Second Anniversary of OECS Free Movement

Despite earlier predictions that such opening of the borders would lead to a huge influx of people from one territory to the other, the experience has shown otherwise.

The Free Movement of Persons regime was seen as another major provision of the Economic Union Protocol of the Revised Treaty of Basseterre.

As one of the countries that has put in place the necessary legislative and administrative provisions to allow for the free movement of citizens of the Union, St. Kitts and Nevis has joined its sister states in recognizing the attainment of this important two year milestone.

Speaking on the issue, the country’s OECS Commissioner, Astona Browne, in a statement released by the government, said this regime is fundamental to the strengthening and deepening of the integration process that is provided for by the Revised Treaty of Basseterre. Browne added that it also facilitates the movement of the citizens of the participating Member States to take advantage of the benefits that are available under the Economic Union.

She concluded t that the provisions of Article 12 of the Protocol of the OECS Economic Union address the Freedom of Movement of persons through the removal of obstacles to intra-regional travel, movement of skills and labour.

Citizens of the Economic Union do enjoy the right to indefinite stay and the right to work in participating Member States.   She further informs of ongoing efforts throughout the Economic Union States to ensure harmonization of social services, transfer of social security benefits and common measures for accreditation and equivalency.

While the OECS has been moving forward in this direction, the larger grouping of CARICOM remains bogged down in its old ways driven by insularity.

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