Caribbean Community

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 SecretariatGuyana Georgetown, Guyana
Largest cities Port-au-Prince
Official languages English, French, Dutch
Type Supranational organisation
Member states
   Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque
   Chairman Dean Barrow
   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 fifteen 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.

Established mainly by the English-speaking parts of the Caribbean, 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 that cleared the way to transform the idea of a common market CARICOM into a Caribbean (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy. Part of the revised treaty establishes and implements the Caribbean Court of Justice. Since 2013, the CARICOM-bloc and the Dominican Republic have been 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

Organizational structure

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]

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


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

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

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

The Community 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 community's principal organs; the other is the Conference of the Heads of Government. It 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
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.

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).

Associate institutions

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

The flag of the Caribbean Community was chosen and approved in November 1983 at the Conference of Heads of Government Meeting in Port of Spain, Trinidad. The original design by the firm of WINART Studies in Georgetown, Guyana was substantially modified at the July 1983 Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government.[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, but the upper part is a light blue representing sky and the lower, a darker blue representing the Caribbean Sea. The yellow circle in the centre 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 a break with the colonial past. The narrow ring of green around the sun represents the vegetation of the region.[10]

For CARICOM's 40th anniversary, a competition to compose an official song or anthem for CARICOM was launched in April 2013[12] to promote choosing a 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. Three rounds of competition condensed 63 entries to a final three, from which judges chose Celebrating CARICOM by Michele Henderson of Dominica[12] in March 2014.[13] Henderson won a US$10,000 prize.[14] Her song was produced by her husband, Roland Delsol Jr., and arranged by Earlson Matthew. It also featured 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]

A second-place entry titled My CARICOM came from Jamaican Adiel Thomas[12] who won US$5,000,[14] and a third-place song titled One CARICOM by Carmella Lawrence of St. Kitts and Nevis,[12] won US$2,500.[14] The other songs from the top-ten finalists (in no particular order) were:

The first official performance of Celebrating CARICOM by 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]


CARICOM, originally the Caribbean Community and Common Market, was established by the Treaty of Chaguaramas[15] which took 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) organised to provide a continued economic linkage between the English-speaking countries of the Caribbean after the dissolution of the West Indies Federation, which lasted from 3 January 1958 to 31 May 1962.

A revised Treaty of Chaguaramas established the Caribbean Community including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and 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] The revised treaty cleared the way to transform the idea of a common market CARICOM into the Caribbean (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy. Part of the revised treaty includes the establishing and implementing the Caribbean Court of Justice.

Since 2013 the CARICOM-bloc and with the Dominican Republic have been tied to the European Union via an Economic Partnership Agreements signed in 2008 known as CARIFORUM.[5] The treaty grants all members of the European Union and CARIFORUM equal rights in terms of trade and investment. Under Article 234 of the agreement, the European Court of Justice handles dispute resolution between CARIFORUM and European Union states.[6]

Haiti invasion

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 other CARICOM heads of government and stated that he had been kidnapped by France and the United States and taken out of the country.[16][17] CARICOM announced that no democratically elected government in CARICOM should have its leader deposed. The fourteen other heads of government sought to have Aristide visit Jamaica and share his account of events with them. The move to fly Jean-Bertrand Aristide to Jamaica from where he was in Africa infuriated the unelected interim Haitian prime minister, Gérard Latortue. Latortue announced he would take steps to take Haiti out of CARICOM.

CARICOM announced it would vote on suspending recognition of Latortue's régime before he could do so. They did; Haitian officials were suspended from 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.[18] Haiti's membership remained effectively suspended from 29 February 2004 through early June 2006. Following the democratic election of René Préval as President of Haiti, he gave the opening address at the Council of Ministers meeting in July.


See also: Trade bloc
Population and economic statistics of full and associate members
Member Membership Land area (km2)[19] Population[20][21] GDP (PPP) Millions USD[22] GDP Per Capita (PPP) USD (2014) Human Development Index (2014)
 Anguilla associate 91 13,477 0.108 8,800
 Antigua & Barbuda full member 442.6 89,018 1,920 22,998 0.783
 Bahamas full member 10,010 316,182 8,800 25,075 0.790
 Barbados full member 430 287,733 4,500 16,365 0.785
 Belize full member 22,806 327,719 2,800 8,333 0.715
 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 11,163 0.724
 Grenada full member 344 109,011 1,210 12,477 0.750
 Guyana full member 196,849 741,908 5,200 6,921 0.636
 Haiti full member 27,560 9,801,664 17,600 1,757 0.483
 Jamaica full member 10,831 2,889,187 23,600 8,610 0.719
 Montserrat full member 102 5,164 0.043 -
 Saint Kitts and Nevis full member 261 50,726 1,160 21,474 0.752
 Saint Lucia full member 606 162,178 1,880 11,644 0.729
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines full member 389 103,537 1,160 10,684 0.720
 Suriname full member 156,000 560,157 8,800 16,261 0.714
 Trinidad & Tobago full member 5,128 1,226,383 40,600 32,170 0.772
 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 member states,[23] mainly in the Bahamas (5,600),[24] Antigua & Barbuda (estimated 12,000),[25] Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago).[23] Also, an estimated 150 Jamaicans live and work in Montserrat.[25] A November 21, 2013 estimated put 16,958 Jamaicans 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.[26] By October 2014, the estimated Jamaicans residing illegally in Trinidad and Tobago was 19,000 along with an estimated 7,169 Barbadians and 25,884 Guyanese residing illegally.[27] An estimated 8,000 Trinidadians and Tobagonians live in Jamaica.[28]

Barbados hosts a large diaspora population of Guyanese, of whom (in 2005) 5,032 lived there permanently as citizens, permanent residents, immigrants (with immigrant status) and Caricom skilled nationals; 3,200 were residing in Barbados temporarily under work permits, 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.[29] 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.[30]

Migration between Guyana and Suriname also goes back a number of years. An estimated 50,000 Guyanese had migrated to Suriname by 1986[31][32] In 1987 an estimated 30-40,000 Guyanese were in Suriname.[33] Many Guyanese left Suriname in the 1970s and 1980s, either voluntarily by expulsion. Over 5,000 were expelled in January 1985 alone.[34] in the instability Suriname experienced following independence, both coups and civil war.[32] In 2013 an estimated 11,530 Guyanese had emigrated to Suriname and 4,662 Surinamese to Guyana.[35]

Relationship to other supranational Caribbean organisations

Supranational Caribbean Organisations

Association of Caribbean States

CARICOM was instrumental in the formation of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) on 24 July 1994. The original idea for the Association came from a recommendation of the West Indian Commission, established in 1989 by the CARICOM heads of state and government. The Commission advocated both deepening the integration process (through the CARICOM Single Market and Economy) and widening it through a separate regional organization encompassing all states in the Caribbean.[36]

CARICOM accepted the commission's recommendations and opened dialogue with other Caribbean states, the Central American states and the Latin American nations of Colombia, Venezuela and Mexico which border the Caribbean, for consultation on the proposals of the West Indian Commission.[36]

At an October 1993 summit the heads of state and government of CARICOM and the presidents of the then-Group of Three (Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela) formally decided to create an association grouping all states of the Caribbean basin. A work schedule for its formation was adopted. The aim was to create the association in less than a year, an objective which was achieved with the formal creation of the ACS.[36]

Community of Latin American and Caribbean States

CARICOM was also involved in the formation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) on 3 December 2010. The idea for CELAC originated at the Rio Group–Caribbean Community Unity Summit on 23 February 2010 in Mexico.[37][38][39][40][41]

OHADAC Project

In May 2016, Caricom's court of original jurisdiction, the CCJ, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the ACP Legal Association based in Guadeloupe recognizing and supporting the goals of implementing a harmonized business law framework in the Caribbean through ACP Legal Association's OHADAC Project.[42]

OHADAC is the acronym for the French "Organisation pour l'Harmonisation du Droit des Affaires en les Caraïbes", which translates into English as "Organisation for the Harmonization of Business Law in the Caribbean". The OHADAC Project takes inspiration from a similar organisation in Africa and aims to enhance economic integration across the entire Caribbean and facilitate increased trade and international investment through unified laws and alternative dispute resolution methods.[42]

See also


  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.
  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. 1 2 Caribbean moves afoot to restructure CARIFORUM, Peter Richards, Tuesday April 12th 2011
  6. 1 2 "Letter: Privy Council and EPA", October 8, 2009, Jamaica Gleaner
  7. 1 2 3 4 Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas
  8. Regional Portfolios of CARICOM Heads of Government
  9. 1 2 CARICOM Standard
  10. Flag of the Caribbean Community and Common Market
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 "History created as new CARICOM song is launched".
  12. 1 2 3 WORD Version of CARICOM song competition Fact Sheet
  13. 1 2 3 "CARICOM Song Competition: Terms of Reference" (PDF).
  14. Original Treaty of Chaguaramas Archived October 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. "Aristide accuses U.S. of coup d'état". Canadian Broadcast Corporation. 2004-03-02. Retrieved 2011-03-25.
  16. "Aristide launches kidnap lawsuit". BBC News. 2004-03-31. Retrieved 2011-03-25.
  17. "Haiti suspends ties with CARICOM". Retrieved 2011-03-25.
  18. CIA World Factbook: Land area rankings:
  20. CIA World Factbook: Population rankings:
  22. 1 2 30,000 Jamaicans residing in other CARICOM member states
  23. Jamaicans of the Bahamas
  24. 1 2 Prime Minister Golding calls on Jamaicans in Antigua and Barbuda to cooperate with government and people there
  25. Close to 17,000 Jamaicans residing illegally in Trinidad
  26. 7,000 illegal Bajans in T&T
  27. Bissessar celebrates new Trinidad and Tobago High Commission
  28. Guyanese, British and Americans among illegal immigrants living in Barbados
  29. Mudheads in Barbados, a lived experience
  30. "Ethnologue Languages of Suriname".
  31. 1 2 "Guyanese Creole Survey Report" (PDF).
  32. "Guyanese vital in Suriname".
  33. "Nervous Neighbours - Guyana and Suriname".
  34. "Guyana Migration Profiles" (PDF).
  35. 1 2 3 "Evolution of the Association of Caribbean States" (PDF).
  36. "''Mexidata'' (English) March 1, 2010". Retrieved 2012-05-25.
  37. "Acuerdan crear Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños". Associated Press. February 23, 2010.
  38. "América Latina crea una OEA sin Estados Unidos". El País. February 23, 2010.
  39. US Embassy Cable - Mexico's Latin American Summit 22-23 February
  40. Rio Group approves its expansion at Unity Summit
  41. 1 2 CCJ signs MOU on harmonising business law in Caribbean

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