- About the Region
About Barbados and the OECS
The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), was created in 1981, under the Treaty of Basseterre. The OECS Member States are: Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; the British Virgin Islands; the Commonwealth of Dominica; Grenada; Montserrat; Saint Lucia; St. Christopher (St. Kitts) and Nevis; and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The main organ of the OECS, the OECS Secretariat is located in Castries, Saint Lucia.
The majority of the Member States share one currency, the Eastern Caribbean currency.
Barbados, though not a member of the OECS, works inconjunction with Member States to create an enabling environment where our national governments have the capacities for inclusive and sustainable human development; to meet their regional commitments, and internationally agreed goals including as the Millennium Development Goals.
The Country Poverty Assessment For Anguilla, conducted in early 2000’s, did identify poverty and indigence, however, it was not alarming by the standards of the Commonwealth Caribbean. While it might have been accepted in official circles that there were problems of living conditions for some sections of the population, it would have been easy to come to the view that in conditions of rapid increases in economic activity and over-full employment for mostAnguillans, any poverty problem could be easily defeated. Indeed, the CPA conducted in 2007/09, suggests that poverty could have fallen and indigence had been overcome: there was no one so poor that health was being threatened by lack of resources for basic nutrition.
Antigua and Barbuda
In 2000 in Antigua and Barbuda, 89% of the rural population had access to improved drinking water sources and 95% of the urban population had access to improved drinking water sources. The estimated prevalence rate for 15-49 yr old population is 0.7%. There were 7.5 AIDS incidences per 100,000 population registered since 1998.
Barbados is situated left of the North Atlantic belt, which is outside of the hurricane belt. The main industry used to be sugar production, but tourism has far surpassed the sugar industry as Barbados’ main income earner. Barbados is today, the Caribbean’s leading tourism island, and it can also boast being one of the most developed islands in the region. In 2011Barbados is listed as one of the top 50 countries with the highest human development index.
The British Virgin Islands
The general health status in the BVI is good, infant and related mortality rates are low, the nutritional status of the population is also considered to be good however dietary habits are contributing to increasing problems of diabetes and hypertension such that these diseases are considered to account for 70% of all deaths. Major causes of mortality and morbidity are cited as circulatory disorders, diabetics mellitus, malignment neoplasms and mental ill health and substance abuse.
The Commonwealth of Dominica
Rates of poverty in Dominica reflect the continuing decline in banana production as well as stagnation in the country's other sectors. In Dominica, 29% of households and 40% of the general population lived in poverty as per 2003. 11% of households and 15% of the general population lived in indigent poverty. An average of 50% of Dominica's children live in poverty. Fewer than half the households with children have two resident parents. In rural areas, 1 in every 2 households is poor. More than 37 percent of households in Dominica do not have access to piped water and 25% of households have no access to toilet facilities. With total government debt currently almost equal to GDP, Dominica also struggles with structural unemployment and under-employment.
Unemployment and poverty remain high even with recent increase of the minimum wage. While indigence was seen as significantly lower than previously, at 2.4% in 2008, the poverty rate was at an extreme 37.7%, the highest incidence of extreme poverty in the Eastern Caribbean. Unemployment is estimated to have risen to 24.9% in 2008, with the unemployment rate of the poor being 10 % above average.
A 2010 estimate for life expectancy was at 72.91 for the total population of Montserrat. Additionally, Montserrat has the highest number of Tuberculosis cases in the Eastern Caribbean. Poverty remains a significant problem for the island, and although some 25 people had the opportunity to be rehoused in 2009, there are still households with inadequate housing.
The economic and social reality of St. Lucia has been shaped in large measure by its relationship with the rest of the world. In the colonial period, like other parts of the Commonwealth Caribbean, it was a tropical appendage of Britain whose entire raison d’etre derived from its capacity to supply primary raw materials to Britain. St. Lucia has remained the archetypical Commonwealth Caribbean country, and continues to be linked to the international economy by its exports of primary products.
St. Christopher and Nevis
The Country Poverty Assessment conducted in 2007 revealed a national poverty rate of 21.8 of individuals across St. Kitts and Nevis, with the situation being worse in St.Kitts than in Nevis. This is a marked reduction from levels above 30 % seen in 2000. The reduction is attributed to: putting poverty reduction at the centre of the policy framework, a greater sensitivity to targeting the poor, expansion of employment and the improvement of poorer households’ resource base by remittances.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
According to the 2008 Country Poverty Assessment, St. Vincent and the Grenadines had a poverty rate of 30.2 % in 2008. Despite the hard economic climate with regards to the global financial crisis, this was down from the 37.5 % measured in 1996. Still, in 2008, many as 44.3 % of residents felt that conditions had worsened from the year before. This is likely due to the escalations in prices of food and energy towards the end of 2007 and in 2008.