The Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) is a regional group of nations that encourage common policy and economic goals.
Known as the oldest surviving integration movement in the developing world it praises many achievements along the way. Great steps have been made, particularly through functional cooperation in education, health, culture, and security. Its Single Market functions and it is a respected voice in international affairs because of coordinated foreign policy.
But, is that all? What else should you be aware of concerning CARICOM? These interesting facts about CARICOM clarify how the member states remain a unified and competitive force in the global arena to this day!
In 1972 at the Seventh Heads of Government Conference, Commonwealth Caribbean leaders decided to transform the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) into a Common Market and establish the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
On the 4th of July, 1973 the Chaguaramas Treaty, which established the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was signed by Prime Ministers Errol Barrow for Barbados, Forbes Burnham for Guyana, Michael Manley for Jamaica and Eric Williams for Trinidad and Tobago.
CARICOM consists of 20 nations, including fifteen full-time members and five associate members.
The fifteen full-time countries are Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, Saint Kits and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.
The associate members are Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, and Turks and Caicos. Associate members retain part-time privileges.
These nations have collectively joined together to expand their trade and economic relations internationally, including further development of activity in international markets.
CARICOM was established to replace the Caribbean Free Trade Area which had failed in its mission to develop policies in the region on labour and capital.
It is home to approximately sixteen million citizens, 60% of whom are under the age of 30, and from the main ethnic groups of Indigenous People, Africans, Indians, Europeans, Chinese, Portuguese and Javanese.
The Community is multi-lingual with English as the major language complemented by French and Dutch and variations of these, as well as African and Asian expressions.
Stretching from The Bahamas in the north to Suriname and Guyana in South America, CARICOM comprises states that are considered developing countries, and except for Belize, in Central America and Guyana and Suriname in South America, all members and Associate members are island states.
While these states are all relatively small, both in terms of population and size, there is also great diversity with regards to geography and population as well as the levels of economic and social development.
CARICOM rests on four main pillars: economic integration, foreign policy coordination, human and social development, and security.
CARICOM’s vision is a Caribbean Community that is integrated, inclusive, and resilient, driven by knowledge, excellence, innovation, and productivity.
They commit to winning hearts and minds to work towards a robust and inclusive Caribbean Community, able to work together to preserve the gains of regional integration and address the current challenges of economic recovery and growth and sustainable human development.
In 1989 Heads of Government decided to transform the Common Market into a single market and economy in which factors move freely, thus revising the existing Treaty.
In 1992 an Intergovernmental Task Force was established to work on the revision of the Treaty.
In 1990, members agreed to develop common protectionist policies for trade with countries outside the organization, though many members were slow to implement these and other decisions.
In July 2001 the heads of government revised the Treaty of Chaguaramas, establishing the Caribbean Community and the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), which would harmonise economic policy and create a single currency.
The movement toward a single market and economy was delayed over disagreements about the division of benefits.
In January 2006 the CARICOM Single Market (CSM) which removed barriers to goods, services, trade, and several categories of labour was implemented by all member states except The Bahamas and Haiti.
A year earlier, CARICOM had officially inaugurated the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which replaced the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London. CCJ serves as the final court of appeal for CARICOM members and also handles regional trade disputes.
Port au Prince, Haiti
One of CARICOM’s current goals is to establish a free-trade zone and a single market for increased trade and economic growth in the region.
The Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) would integrate all of its member-states into a single economic unit.
It is hoped that such an economic unification would resolve many issues faced by small developing CARICOM economies who find it difficult to compete with larger international competitors on a global market.
In 2011 the Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network (CKLN), an intergovernmental agency of CARICOM, secured a grant of 10 million euros from the European Union to develop a broadband fibre optic network which would allow Caribbean citizens to upgrade and diversify their skills and knowledge through the increase of collaboration and connectivity throughout the region.
In July 2014 history was created for the Caribbean Community with the debut of the CARICOM song – anthem titled Celebrating CARICOM.
The song which will be used at ceremonial and Community events was written and produced by Ms. Henderson in collaboration with her husband Roland Delsol Jnr. as well as her band and other music colleagues in Dominica.
Following her performance, Ms. Henderson was presented with a cash prize of US $10,000 and a plaque by Secretary-General LaRocque.
Do you have any interesting or fun facts about CARICOM that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!