OECS Provisional Applications To Enable Free Movement



Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
August 20, 2011 (SKNIS)

In order to facilitate the operations of OECS Free Movement member-countries who have not already enacted the Basseterre Treaty into Domestic Law can provisionally apply the administrative procedures.

Senior Programme Officer of the Regional Integration Unit of the OECS Lisa Louis Philip informed the St. Kitts and Nevis Information Service that St. Vincent and the Grenadines as well as St. Lucia have already completed the enactment process.

“Once that [Revised Treaty of Basseterre] is enacted into domestic law, there will now be the legal basis for which implementation of the administrative procedures can be done,” Ms. Philip explained. “However, in lieu of that, it can be provisionally applied and that is what member states are dealing with now.”

According to Ms. Philip, Antigua and Barbuda are in the late stages of the process leading to enactment.  She added that the remaining three independent member states of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica and Grenada have indicated that their provisional applications are soon to be in place.

The provisional application is possible by means of a directive from the appropriate Minister or Prime Minister.  This directive allows the senior officers in the implementing agency to inform their staff to take certain measures.  The implementing agency in this case is the immigration department.

According to the organisation’s official website www.oecs.org, OECS citizens traveling within the Economic Union should enter the special immigration lines designated for CARICOM Nationals.  They should then present the immigration officer with a valid photo identification card that bears the nationality of the holder, for example, a passport, driver’s license, voter’s registration card or a national ID card, along with a completed entry/departure form.

The immigration official should then be able to grant entry for an indefinite period, save and except in those circumstances where the citizen poses a security risk or there exists some other legal basis for prohibiting entry to the citizen.