Caribbean Community

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Caribbean Community
  • Communauté Caribéenne  (French)
  • Caribische Gemeenschap  (Dutch)
Anthem: Celebrating CARICOM
Dark green: Full CARICOM members.Lime green: Associate CARICOM members.Pistachio: Observers.
Dark green: Full CARICOM members.
Lime green: Associate CARICOM members.
Pistachio: Observers.
Seat of Secretariat Guyana Georgetown, Guyana
Official languages English, French, Dutch
Type Supranational organisation
Member states
 •  Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque
 •  Chairman Perry Christie
 •  Treaty of Chaguaramas 4 July 1973 
 •  Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas 2001 
 •  Total 458,480 km2
177,020 sq mi
 •  2010 estimate 16,743,693
 •  Density 34.8/km2
90/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2012 estimate
 •  Total $107.82 billion
 •  Per capita $6,439
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
 •  Total $64,771 billion (65)
 •  Per capita $8,116 (67)
HDI (2012) Increase 0.719[1]

Established in 1973, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is an organization of 15 Caribbean nations and dependencies. CARICOM's main purposes are to promote economic integration and cooperation among its members, to ensure that the benefits of integration are equitably shared, and to coordinate foreign policy.[2] Its major activities involve coordinating economic policies and development planning; devising and instituting special projects for the less-developed countries within its jurisdiction; operating as a regional single market for many of its members (Caricom Single Market); and handling regional trade disputes. The secretariat headquarters is based in Georgetown, Guyana.

Since the establishment of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) mainly by the English-speaking parts of the Caribbean region, CARICOM has become multilingual in practice with the addition of Dutch-speaking Suriname on 4 July 1995 and French- (and Haitian Kreyòl-) speaking Haiti on 2 July 2002. Furthermore, it was suggested that Spanish should also become a working language.[3] In July 2012, CARICOM announced that they were considering making French and Dutch official languages.[4]

In 2001, the heads of government signed a Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas thus clearing the way for the transformation of the idea for a Common Market aspect of CARICOM into instead a Caribbean (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy. Part of the revised treaty among member states includes the establishment and implementation of the Caribbean Court of Justice. Since 2013 the CARICOM-bloc along with the Dominican Republic is tied to the European Commission via an Economic Partnership Agreements known as CARIFORUM signed in 2008.[5] The treaty grants all members of the European Union and CARIFORUM equal rights in terms of trade and investment. Within the agreement under Article 234, the European Court of Justice also carries dispute resolution mechanisms between CARIFORUM and the European Union states.[6]


Currently CARICOM has 15 full members, 5 associate members and 8 observers. All of the associate members are British overseas territories, and it is currently not established what the role of the associate members will be. The observers are states which engage in at least one of CARICOM's technical committees.

Status Name Join date Notes
Full member  Antigua and Barbuda 4 July 1974
 Bahamas 4 July 1983 Not part of customs union
 Barbados 1 August 1973
 Belize 1 May 1974
 Dominica 1 May 1974
 Grenada 1 May 1974
 Guyana 1 August 1973
 Haiti 2 July 2002 Provisional membership on 4 July 1998
 Jamaica 1 August 1973
 Montserrat 1 May 1974 British overseas territory
 Saint Kitts and Nevis 26 July 1974 Joined as Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla
 Saint Lucia 1 May 1974
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1 May 1974
 Suriname 4 July 1995
 Trinidad and Tobago 1 August 1973 Founder of the Organization before handing over to Guyana
Associate  Anguilla July 1999 British overseas territory
 Bermuda 2 July 2003 British overseas territory
 British Virgin Islands July 1991 British overseas territory
 Cayman Islands 16 May 2002 British overseas territory
 Turks and Caicos Islands July 1991 British overseas territory
Observer  Aruba Country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
 Curaçao Country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
 Dominican Republic
 Puerto Rico Commonwealth of the USA
 Sint Maarten Country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands separated into two parts French and Dutch sides (Only Dutch side is an observer)

Organizational structure[edit]

Structures comprised by the overall Caribbean Community (CARICOM).[7]

Under Article 4 CARICOM breaks its 15 member states into two groups: Less Developed Countries (LDCs) and More Developed Countries (MDCs).[8]

The countries of CARICOM which are designated as Less Developed Countries (LDCs) are:[8]

  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • Belize
  • Commonwealth of Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Republic of Haiti
  • Montserrat
  • Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent & the Grenadines

The countries of CARICOM which are designated as More Developed Countries (MDCs) are:[8]

  • Commonwealth of the Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Co-operative Republic of Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • Republic of Suriname
  • Republic of Trinidad & Tobago


The post of Chairman (Head of CARICOM) is held in rotation by the regional Heads of State (for the republics) and Heads of Government (for the realms) of CARICOM's 15 member states.

Heads of government[edit]

CARICOM contains a quasi-Cabinet of the individual Heads of Government. These heads are given specific specialised portfolios of responsibility for overall regional development and integration.[9]


The goal statement of the CARICOM Secretariat is:

To provide dynamic leadership and service, in partnership with Community institutions and Groups, toward the attainment of a viable, internationally competitive and sustainable Community, with improved quality of life for all.

Organs and bodies[edit]

Principal organs
Organ Description
CARICOM Heads of Government Consisting of the various heads of Government from each member state
Standing Committee of Ministers Ministerial responsibilities for specific areas, for example the Standing Committee of Ministers responsible for Health will consist of Ministers of Health from each member state

Community Council[edit]

The Council consists of Ministers responsible for Community Affairs and any other Minister designated by the Member States in their absolute discretion. It is one of the principal organs (the other being the Conference of the Heads of Government) and is supported by four other organs and three bodies.

Secondary organs
Secondary organ Abbreviation
Council for Finance and Planning COFAP
Council for Foreign and Community Relations COFCOR
Council for Human and Social Development COHSOD
Council for Trade and Economic Development COTED
Body Description
Legal Affairs Committee provides legal advice to the organs and bodies of the Community
Budget Committee examines the draft budget and work programme of the Secretariat and submits recommendations to the Community Council.
Committee of the Central Bank Governors provides recommendations to the COFAP on monetary and financial matters.


The 23 designated institutions of CARICOM are as follows:

Institution Abbreviation
Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency CDERA
Caribbean Meteorological Institute CMI
Caribbean Meteorological Organisation CMO
Caribbean Food Corporation CFC
Caribbean Environment Health Institute CEHI
Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute CARDI
Caribbean Regional Centre for the Education and training of Animal Health and Veterinary Public Health Assistants REPAHA
Assembly of Caribbean Community Parliamentarians ACCP
Caribbean Centre for Development Administration CARICAD
Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute CFNI
CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security IMPACS
Caribbean Examinations Council CXC
CARICOM Single Market and Economy CSME
Caribbean Court of Justice CCJ
CARICOM Competition Commission CCC
Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism CRFM
Caribbean Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality CROSQ
Caribbean Telecommunications Union CTU
Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre CCCCC
Caribbean Organisation of Tax Administrators COTA
Council of Legal Education CLE
Caribbean Aviation Safety and Securing Oversight System CASSOS
Caribbean Regional Information and Translation Institute CRITI

The Caribbean Court of Justice will act in its "original jurisdiction", as settlement unit for disputes on the functioning of the Caribbean (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy (CSME). Additionally the states of CARICOM voted to supplement original jurisdiction with "appellate jurisdiction" under this the former colonies of the United Kingdom will have effectively replaced the Privy Council in London, United Kingdom with the CCJ.[citation needed]

The CCJ is based in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. The majority of member states[which?] however, continue to utilize the Privy Council as their final appellate court and three member states do not use the CCJ for either its original jurisdiction or its appellate jurisdiction because they have either not signed the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (the Bahamas and Haiti) or are a current British colony (Montserrat).

Associate institutions[edit]

The five designated associate institutions of CARICOM are as follows:

Associate institutions
Associate institution Abbreviation
Caribbean Development Bank CDB
University of Guyana UG
University of the West Indies UWI
Caribbean Law Institute / Caribbean Law Institute Centre CLI / CLIC
Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States OECS
West Indies Cricket Board WICB

The CARICOM Standard and CARICOM Song[edit]

The Standard or Flag of the Caribbean Community was chosen in November 1983 at the Conference of Heads of Government Meeting in Port of Spain, Trinidad. There the Conference approved the design of the CARICOM flag. The original design was done by the firm of WINART Studies in Georgetown, Guyana but this was substantially modified at the Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government in July 1983.[10] The flag was first flown on 4 July 1984 in Nassau, Bahamas at the fifth Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government.[11]

The Flag features a blue background - the upper part being of a light blue representing the sky and the lower part of a dark blue representing the Caribbean Sea. The yellow circle in the centre of the Flag represents the sun on which is printed in black, the logo of the Caribbean Community - two interlocking Cs. The two Cs are in the form of broken links in a chain, symbolising both unity and the break with the colonial past. The narrow ring of green around the sun represents the vegetation of the Region.[10]

As part of CARICOM's 40th anniversary celebrations, a competition to compose an official song or anthem for CARICOM was launched in April 2013.[12] The goal of the competition was to facilitate the involvement of CARICOM countries in choosing a regionally and internationally recognized song that promoted unity and inspired CARICOM identity and pride. A regional panel of judges comprising independent experts in music was nominated by Member States and the CARICOM Secretariat to choose the CARICOM Song. The competition was conducted in three rounds, where sixty three entries were condensed to the final three, of which Celebrating CARICOM by Ms. Michele Henderson of Dominica, was chosen as the winner[12] in March 2014.[13] Ms. Henderson was awarded US$10,000 for winning the competition.[14] The song was produced by Michele’s husband Roland Delsol Jr., and arranged by Earlson Matthew. It also features Michael Ferrol on drums and choral input from the St. Alphonsus Choir. It was re-produced for CARICOM by Carl Beaver Henderson of Trinidad and Tobago.[13]

The second place entry titled My CARICOM came from Jamaican Adiel Thomas[12] (who won US$5,000)[14] and the third place song was titled One CARICOM by Carmella Lawrence from St. Kitts and Nevis[12] (who won US$2,500).[14] The other songs from the top-ten finalists (in no particular order) were One Region one Caribbean from Anguilla, One Caribbean Family from Jamaica, CARICOM’s Light from St. Vincent & the Grenadines, We Are CARICOM from Dominica, Together As one from Dominica, Blessed CARICOM from Jamaica and Together We Rise from Jamaica.[13]

The first official performance of Celebrating CARICOM by Ms. Henderson, took place on Tuesday 1 July 2014 at the opening ceremony for the Thirty-Fifth Regional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government in Antigua and Barbuda.[12]


The Caribbean Community (CARICOM), originally the Caribbean Community and Common Market, was established by the Treaty of Chaguaramas[15] which came into effect on 1 August 1973. The first four signatories were Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago.

CARICOM superseded the 1965–1972 Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA), which had been organised to provide a continued economic linkage between the English-speaking countries of the Caribbean following the dissolution of the West Indies Federation which lasted from 3 January 1958 to 31 May 1962.

A Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas establishing the Caribbean Community including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) was signed by the CARICOM Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community on 5 July 2001 at their Twenty-Second Meeting of the Conference in Nassau, The Bahamas.[8] This cleared the way for the transformation of the idea for a Common Market aspect of CARICOM into instead a Caribbean (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy. Part of the revised treaty among member states includes the establishment and implementation of the Caribbean Court of Justice.

Since 2013 the CARICOM-bloc along with the Dominican Republic is tied to the European Union via an Economic Partnership Agreements known as CARIFORUM signed in 2008.[16] The treaty grants all members of the European Union and CARIFORUM equal rights in terms of trade and investment. Within the agreement under Article 234, the European Court of Justice also carries dispute resolution mechanisms between CARIFORUM and the European Union states.[6]

Haiti invasion[edit]

In March 2004, tensions became strained between member-state Haiti and the rest of the Caribbean Community bloc. Democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide phoned some of the other 14 CARICOM heads of government and stated that he had been kidnapped by France and the United States and taken out of the country.[17][18] CARICOM announced that no democratically elected government in CARICOM should have its leader deposed. The 14 other heads of government sought to have Aristide visit Jamaica and share his account of events with them. This move to have Jean-Bertrand Aristide flown from Africa to Jamaica infuriated the unelected interim Prime Minister, Gérard Latortue who then announced he would be taking steps to remove Haiti from CARICOM. The CARICOM heads then announced they would be holding a vote on whether to suspend the recognition of Latortue before he could vote on Haiti leaving CARICOM. This occurred and Haitian officials were suspended from taking part in the councils of CARICOM. This did not stop Latortue, who announced that he would continue a part of his plan to suspend Haiti from CARICOM.[19] Haiti's membership had been effectively suspended from 29 February 2004 through early June 2006. Following the democratic election of Haitian President René Préval, he gave the opening address at the organisation's Council of Ministers meeting in July.


See also: Trade bloc
Population and economic statistics of full and associate members
Member Membership Land area (km2)[20] Population[21][22] GDP (PPP) Millions USD[23] GDP Per Capita (PPP) USD (2013)[24] HDI (2014)[25]
 Anguilla associate 91 13,477 0.108 8,800
 Antigua & Barbuda full member 442.6 89,018 1,920 21,967 0.774
 Bahamas full member 10,010 316,182 8,800 24,648 0.789
 Barbados full member 430 287,733 4,500 16,015 0.776
 Belize full member 22,806 327,719 2,800 8,014 0.732
 Bermuda associate 54 67,837 5,085 -
 British Virgin Islands associate 151 24,000 -
 Cayman Islands associate 264 56,000 1,939 -
 Dominica full member 751 73,126 730 10,372 0.717
 Grenada full member 344 109,011 1,210 11,481 0.744
 Guyana full member 196,849 741,908 5,200 6,573 0.638
 Haiti full member 27,560 9,801,664 17,600 1,703 0.471
 Jamaica full member 10,831 2,889,187 23,600 8,487 0.715
 Montserrat full member 102 5,164 0.043 -
 Saint Kitts and Nevis full member 261 50,726 1,160 19,823 0.750
 Saint Lucia full member 606 162,178 1,880 11,150 0.714
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines full member 389 103,537 1,160 10,560 0.719
 Suriname full member 156,000 560,157 8,800 16,080 0.705
 Trinidad & Tobago full member 5,128 1,226,383 40,600 30,197 0.766
 Turks and Caicos Islands associate 948 36,600 0.845 -
Full members members only 432,510 16,743,693 107,815 6,439 0.719

Thousands of Caricom nationals live within other member states of the Community. An estimated 30,000 Jamaicans legally reside in other CARICOM members states[26] (mainly in the Bahamas (with 5,600),[27] Antigua & Barbuda (with an estimated 12,000),[28] Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago).[26] There are also an estimated 150 Jamaicans living and working in Montserrat.[28] On November 21, 2013, it was estimated that 16,958 Jamaicans could be residing illegally in Trinidad & Tobago, as according to the records of the Office of the Chief Immigration Officer, their entry certificates would have since expired.[29] By October 2014, it was estimated that the number of Jamaicans residing illegally in Trinidad and Tobago was 19,000 along with an estimated 7,169 Barbadians and 25,884 Guyanese residing illegally.[30] An estimated 8,000 Trinidadians and Tobagonians live in Jamaica[31] while in Barbados there is a large diaspora population of Guyanese people, of which (in 2005) 5,032 were living there permanently as citizens, permanent residents, immigrants (with immigrant status) and Caricom skilled nationals; 3,200 were residing in Barbados temporarily under work permits (both short term and long term), as students, or with "reside and work" status. A further 2,000-3,000 Guyanese were estimated to be living illegally in Barbados at the time.[32] Migration between Barbados and Guyana has deep roots, going back over 150 years, with the most intense period of Barbadian migration to then British Guiana occurring between 1863 and 1886 although as late as the 1920s and 1930s Barbadians were still leaving Barbados for British Guiana.[33] Migration between Guyana and Suriname also goes back a number of years, with approximately 50,000 Guyanese having been estimated to have migrated to Suriname by 1986[34] over the years.[35] In 1987 it was estimated that there were 30-40,000 Guyanese in Suriname.[36] Many Guyanese left Suriname in the 1970s and 1980s either voluntarily or were expelled (over 5,000 alone were expelled in January 1985)[37] as Suriname experienced instability following independence with coups and civil war.[35] In 2013 it was estimated that 11,530 Guyanese had emigrated to Suriname and that 4,662 Surinamese had migrated to Guyana.[38]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ List of countries by HDI
  2. ^ Ramjeet, Oscar (2009-04-16). "CARICOM countries will speak with one voice in meetings with US and Canadian leaders". Caribbean Net News. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Communiqué Issued at the Conclusion of the Thirty-Third Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community, 4-6 July 2012, Gros Islet, Saint Lucia", "Heads of Government recognized that, although English was the official language of the Community, the facility to communicate in their languages could enhance the participation of Haiti and Suriname in the integration process. They therefore requested the conduct of a study to examine the possibilities and implications, including costs, of introducing French and Dutch."
  5. ^ Caribbean moves afoot to restructure CARIFORUM, Peter Richards, Tuesday April 12th 2011
  6. ^ a b "Letter: Privy Council and EPA", October 8, 2009, Jamaica Gleaner
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ a b c d Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas
  9. ^ Regional Portfolios of CARICOM Heads of Government
  10. ^ a b CARICOM Standard
  11. ^ Flag of the Caribbean Community and Common Market
  12. ^ a b c d e History created as new CARICOM song is launched
  13. ^ a b c WORD Version of CARICOM song competition Fact Sheet
  14. ^ a b c CARICOM Song Competition: Terms of Reference
  15. ^ Original Treaty of Chaguaramas
  16. ^ Caribbean moves afoot to restructure CARIFORUM, Peter Richards, Tuesday April 12th 2011
  17. ^ "Aristide accuses U.S. of coup d'état". 2004-03-02. Retrieved 2011-03-25. 
  18. ^ "Aristide launches kidnap lawsuit". BBC News. 2004-03-31. Retrieved 2011-03-25. 
  19. ^ "Haiti suspends ties with CARICOM". Retrieved 2011-03-25. 
  20. ^ CIA World Factbook: Land area rankings:
  21. ^
  22. ^ CIA World Factbook: Population rankings:
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ List of countries by Human Development Index
  26. ^ a b 30,000 Jamaicans residing in other CARICOM member states
  27. ^ Jamaicans of the Bahamas
  28. ^ a b Prime Minister Golding calls on Jamaicans in Antigua and Barbuda to cooperate with government and people there
  29. ^ Close to 17,000 Jamaicans residing illegally in Trinidad
  30. ^ 7,000 illegal Bajans in T&T
  31. ^ Bissessar celebrates new Trinidad and Tobago High Commission
  32. ^ Guyanese, British and Americans among illegal immigrants living in Barbados
  33. ^ Mudheads in Barbados, a lived experience
  34. ^ Ethnologue Languages of Suriname
  35. ^ a b Guyanese Creole Survey Report
  36. ^ Guyanese vital in Suriname
  37. ^ Nervous Neighbours - Guyana and Suriname
  38. ^ Guyana Migration Profiles

External links[edit]