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Monday, Sep 16th 2019

The ACP Legal Association

  • OHADAC and ACP Legal

    The partisans of this project, called OHADAC (Organisation for the Harmonisation of Business Law in the Caribbean), decided to meet within the framework of the association ACP Legal, to help interested Caribbean States to implement the project.

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  • OHADAC in brief

    This brochure has been published by the ACP Legal Association.

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OHADAC: A vector of regional integration in the Caribbean

The OHADAC project is keenly conscious of its geographical environment. Indeed, composed of a mosaic of States resulting from English, Dutch, American, Spanish and French colonization, the Caribbean enjoys a varied legal heritage:

  • Common Law for the English-speaking Caribbean,
  • Romano Germanic legal systems for the Spanish and French-speaking Caribbean.

In spite of the differences generated by history and settlement, in spite of a willful isolation harmful to its economic development and the emergence of a common cultural identity, these countries have for the past halfcentury been pursuing multiple avenues to increased interregional and international co-operation, including:

  • The West Indies States Association (W.I.S.A.), formed in 1966, and pursuant to which the Supreme Court of the Eastern Caribbean was created,
  • The 1973 treaty of CHAGUARAMAS, that created the Caricom Single Market and Economy (C.S.M.E.),
  • The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (O.E.C.S.), formed in 1981,
  • The Cotonou agreements of March 26th, 2000, signed between the ACP countries and the European Union, which enable these countries to register as eligible for European financings certain projects to reform the legal and judicial systems of the Caribbean countries , provided that the projects’ goals are for sustainable development wherein the human beings are both the principal actors and the principal beneficiaries.
  • and also the Association of Caribbean States (A.C.S.), CARICOM, CARIFORUM, PETROCARIBE and many others.

These members of the West Indian region also have relationships with larger cooperative arrangements such as MERCOSUR, the South American Community of Nations, the countries of the Andean Pact, and the ALBA – the Bolivarian Alternative for Americas – whose leaders are Venezuela and Cuba as well as Nicaragua and Dominica. The French Departments of America – Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyana – even though they do not possess an international legal personality, are appropriate for integration into these cooperative arrangements. Indeed, they can implement:

- The law of orientation for overseas Departments, dated December 13, 2000, allows these territories to negotiate and agree directly with Caribbean States, “in order to facilitate their full inclusion in their regional environment,” so long as they do not act in their own names, but as representatives of the duly authorized State,

- The disbursement from the Funds of Regional Co-operation, which are managed by a joint committee of State and Local Authorities, and constitute a support for the cooperative efforts of the Over-Seas Departments, for the purpose of encouraging bilateral actions or multilateral actions in which France takes part,

- The European Union INTERREG Interregional Cooperation initiative approved by the European Commission on April 28, 2000, which aims to:

  • contribute to a harmonious territorial integration within the community,
  • encourage transnational, transborder and interregional co-operation,
  • mobilize actors on the ground through a financing support for collective projects linking partners from different countries.

The OHADAC project is consistent with the principal objectives of the INTERREG Caribbean Region Program relating to transnational and interregional cooperation, in that OHADAC further seeks to enhance economic and social cohesion between and among the countries and the territories of the zone, and to improve the Caribbean Region’s economic competitiveness in order to overcome the handicaps of its location far from the European Union.

- the program INTERREG IV which applies to the Caribbean Space, covers 44 countries in addition to the French overseas territories, has an impact on a population in excess of 30 million inhabitants, and concerns three geographic areas:

  • Lesser Antilles,
  • Greater Antilles,
  • Guyana countries.

Despite successful cooperative efforts, significant obstacles continue to impede the emergence of a true Caribbean community of business law, juridically secure, which would contribute to the development of our geographical area by reassuring the potential investors.

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