The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States celebrates 40th anniversary

OECS Nations

The OECS Nationals Council Canada is delighted and honored to be part of this historic milestone celebration.

As we marked this 40-year journey, it is significant that we pause and reflect on our foundation, the challenges and our proud record of achievements. The OECS came into being against the background of the struggle for decolonization (in Africa and the Caribbean), and a failed West Indies Federation. Out of this challenging regional and global environment the vision of the OECS was forged.

The formation of the West Indies Associated States (WISA) in 1966, followed by the establishment of the Eastern Caribbean Common Market (ECCM), evolved into the OECS by the signing of the Treaty of Basseterre, June 18, 1981, in Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis.

The 7 founding members (Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Monserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines), agreed to cooperate and promote unity and solidarity amongst the members. The OECS is now an eleven-member grouping which includes the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Martinique and Guadeloupe as associate members of the OECS. On June 10, 2010, the Treat was replaced by the revised Treaty of Basseterre creating an Economic Union.  The signing of the treaty in 1981 was transformational.

What followed in the intervening years were a series of measures, placing the OECS on a path of moderni]ation and development, harnessing the capacity of the OECS to compete in a regional and Global space.

Building on a number of historic milestones – the OECS High Commission to Ottawa and the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court 1967, the OECS Central Bank, 1983, the OECS Pharmaceutical Procurement Services (1985), the OECS Union has become an 11-member strong international Organization with headquarters in Castries, Saint Lucia.

Reflecting on the tremendous gains and resilience of the OECS people over the past 40 plus years, the role of the Diaspora is inseparably linked to this transformation and change in the OECS region.

The OECS Nationals Council which celebrates its 13th anniversary this year, aim is to further unite the OECS Diaspora in Canada b\ creating greater awareness in the community through the promotion and support of cultural, educational, business, emergenc\ relief, youth leadership and participation in civic affairs. Our dedicated team of communit\ volunteers are committed to supporting the collective interest of OECS Canadian Nationals, enabling the community to contribute in a sustainable wa\ to the peaceful development of OECS communities in Canada and OECS UNION.

The global pandemic over the past 17 months coupled with the catastrophic volcanic eruption in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, has impacted our communities in Canada and the Sub-Region like never before. However, the OECS People are resilient and compassionate as evident in the response by regional members and the Diaspora, to the dire situation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

In light of ongoing regional and global challenges, building a more sustainable partnership with Diaspora communities, will further enhance capacit\ building in the region.

The OECS Nationals Council Canada is pleased to e[tend warmest greetings and congratulations to past Chairman of the OECS, the Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime minister of Dominica, the new Chairman, Dr. the Rt. Hon. Keith Mitchell Prime Minister of Grenada, Director General of the OECS, Dr. Didacus Jules and staff in St. Lucia, the OECS Liaison Office , Toronto, OECS Nationals and Organi]ations in the Canadian Diaspora, as we mark this historic milestone in our movement to greater integration and development.