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BVI Considers Involvement In CSME

by Amanda Banks,, London

18 July 2006

Chief Minister of the British Virgin Islands, Dr Orlando Smith, has revealed that the territory's government is considering its future participation in the Caribbean Single Market Economy (CSME).

Although the BVI is not taking part in the single market process, Dr Smith stated that the government will continue to examine the pros and cons of participation, particularly from the trade angle.

“We are actively engaged in following the process to see clearly what the disadvantages and benefits could be whether we are in or out of that process,” the Chief Minister explained at a media briefing following the recent meeting of Caricom heads of government, and the 43rd meeting of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

“This is because we are speaking about things like trade relationships, which could be important in the future,” he added.

In January 2006, six Caricom member states formally signed a declaration of compliance with the provisions of the Treaty establishing the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME).

The countries, namely Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago, became the first six Caricom countries to have signed on to the single market.

Meanwhile, the member states of the OECS recently signaled their intention to form their own economic union, as well as committing to membership of the CSME. St Kitts & Nevis Prime Minster Denzil Douglas has assured Caricom that this will not clash with the aims of the CSME.

The OECS states include Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, BVI, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

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