by Nester Phillip
ROSEAU, Dominica – Dominica has little choice but to be a part of the sub-regional integration movement, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) economic union, as the world is now being characterised by blocs, a diplomat thinks.
Dominica’s ambassador to the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), his Excellency Charles Maynard, believes that the island has already seen many benefits as a party to sub-regional integration.
Maynard is of the view that the OECS Economic Union will set the framework for strengthening the integration movement.
“The truth of the matter is, we really have no option. In the world, all countries, big countries are getting together, far less the smaller countries. The recent experience we have had with the global [crisis], it has fortified, in a lot of the countries, their zeal to do things together”, he declared.
The ambassador noted that with the June 18, 2010 signing of the Revised Treaty of Basseterre establishing the OECS Economic Union, governments only need to now ratify the treaty and enact it as law in their respective Parliaments.
The new treaty will allow the sub-regional grouping to function with stronger powers through various organs, including the OECS Authority and member states will give up some sovereignty to allow for its function.
The new supranational entity will maintain the OECS Authority, consisting of Heads of Government as the supreme policy making organ of the Organization and “through this new treaty, they have been given powers to make laws for all the countries, so you don’t have to go back to your country when something is done”, explained the man at the helm of the country’s Regional Integration Unit.
Maynard asserted, “Each Parliament has authority to make laws for the good government of the country, and they also have authority to delegate, that is to give other publics that authority. So, that authority will be delegated to the Heads in specific areas. So when it comes to making those decisions is that when they are made, they are made for all the countries”.
The specific areas where member states will delegate “exclusive legal competence” to the Authority include: a common market including a customs union, monetary policy, trade policy, maritime jurisdiction and maritime boundaries, civil aviation, common commercial policy, environmental policy and immigration policy.
An OECS Assembly consisting of elected representatives from member states will have persuasive power to interface with the Authority.
“In other words, measures that are going before the Authority for deliberation and decision will be put to the Assembly, there will be public discussion about it and then when it goes back [to the Authority], it should go back as a form of trying to persuade the authority”, he noted.
Maynard added that the new agreement entered into on behalf of at least 400,000 people was constituted after wide public consultations involving the private and public sectors, labour unions, schools, political parties among other public.
He pointed to institutions, some standing for over forty years, where regional cooperation is beneficial to the sub-region’s people including the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC), Eastern Caribbean Currency Authority (ECCA) later the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL).
Member states are now in the post signing period of the treaty and a June 2011 deadline is set for full integration as part of the OECS Economic Union.
Caption: Dominica’s OECS Ambassador Charles Maynard believes that the OECS Economic Union is a step in the right direction towards cementing the ties that bind us together as a sub regional grouping.