The Jamaica Saint Lucia Community (“Friends in Helen”) and the Guyana Saint Lucia Association are pleased with the recent media announcement by the Regional Integration Unit of the OECS Commission, that Citizens of the OECS Economic Union will be offered an indefinite stay stamp on their arrival in Saint Lucia. It is worthy of note and highly commendable, that the Government of Saint Lucia has led the way in completing and implementing all the necessary administrative arrangements to now allow OECS citizens to live, work and move freely across the borders of Saint Lucia.
Our Associations welcome this announcement as a major and positive development in the long journey towards giving effect to the “Free Movement of People Regime”. This effectively opens up numerous economic and social opportunities on a reciprocal basis, for many families and individuals. This is exciting news for citizens who are passionate about the Caribbean and keenly interested in contributing to the development of our Countries from a regional platform where they can move without hindrance.
Our Associations firmly believe that the long-term benefits to be gained by the free movement of citizens of the OECS and by extension CARICOM, is immeasurable. The deepening integration of our peoples, diverse cultures and economies, disproportionately outweighs in a very positive way, any perceived negativities associated with the lingering fears that have burdened some territories.
While the free movement of OECS citizens within the region does not apply to the nationals of Jamaica and Guyana, our Associations still find it fitting to applaud this significant milestone. It moves us all one giant step closer to the full integration of the entire Caricom community. We anticipate the day when the wider Caricom body will announce its full implementation of the Free Movement Regime.
We again offer our warmest congratulations to the Government of Saint Lucia and the officials in the Regional Integration Unit of the OECS Commission. Our region is on the move.