Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
Map showing CARICOM members, associates and observers
|Seat of Secretariat||Georgetown, Guyana|
15 full members1 5 associate members 2 7 observers3
|-||Secretary-General||Edwin W. Carrington
Heads of Government
|-||Treaty of Chaguaramas||1 August 1973|
177.020 sq mi
ISO 4217 codes in brackets:
|1||14 independent states, 1 dependent territory.|
|2||5 dependent territories.|
|3||4 independent states, 3 dependent territories.|
|4||Dutch, French and Haitian Creole also used unofficially.|
|5||Used by OECS members.|
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. 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) by the mainly English speaking parts of the Caribbean region CARICOM has become unofficially multilingual in practice with the addition of Dutch-speaking Suriname on 4 July 1995 and Haiti, where French and Haitian Creole are spoken, on 2 July 2002.
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.
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM), originally the Caribbean Community and Common Market, was established by the Treaty of Chaguaramas which came into effect on 1 August 1973. The first four signatories were Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad and 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CARICOM superseded the 1965–1972 Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA), which had been organised to provide a continued economic linkage between the English-speaking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.
Currently CARICOM has 15 full members:
There are five associate members (all British overseas territories):
There are seven observers:
It is currently not established what the role of the associate members will be. The observer members are states which engage in at least one of CARICOM's many technical committees.
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 that he had been kidnapped by France and the United States and taken out of the country. 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 the center of Africa to Jamaica infuriated the 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 Haiti's non-democratically elected interim Prime Minister, Gérard Latortue before he could vote on Haiti leaving CARICOM. This occurred and Haitian officials became suspended partaking in the councils of CARICOM. This did not stop Gérard Latortue, he announced that he would continue a part of his plan to suspend Haiti from CARICOM. 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.
In July 1999, Anguilla once again became involved with CARICOM when it gained associate membership. Before this, Anguilla had briefly been a part of CARICOM (1974-1980) as a constituent of the full member state of Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla.
In 2005 the Foreign Minister of the Dominican Republic proposed for the second time that the government of the Dominican Republic wished to obtain full membership status in CARICOM. However, due to the sheer size of the Dominican Republic's economy and population size in comparison with the current CARICOM states and coupled with the Dominican Republic's checkered history of foreign policy solidarity with the CARICOM states it is unclear whether the CARICOM states will unanimously vote to admit the Dominican Republic as a full member into the organisation. CARICOM has been working at great pains in trying to integrate with Haiti. It has been proposed that CARICOM may deepen ties with the Dominican Republic through the auspice of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) instead, which is an organisation that stops just short of the Single market and economy which underpins CARICOM. Currently, the Dominican Republic has an unratified free trade agreement (from 2001) with CARICOM. It cooperates with CARICOM (since 1992) under an umbrella organisation, CARIFORUM, an economic pact between CARICOM and the Dominican Republic with the EU. The Dominican Republic originally became an Observer of CARICOM in 1982 and in 1991 it had presented CARICOM with a request for full membership.
In 2005, the Netherlands Antilles made an official request for the status of associate membership. It is not certain how the future dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles will affect the current observer status or the requested associate membership status for the island of Sint Maarten, in the future . Curaçao had announced ,  that it wants to continue deepening ties with the CARICOM bloc.
In 2007, the U.S. Virgin Islands government announced it would begin seeking ties with CARICOM. It is not clear what membership status the USVI would obtain should they join CARICOM. It is possible the USVI would obtain observer status, considering fellow U.S. Caribbean territory Puerto Rico's current observer status.
|Member||Land area (Sq. Km)||Population||GDP (PPP) Millions USD||GDP Per Capita USD|
|Antigua and Barbuda||442.6||85,632||1,646||18,585|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||261||42,696||0,750||14,169|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||389||120,000||1,086||10,150|
|Trinidad and Tobago||5,128||1,305,000||27,038||20,723|
|Member||Land area (Sq. Km)||Population||GDP (PPP) Millions USD||GDP Per Capita USD|
|British Virgin Islands||151||24,000||0.840||38,500|
|Turks and Caicos Islands||948||36,600||0.845||6,400|
|Member||Land area||Population||GDP (PPP) Millions USD||GDP Per Capita USD|
Under Article 4 the CARICOM organisation breaks its 15 member states into two groups: Less Developed Countries (LDCs) and More Developed Countries (MDCs).
The countries of CARICOM which are designated as Less Developed Countries (LDCs) are:
The countries of CARICOM which are designated as More Developed Countries (MDCs) are:
Structures that comprise the overall Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
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.
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.
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.
The Community Council: 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.
The twenty designated institutions of CARICOM are as follows:
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) 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. The CCJ is based in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. The majority of member states 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).
The five designated associate institutions of CARICOM are as follows:
Three countries—Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago—had originally set 5 January 2005 as the date of signing the agreement relating to the (CSME). The ceremony had then been rescheduled to coincide with the 19 February 2005 inauguration of the new CARICOM-headquarters building in Georgetown, Guyana, but this was later postponed after a ruling by the London Privy council caused alarm to several Caribbean countries.
The prospect was that ten of the remaining twelve CARICOM countries would join the CSME by the end of 2005. The Bahamas and Haiti were not expected to be a part of the new economic arrangement at that time. The CARICOM Secretariat maintains frequent contact with another organisation named the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), which represents seven Full members and two Associate members of CARICOM in the Eastern Caribbean. Many of the OECS countries are seeking to maintain themselves as a micro-economic grouping within CARICOM.
The CARICOM Single Market and Economy treaty finally went into effect on 1 January 2006, with Barbados, Belize, Jamaica, Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago as the first full members. On 3 July 2006, the total membership was brought up to twelve when Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines became full members. The British overseas territory of Montserrat is seeking permission from the United Kingdom to become a part of the single market; Haiti will not join the market initially because of its difficult internal political situation; and the Bahamas will not join because of local opposition to a provision that allows skilled workers to move more easily among nations.
Currently (as of early 2009) twelve Member States have introduced CARICOM passports. These states are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. [17 ] CARICOM members yet to issue the common passports are Bahamas, Montserrat and Haiti.
The CARICOM passport creates awareness that CARICOM nationals are nationals of the Community, as well as a specific country.
During the July 2006 CARICOM Summit, the various leaders reached an agreement on measures to ensure hassle-free movement for visitors to the 2007 Cricket World Cup, as well intelligence sharing and cooperation for the security of the event.  People were originally to be able to travel amongst the nine host countries and Dominica between 15 January 2007 and 15 May 2007 using a single CARICOM visa. However, during a meeting in Trinidad and Tobago on 29 December 2006, the Heads of Government decided to push back the creation of the Single Domestic Space to 1 February 2007 in response to representation from tourism ministers and others involved in the tourism industry.[21 ] A single CARICOM visa had been considered for the Cricket World Cup as far back as March 2005.[22 ] The (CARICOM) visas were originally to have been issued from 15 August 2006,  but that deadline was pushed back to early November 2006  however, that deadline also lapsed. Finally it was announced on 4 December 2006 that the visas were ready and the application process began on 15 December 2006. The visas were issued by three CARICOM states (Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago ) outside of the region on the behalf of the 10 countries.  Jamaica issued the Common CARICOM Visa at its consulates in Miami, New York and Toronto. Trinidad and Tobago issued the visas at its embassy in New Delhi, India and made special arrangements to open up a facility in Sydney, Australia, attached to its honorary consulate there. Barbados issued the visas at its High Commission in London for a number of countries.  These international venues were ready to accept applications by 15 December 2006. Additionally, those in need of visas who were already in CARICOM states could apply directly to the special visa sites there. For countries that have no Caribbean representatives, the CARICOM visa would originally have been issued by the UK,  but this was no longer the case and instead the application form were made available for those unable to download it. In addition to the six issuing sites, remote sites had been set up to facilitate persons requiring the visa. These sites were located in Geneva (Jamaican permanent mission to the office of specialized agencies of the UN), Berlin (Jamaican embassy), Brussels (Barbadian embassy), Beijing (Jamaican embassy) and Caracas (Trinidadian embassy).[29 ] In late January, the Pakistan Cricket Board began lobbying for a satellite visa office to be setup in Pakistan for fans there who were having trouble obtaining the visa from the New Delhi site.  The visa cost US$100  and it was expected that most visas would be issued between two to three weeks after application. Applicants first had to satisfy security requirements and other local immigration criteria before being granted the visa, which would only be valid from 1 February to 15 May in 2007. The common CARICOM visa was originally supposed be applicable to the nationals of 46 countries,  but was finally made applicable to all nationalities with the following exceptions: citizens of Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, the United States of America, the United Kingdom and all of the dependent territories, associated states and departments of those countries do not require the visa. [32 ] Citizens of CARICOM member states (excepting Haiti), associate member states or persons who were in the region and enjoying status as residents, or were on visitors visas, work permits, and student visas were also not be required to obtain the visa[32 ] By January, the Heads of Government also moved to waive the visa fees for children under age of 12, thus easing the cost for families.[21 ] Non-accredited diplomats or persons travelling on diplomatic or official passports; cricket teams, officials, media and sponsors and their spouses and children; Cuban nationals and seamen and airline crew entering to join vessels/aircraft were also exempted from payment (but not necessarily from the visa requirement).[29 ]
Cruise ship passengers not staying more than 24 hours at any of the 10 Caribbean countries were issued with a CARICOM day pass. However, those who were staying on cruise ships, dubbed “floating hotels” for the duration of the games, were required to obtain a visa unless their countries fell within those that are exempted.[32 ] Visa abolition agreements between some of the ten Caribbean states concerned and countries whose citizens were then required to obtain CARICOM visas during the Cricket World Cup provided for the suspension of the visa-free policy in such cases.[32 ]
During the three and a half month period from February to May, the ten Caribbean countries became a “single domestic space”  in which travellers only had their passport stamped and had to submit completed entry and departure forms at the first port and country of entry. The entry and departure forms were also standardised for all ten countries.  When continuing travel throughout the Single Domestic Space, persons (including those using the common visa) were not required to have their documents processed to clear customs and immigration and did not need to have their passports stamped, but still needed to travel with them.  Once passengers arrived at the Immigration Department Desk at the first port of entry, they were provided with a blue CARICOM wristband that identified them for hassle free movement through the single domestic space. [35 ]
By 1 February 2007 officials in Barbados announced that of 6 000+ CARICOM visas applied for thus far, about 5 000 had already been processed. The Barbados government went on with the announcement saying that the rest of the CARICOM visas would be processed soon. By 5 March 2007, shortly before the start of the Cricket World Cup, over 20,000 CARICOM visas had been issued[37 ] and by the end of April, at the end of the Cricket World Cup, over 42,000 visas had been issued, with only 1,540 applications being denied, primarily for reasons of human trafficking.[38 ] When the single domestic space came to an end on 15 May 2007 nearly 45,000 visas had been issued.[39 ]
In February 2007 the CARICOM Heads of Government agreed to set up a Task Force to recommend a revised CARICOM Special Visa for the future, making any changes necessary from the experiences of the 3 month Single Domestic Space. This Task Force had its first meeting on 25 May in Trinidad and Tobago and reported to the July 2007 Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government in Barbados. In addition, a paper will also be presented on the issue of how best to establish a rationalised Single Domestic Space to facilitate hassle-free travel within the region on a permanent basis.[39 ][40 ]
At the 28th CARICOM Heads of Government Conference  in Barbados it was agreed to implement a CARICOM travel card that will be issued to every CARICOM national except those on the Community’s watch list. An implementation plan for the document will be put together and submitted to the Heads at the next inter-sessional meeting to be held in September. The card will virtually maintain the ‘single domestic space’ and holders will not need a passport, during inter-community travel.  The card will also allow a CARICOM national an automatic six-month stay in any territory within the bloc.  It is not expected to affect the security of the member countries, as any holder will be deported if he or she breaks the law.  Similar to the "Pass Cards" available in other parts of the world,[44 ] the new card would be the size of a credit card and will feature facial and fingerprinting biometrics – so upon arrival at an airport, travellers can swipe the card in the machine which will open the barrier allowing them to walk through.  [44 ] In addition to being available to all CARICOM national, the card would be available to expatriates who have legal status in a member country. Their card would be time-bound in a way that is linked exclusively to the time of their legal status. [44 ] The cost of acquiring the card is to yet be determined, but the country leaders have agreed that the proceeds would go towards offsetting the cost of enhanced security at the ports. 
From around the year 2000, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) states have placed a new focus and emphasis on establishing Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with local and international trading partners. In the past this was done in collaboration with the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery (CRNM), however in 2009 the CARICOM Heads of Government have voted for the CRNM to be moved to the Caribbean Community organisation where it would become renamed the CARICOM Office of Trade Negotiations (OTN)
Note that the on-going negotiations with the EU over an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) involves all the CARICOM Member States (except Montserrat, which is not independent) plus the Dominican Republic grouped under the Caribbean Forum or CARIFORUM sub-grouping of the ACP countries. At the end of these negotiations (begun in 2002 and due to end in 2007) there will be a new Free Trade Agreement that will replace the Lomé system of preferential access to the European market for the ACP from 2008.
The Caribbean Community , or CARICOM, is a group of nations in the Caribbean Sea that have come together. They share their products, and they have a government to help organize the area. They are mainly together to help trade and their economies.
The full members are: