The member states of Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) are in the midst of a crisis that could turn into a catastrophe.

The small states of the OECS, regardless of their income classification, are among the most vulnerable and highly exposed states in the world in relation to COVID-19. With the sudden cessation of almost all economic activity, the economies of the OECS faced imminent collapse. The soaring costs of COVID-19 management on one side were met by collapsing government revenues on the other side, in the case of Antigua and Barbuda by over 70%.

COVID-19 arrived in the OECS region at a time when the OECS member states were attempting to emerge from the economic consequences of the last major catastrophe to strike, category-5 Hurricanes Irma and Maria which devastated several member states in September 2017, especially Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Anguilla and the BVI. Prior to the arrival of COVID-19, member states were enjoying modest growth rates of 3-6%, largely driven by the tourism sector. It has to be recalled that the tourism sector accounts for at least 60% of foreign exchange earnings and significant employment across the OECS. In some member states, especially those that lack of a significant agricultural sector, the percentage of tourism-related foreign exchange earnings is even higher.

At this terrible time when tourism to the Caribbean is practically zero, Antigua and Barbuda desperately needs your economic support to overcome the COVID-19 emergency.

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