Caribbean360 – Plans are being advanced to establish a single domestic space within the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
Top officials within the nine-member grouping will meet in Antigua and Barbuda from May 30 to June 2 to develop a framework to facilitate this arrangement, within the context of the OECS Economic Union.
Once in place, it would mandate that persons travelling within the Economic Union Area (EUA) be treated as if they would already have been cleared for entry and satisfied all required border control formalities for entry into the area.
Additionally, visitors arriving from outside the space should satisfy all border control checks only at the first point of entry into the EUA and then be able to move freely within the area, without subsequent border control checks.
During the symposium, commissioners of police, chief immigration officers, comptrollers of customs, air and sea port managers and other high-ranking officials within the sub-region would discuss systems required for a harmonized border management, procedures and systems for full clearance at Immigration and Customs at the initial port of entry into the EUA, information sharing and intelligence gathering among border agencies and requirements and implications for the application of a Common Visa Regime.
Also scheduled for discussion are the mechanisms for distinguishing between the movement of personal effects and the movement of commercial goods for the purpose of applying VAT and excise taxes where necessary, and procedures for treatment of goods, including passengers’ baggage and excisable goods, and personal and household effects owned by individuals relocating to another member state.
The OECS Secretariat said the symposium would target key regional partners, among them the CARICOM Secretariat, sub-agencies of CARICOM including CARICOM’s Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), the Joint Regional Communications Centre (JRCC), and the Regional Security System (RSS).