BASSETERRE, St. Kitts & Nevis – June 22, 2006………..OECS Heads of Government have signed a Declaration of Intent signaling their desire to form an Economic Union.

The Signing Ceremony took place during the official opening of the 43rd Meeting of the Authority in St. Kitts and Nevis on Wednesday during which the New Draft Treaty of the OECS was unveiled. The Treaty outlines the steps towards the Economic Union.

Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda and Chairman of the OECS, the Hon. Baldwin Spencer said that Economic Union will add value to the wider CARICOM initiative and the OECS participation in the CSME.

We produce below the text of Prime Minister Spencer’s remarks during the unveiling of the Treaty and the Signing of the Declaration.

Statement by OECS Chairman Hon. W. Baldwin Spencer
Unveiling of New OECS Treaty
And Singing of Declaration of Intent

Distinguished officials of the sub-region
Specially invited guests

It is with a great sense of pride and satisfaction that I rise to unveil the draft of the new OECS Treaty.

One year from now, at the end of an extensive sub-regional public consultative process, this Treaty will lead to the establishment of the OECS Economic Union.

This 43rd Meeting of the OECS Authority is therefore one of unquestionable importance. The draft Treaty will be the subject of considerable discussion not only by Heads of Government, but also by the people in all our member states over the next twelve months.

These discussions on the Treaty will take place at all levels of our societies and across all sectors of our economies. By this process, our people will appreciate and fully understand the rationale for the necessity to deepen the OECS integration process, and give this noble effort their full support.

My colleague Heads of Government and the Director-General have acknowledged that tremendous progress has been made in the twenty-five years since the signing of the Treaty of Basseterre.

These benefits would have been achievable had we attempted to go our separate ways upon achieving political independence.

Our small size, limited resources and production base, and our vulnerability, especially to natural disasters, all underscore the importance of the vision and the importance of the decision taken twenty-five years ago to establish the Treaty of Basseterre.

The Treaty of Basseterre has helped our countries to address the challenges of the social and economic development of our people through the pooling of available resources.

We appreciate the invaluable support which we continue to receive from our development partners, without which our progress would have been extremely difficult.

My colleagues and I will now sign the Declaration of Intent, signaling our determination to pursue the goal of Economic Union.

We remain mindful of the fact that the achievement of the OECS Economic Union will add value to the wider CARICOM initiative and our participation in the CSME.

I now invite my colleagues to step forward and sign this historic document. (Ends)

Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda
the Hon. Baldwin Spencer signing
the Declaration of Intent
Prime Minister of Dominica
the Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit
signing the Declaration of Intent
Prime Minister of Grenada
Dr. the Hon. Keith Mitchell
signing the Declaration of Intent
Newly elected Chief Minister of Montserrat
 Dr. the Hon. Lowell Lewis signing the Declaration of Intent
Prime Minister of St. Kitts
and Nevis
Dr. the Hon. Denzil Douglas signing  the Declaration of Intent
Foreign Minister of St. Lucia
the Hon. Petros Compton
signing the Declaration of Intent
Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves signing the Declaration of Intent Chief Minister of Anguilla the Hon. Obsourne Fleming signing the Declaration of Intent
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