterre.

“The BVI, when it accedes to the Revised Treaty of Basseterre, can seek derogation, so that, for example, the Freedom of Movement protocol will only be for those countries that sign on freely to both the Revised Treaty and Economic Union,” Ishmael said.

The goal of the economic union is to give member states the opportunity to aggregate resources and make what Ishmael called “more meaningful representation” to the global economy.

The economic union, which came into force Jan. 21, 2011, was established with a view to improving the relationship between OECS states and encouraging economic development in the region.

The revised treaty allows the harmonization of trade policies and monetary policy among the states, done through the OECS Monetary Council, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and the Eastern Caribbean dollar.

The British Virgin Islands has been an associate member of the OECS since 1984. Under the territory’s 2007 constitution order, the BVI’s government holds the responsibility for matters pertaining to external affairs as they related to regional organizations like the OECS.

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