Caribbean Community

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The Caribbean Community
Flag of the CARICOM
Membership 15 members 1
5 associate members 2
7 observers 3
Official Languages English 4
Seat of Secretariat Georgetown, Guyana
Secretary-General Edwin W. Carrington (since 1992)
Currencies Bahamian dollar (BSD or BS$)

Barbadian dollar (BBD or Bds$)
Belize dollar (BZD or BZ$)
East Caribbean dollar (XCD or EC$)5
Guyanese dollar (GYD or GY$)
Haitian gourde (HTG or G)
Jamaican dollar (JMD or J$/JA$)
Surinamese dollar (SRD or SR$)
Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TTD or TT$)

Official website
1 14 independent states, 1 dependent territory

2 5 dependent territories
3 4 independent states, 3 dependent territories
4 unofficially also Dutch, French and Haitian Creole
5 used by the OECS members

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

CARICOM replaced the 1965–1972 Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA), which had been organized 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 January 3, 1958 to May 31, 1962.

A Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas[2] establishing the Caribbean Community including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) was signed by the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community on July 5 2001 at their Twenty-Second Meeting of the Conference in Nassau, The Bahamas.


[edit] Overview

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has become unofficially multilingual in practice with the addition of Dutch-speaking Suriname on July 4, 1995 and Haiti, where French and Haitian Creole are spoken, on July 2, 2002.

In 2001, the heads of government signed a Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas thus clearing the way for the transformation of the Common Market aspect of CARICOM. Part of the revised treaty includes the establishment and implementation of the Caribbean Court of Justice.

[edit] Membership

Caricom members and observers      full members      associate members      observers
Caricom members and observers
     full members      associate members      observers

Currently CARICOM has 15 full members:

There are five associate members:

There are seven observers:

From March 2004, Haiti's participation in CARICOM was suspended by its interim Prime Minister, Gerard Latortue in response to the visit of Jean-Bertrand Aristide (the ousted President) to Jamaica.[3] Haiti's membership had been effectively suspended though since February 29, 2004 as CARICOM refused to recognize the new interim government. In early June 2006, Haiti was readmitted as a full member of the CARICOM, and Haitian President René Préval gave the opening address at the organization's Council of Ministers meeting in July.

In July 1999, Anguilla once again became involved with CARICOM when it gained associate membership. Prior to 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 had proposed seeking to obtain full membership status in CARICOM for his country (for the second time); 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 organization. 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 proposed political integration which will underpin CARICOM at a later date. Currently, the Dominican Republic also has a free trade agreement (from 2001) with CARICOM and also cooperates with CARICOM (since 1992) under the umbrella organization, Cariforum, in economic negotiations with the EU.[4] The Dominican Republic originally became an Observer of CARICOM in 1982 and in 1991 it had presented CARICOM with a request for full membership.[5]

Also in 2005, the Netherlands Antilles made an official request for the status of associate membership.[6] It is not known how the future dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles will affect the current observer status or the requested associate membership status of the islands, such as Sint Maarten, in the future though Curaçao has announced [3], [4] 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.[7] 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.

See also: Trade bloc

[edit] Structure

After the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, CARICOM reorganised itself into a state like Government structure made up of the following branches:

[edit] The Executive

Comprising of a rotating prime ministerial Chairmanship of CARICOM (Head of CARICOM), the CARICOM Secretary General (Chief Executive) and the CARICOM Headquarters secretariat (Chief Administrative Organ). There is also a quasi Cabinet of individual Heads of Government who are given specific responsibility or portfolios for overall regional development and integration.[8]

[edit] The Legislative

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 the principal organs (the other being the Conference of the Heads of Government) and is supported by four other organs and three bodies.

[edit] Supporting Organs

  • The Council for Finance and Planning (COFAP)
  • The Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED)
  • The Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR)
  • The Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD)

[edit] Supporting Bodies

  • The Legal Affairs Committee: provides legal advice to the organs and bodies of the Community (related: CARICOMLaw)
  • The Budget Committee: examines the draft budget and work programme of the Secretariat and submits recommendations to the Community Council; and,
  • The Committee of Central Bank Governors: provides recommendations to the COFAP on monetary and financial matters

[edit] The Judiciary

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) will act as the original jurisdiction for settlement of disputes on the functioning of the Caribbean (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy (CSME), as well as serving as an appellate court of last resort for member states which have severed their country's ties with the Privy Council in London, United Kingdom. The CCJ is based in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Many 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 awaiting instruments of entrustment in order to ratify the Revised Treaty (Montserrat).

[edit] Caribbean Community organs and bodies

Structures that comprise the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

  • Standing Committee of Ministers - Ministerial responsibilities for specific areas, for example the Standing Committee of Ministers responsible for Health will comprise of Ministers of Health from each member state

[edit] Secretariat

The Secretariat is located in Georgetown, Guyana.

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."

[edit] Caribbean Community Institutions

[edit] Associate Institutions

[edit] Secondary organs

  • Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED)
  • Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR)
  • Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD)
  • Council for Finance and Planning (COFAP)

[edit] Other bodies

  • Legal Affairs Committee (related: CARICOM Law)
  • Budget Committee
  • Committee of the Central Bank Governors

[edit] CARICOM projects

[edit] CARICOM Single Market and Economy

     CARICOM members part of CSM     CARICOM members not part of CSM     CARICOM associate members
     CARICOM members part of CSM     CARICOM members not part of CSM     CARICOM associate members

Three countries: Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago had originally set January 5, 2005 as the date of signing the agreement relating to the (CSME), the ceremony had then been rescheduled to coincide with the February 19, 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 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.

[edit] The CARICOM Common Passport

On Friday, January 7, 2005, the Republic of Suriname became the first full member state to officially launch the new bloc "CARICOM Passport". The new passports boast having better security and are also machine-readable. The full member states of the Caribbean Community had agreed to establish a common passport in order to make intra-regional and international travel easier for their citizens. The passports are also thought to save additional costs for member states by using a similar cover design, the designs will also follow newly updated international standards on Passport design.

The second state that released the national CARICOM passport was Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: SVG began issuing the new CARICOM passports around April 2005. On 25 October 2005, St. Kitts and Nevis became the third CARICOM member state to bring the CARICOM passport into operation, making good on its promise to launch it before the end of the year and began Issuance of the document to its citizens on 14 November 2005.[9]

Antigua and Barbuda had announced that it would begin using the new CARICOM passport format by the middle of 2005.

St. Lucia has also proposed introducing the common passport in early 2007 [10] and actually introduced it on January 16, 2007.[11]

Trinidad and Tobago had announced that it would begin to issue the new CARICOM passport in June 2006, and then indicated that it would introduce the passport in July 2006 along with Guyana,[12] but only finally introduced the passport on January 24, 2007.[11]

Grenada planned to begin issuing the common passport in mid-2006,[10] but started issuing them on January 29, 2007.[11]

     Members with common passport implemented     Members without common passport     Associate members
     Members with common passport implemented     Members without common passport     Associate members

Currently (as of early 2007) eight Member States have introduced CARICOM passports. These states are Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.[12] [11]

The CARICOM passport creates awareness that CARICOM nationals are nationals of the Community, as well as a specific country.

The expectation is that all the member states will have introduced the CARICOM passport by 2008 when the stock of their old passports is depleted.

Belize is to introduce the passport after its current stock is depleted.

Jamaica was expected to institute the passport by January 2007, having recently upgraded its passport to a machine-readable state[10], but this deadline lapsed; however, Jamaica is now expected to begin issuing the passport before the end of 2007.[13]

Barbados had planned to switch to the common format by late 2006.[10]

The Co-operative Republic of Guyana had also announced that it would begin to use the new CARICOM passport format by the middle of 2005, but the introduction was delayed and the new target date is July 2006.[12]

[edit] Passport designs

The three colours of the new passports are:

In the case of Suriname, the Passport is adorned with the national symbols for the Republic of Suriname, as well as the CARICOM insignia on its cover. President of the Republic of Suriname Ronald Venetiaan received the first of these new CARICOM passports.

Antigua and Barbuda's design is to feature the country's Coat of Arms and country name as well as the CARICOM logo.

The passports for Suriname were created by the Canadian Banknote Company Ltd. (CBN) Under a five-year programme with a price tag of US$1.5 million. It is believed other member states of CARICOM will now soon follow with the introduction of their own branded version of the national 'CARICOM' Passport.

[edit] CARICOM Visa and the Single Domestic Space

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.[14] People will be able to travel amongst the nine host countries and Dominica between January 15, 2007 and May 15, 2007 using a single CARICOM visa.[15] A single CARICOM visa had been considered for the Cricket World Cup as far back as March 2005.[16] The (CARICOM) visas were originally to have been issued from August 15, 2006[17], but that deadline was pushed back to early November 2006[18] however, that deadline also lapsed. Finally it was announced on December 4, 2006 that the visas were now ready and that the application process should begin on December 15, 2006.[19] The visas are to be issued by three CARICOM states (Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago[18]) outside of the region on the behalf of the 10 countries.[20] Jamaica will issue the Common CARICOM Visa at its consulates in Miami, New York and Toronto. Trinidad and Tobago will issue the visas at its embassy in New Delhi, India and would be making special arrangements to open up a facility in Sydney, Australia, attached to its honorary consulate there. Barbados will issue the visas at its High Commission in London for a number of countries.[20] These international venues should be ready to accept applications by December 15, 2006. Additionally, those in need of visas who are already in CARICOM states may apply directly to the special visa sites there.[19] For countries that have no Caribbean representatives, the CARICOM visa would originally have been issued by the UK,[17] but this is no longer the case[21] and instead the application form will be made available for those unable to download it.[22] In addition to the six issuing sites, remote sites have been set up to facilitate persons requiring the visa. These sites are 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).[23] 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.[24] The visa will cost US$100[20] and it is expected that most visas should be issued between two to three weeks after application. Applicants would first have to satisfy security requirements and other local immigration criteria before being granted the visa, which would only be valid from January 15 to May 15 in 2007.[19] The common CARICOM visa was originally supposed be applicable to the nationals of 46 countries[25], but is now 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.[20] [26] Citizens of CARICOM member states (excepting Haiti), associate member states or persons who are in the region and enjoying status as residents, or are on visitors visas, work permits, and student visas would also not be required to obtain the visa[26] [27] Recently, the Heads of Government also moved to waive the visa fees for children under age of 12, thus easing the cost for families.[28] 2) Non-accredited diplomats or persons traveling 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 are also exempted from payment (but not necessarily from the visa requirement).[23]

Cruise ship passengers not staying more than 24 hours at any of the 10 Caribbean countries would be issued with a CARICOM day pass. However, those who will be staying on cruise ships, dubbed “floating hotels” for the duration of the games, would be required to obtain a visa unless their countries fall within those that are exempted.[26] Visa abolition agreements between some of the ten Caribbean states concerned and countries whose citizens might now be required to obtain CARICOM visas during the Cricket World Cup provide for the suspension of the visa-free policy in such cases.[26]

During the 4 month period from January to May, the ten Caribbean countries will become a “single domestic space”[25] in which travellers will only have their passport stamped and have to submit completed entry and departure forms at the first port and country of entry. The entry and departure forms will also be standardised for all ten countries.[17] When continuing travel throughout the Single Domestic Space, persons (including those using the common visa) will not be required to have their documents processed to clear customs and immigration and will not have their passports stamped, but would still need to travel with them.[14] During a meeting in Trinidad and Tobago on December 29, 2006, the Heads of Government decided to push back the creation of the Single Domestic Space to February 1, 2007 in response to representation from tourism ministers and others involved in the tourism industry.[28]

On February 1, 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 that the rest of the CARICOM visas would be processed soon.[5]

[edit] Future proposals

[edit] Free trade

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. This is practically done in collaboration with the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery (CRNM).

Preferential agreements
Free Trade Agreements
  • CARICOM - Canada: To be negotiated, after Canada finishes their CAFTA agreement.
  • CARICOM/CARIFORUM - European Union: On-going negotiation on the EPA ("Economic Partnership Agreement") [6]
  • CARICOM - Mercosur: Opened for discussions in May 2005

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.[29]

[edit] Comparison with other regional blocs

Note: It must be noted that The European Union (EU) is not simply a regional bloc in the common sense. The EU is a Union of sovereign States with the deepest connections in the political, economical and executive fields. Thus, it is a far more integrated bloc than any other regional bloc or cooperative association of sovereign States in the world.

Most active regional blocs

bloc 1
Area (km²) Population GDP (PPP) ($US) Member
states 1
in millions per capita
EU 4,325,675 496,198,605 12,025,415 24,235 27
SAARC 5,136,740 1,467,255,669 4,074,031 2,777 8
CSN 17,339,153 370,158,470 2,868,430 7,749 10
ASEAN 4,400,000 553,900,000 2,172,000 4,044 10
NAFTA 21,588,638 430,495,039 15,279,000 35,491 3
EurAsEC 20,789,100 208,067,618 1,689,137 8,118 6
ECOWAS 5,112,903 251,646,263 342,519 1,361 15
SACU 2,693,418 51,055,878 541,433 10,605 5
GCC 2,285,844 35,869,438 536,223 14,949 6
COMESA 3,779,427 118,950,321 141,962 1,193 5
Agadir 1,703,910 126,066,286 513,674 4,075 4
CEMAC 3,020,142 34,970,529 85,136 2,435 6
CARICOM 462,344 14,565,083 64,219 4,409 14+1 3
EAC 1,763,777 97,865,428 104,239 1,065 3
CACM 422,614 37,816,598 159,536 4,219 5
PARTA 528,151 7,810,905 23,074 2,954 12+2 3
EFTA 529,600 12,233,467 471,547 38,546 4
blocs and
countries 2
Area (km²) Population GDP (PPP) ($US) Political
in millions per capita
UN 133,178,011 6,411,682,270 55,167,630 8,604 192
Germany 357,050 82,438,000 2,585,000 31,400 16
Japan 377,873 128,085,000 4,220,000 33,100 47
Canada 9,984,670 32,507,874 1,165,000 35,200 13
Indonesia 1,904,569 234,300,000 935,000 4,000 33
Brazil 8,514,877 187,560,000 1,616,000 8,600 27
Russia 17,075,200 143,782,338 1,723,000 12,100 89
India 3,287,590 1,102,600,000 4,042,000 3,700 35
China (PRC) 4 9,596,960 1,306,847,624 10,000,000 7,600 33
USA 9,631,418 300,000,000 12,980,000 43,500 50
1 Including data only for full and most active members

2 The first five states in the World by area, population and GDP (PPP)
3 Including non-sovereign autonomous entities of other states

4 Data for the People's Republic of China does not include Hong Kong, Macau and
regions administered by the Republic of China (Taiwan).

     smallest value among the blocs compared      largest value among the blocs compared

During 2004. Source: CIA World Factbook 2005, IMF WEO Database
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[edit] See also


[edit] References

  1. ^ Treaty of Chaguaramas
  2. ^ Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas
  3. ^ Haiti suspends ties with CARICOM
  4. ^ The EU and CariforumPDF (316 KiB)
  5. ^ Dominican Republic in CARICOM?
  6. ^ Netherlands Antilles policy towards the Caribbean is one of committed neighbour
  7. ^ USVI, BVI leaders discuss areas of mutual interest
  8. ^ Regoinal Portfolios of CARICOM Heads of Government
  9. ^ St. Kitts and Nevis launches CARICOM passport
  10. ^ a b c d Establishment of CSME: Summary of status of key elementsPDF (54.5 KiB)
  11. ^ a b c d [1]
  12. ^ a b c Lesser Known Facts about the CSM
  13. ^ [2]
  14. ^ a b Freedom of Movement during Cricket World Cup
  15. ^ CARICOM’s historic steps towards integration
  16. ^ Will we lose the Cricket World Cup?.
  17. ^ a b c Mega-security plan for Cricket World Cup ‘07
  18. ^ a b c CARICOM visa ready
  19. ^ a b c d Region could begin issuing CARICOM visas in December (scroll down to "November 16, 2006" archive)
  20. ^ News UKvisas
  21. ^ Caricom IMPACS Instruction Sheet for Visa Application Form
  23. ^ Pakistan wants visa problems sorted out for World Cup pakistan seeks satellite visa office reuters
  24. ^ a b Hassle-free movement for CWC 2007 travellers.
  25. ^ a b c d Common CARICOM visa policy for CWC 2007
  26. ^ Haiti not exempt from visa for Cricket World Cup 2007
  27. ^ a b Visa fee ease for families
  28. ^ Economic Partnership Agreements

[edit] External links