Above: Parliament in Antigua and Barbuda
By the Caribbean Journal staff
In an event with significant implications for the Eastern Caribbean, the OECS Assembly began its first-ever meeting Friday in Antigua.
The session is featuring addresses by Antigua Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer, current OECS Chairman and St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and Montserrat Premier Reuben Meade.
The assembly includes five members of the parliament of each independent member state, and three members from the legislatures of each non-independent member state. The delegations include members of each country’s ruling party and opposition.
While some calls have been made for a similar representative structure for CARICOM, it is the OECS which has reached the milestone.
The assembly, which will be meeting twice a year, is one of five organs established by the Revised Treaty of Basseterre, which established the OECS Economic Union.
It had originally been scheduled to meet June 15 in Antigua.
There are seven full members of the OECS: Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines. Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands are associate members.
By treaty, OECS legislation can cover eight areas: the OECS common market, monetary policy, trade policy, maritime jurisdiction and boundaries, civil aviation, commercial policy, environmental policy and immigration policy.
Antigua and Barbuda is the official seat of the assembly.