4. januar 2012  
  Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)

The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), created in 1981, is an inter-governmental organisation dedicated to economic harmonisation and integration, protection of human and legal rights, and the encouragement of good governance between countries and dependencies in the Eastern Caribbean. It also performs the role of spreading responsibility and liability in the event of natural disaster, such as a hurricane.

The main organ of the OECS, the Secretariat, is based in the capital city of Castries, Saint Lucia.

The OECS currently has nine members, spread across the Eastern Caribbean. Together, they form a near-continuous archipelago across the Leeward Islands and Windward Islands.

The two most geographically isolated members, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands, have only associate membership of the organisation. As a result, diplomatic missions of the OECS do not represent these two states. For the purposes of further discussing the membership, they are treated as equals of the full members.

Six of the members were formerly colonies of the United Kingdom. The other three, Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, and Montserrat remain overseas territories of the UK. Eight of the nine members consider Queen Elizabeth II to be sovereign (Dominica is a republic). There is no requirement for the members to have been British colonies, however the close historical, cultural and economic relationship fostered by them having all been British colonies is as much a factor in the membership of the OECS as their geographical proximity. As well, the Queen's likeness appears on the East Caribbean dollar's coins and banknotes.

All seven full members are also the founding members of the OECS, having been a part of the organisation since its founding on 18 June 1981. The British Virgin Islands was the first associate member, joining on 22 November 1984 and Anguilla is the latest associate member, having joined in 1995.

Membership is:

East Caribbean dollar (XCD) is the currency of eight of the nine members of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (the one exception being the British Virgin Islands). It has existed since 1965, being the successor to the British West Indies dollar, and it is normally abbreviated with the dollar sign $ or, alternatively, EC$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies. The EC$ has been pegged to the United States dollar since 1976 and the exchange rate is US$1 = EC$2.70.