St Lucia not ready to ratify treaty
CASTRIES, St. Lucia – Leader of the Opposition Dr Kenny Anthony said that it may be several more weeks before St. Lucia is able to ratify the treaty establishing an economic union among member countries of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
The revised treaty was signed on June 18, last year in St. Lucia, with Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St.
Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Kitts and Nevis agreed to January 21 this year being the indicative date for the treaty to commence operation.
The Castries-based OECS Secretariat has confirmed the deposit of instruments of ratification by Antigua and Barbuda, St. Vincent and the Grenadines St. Kitts and Nevis as well as Grenada and Dominica.
While the Secretariat anticipates that St. Lucia’s instrument will be received this week, Anthony said that’s not the case as Government is not ready to ratify the economic union treaty as the matter needs to be ratified in Parliament and to date this has not been done.
He said that it is important to get the input of the Parliamentary representatives especially those on the opposition bench.
“As far as I am aware in the case of St. Lucia the legislation to give legal effect to the treaty has not been introduced in the House of Parliament neither has it been enacted into law.
“I am aware that the House of Assembly is meeting on Tuesday but as far as I can recall the treaty is not on the order paper,” he said.
Montserrat, which is the only non independent member of the OECS, is still awaiting word from Britain regarding its full participation in the proposed union.
However, with four independent member states already on board, the revised treaty establishing the OECS Economic Union has entered into force.
The opposition leader said that while four member states have ratified the treaty it appears that not all countries appear ready.
“Further we have the very odd situation in St. Lucia where the government has signed the agreement to establish the treaty without any consultation with Parliament,” he said.
“One would have thought that the correct thing to do would be to introduce the matter in Parliament hear the views of the opposition and then proceed, but it seems to me that we are attempting to debate the issue after the fact of signing by the Government of St. Lucia.
“So it’s going to be very unfortunate but I don’t think that deadline is going to be met it is not practicable,” Anthony added. (CMC)