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CARICOM received its first Plenipotentiary Representative of New Zealand to the Community. Her Excellency Jan Henderson presented her letters of credence to CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, on 20 January 2016, at the CARICOM Secretariat, Georgetown, Guyana.
The historic Inaugural Meeting of the CARICOM Committee of Ambassadors (CCA) was held on Saturday, 30 May 2015, at the CARICOM Headquarters, Georgetown, Guyana.
The CCA is a Body of the Community. Its role is key to facilitate the implementation of the Strategic Plan within Member States and the overall Reform Process. The establishment and role of the CCA is specifically referenced in the Community Strategic Plan as part of the Governance Strategic Priority: Reform of the Organs, Bodies and Governance Arrangements to Enhance Decision-Making, Implementation and Accountability and Enforcement (GOV1). This Strategic Priority is included among the eleven (11) high-priority areas for focused implementation over the next five years.
CARICOM and Lithuania charted a historic course of diplomatic relations when the first Ambassador of a Baltic country was accredited to CARICOM. Her Excellency Raimonda Murmokaite, presented her letters of credence to Deputy Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community, Ambassador Manorma Soeknandan on Monday, 17 November 2014, at the CARICOM Headquarters in Georgetown, Guyana.
Chairman of the CARICOM Reparations Commission, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, addressed the British House of Commons on 16 July 2014. The Chairman of the Commission outlined the injustices of slavery and the genocide that occurred as a result of European expansion, stating that the government of Great Britain and other European governments that benefitted from slavery and colonialism “have a case to answer to in respect of reparatory justice.”
In discussing the legacy of slavery and colonial rule, Sir Hilary said the CARICOM governments “these past 50 years have been cleaning up the mess left behind by Britain’s colonial legacy”. He said Britain and its Parliament, could not morally and legally turn their back upon this past and walk away from the mess they have left behind. “This Parliament has to return to the scene of its crimes, and participate as a legitimate parliament, as a legal parliament, in the healing and rehabilitation of the Caribbean”.
Sir Hilary asked the government to respond with humility and openness when they receive a request for dialogue on the issue of reparations from Caribbean Governments.Further, he urged the Parliament to take decisive action to correct “the terrible wrongs of the past.”
The issue of Reparations has been high on the agenda for the CARICOM Heads of Government.
Heads of Government approved the first ever Community Strategic Plan, at its 35th Regular Conference in Antigua and Barbuda. The Community Strategic Plan (2015-2019) is a five-year plan to guide the work of the Member States, Associate Members and Community Institutions and Bodies that make up the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). It identifies the issues to be addressed, given current Community problems such as high debt; low growth; high costs; less than optimal intra-regional trade; unemployment and persistent poverty in many Member States; vulnerability of some countries to environmental shocks; severity of natural disasters; crime and security; among others. It maps the strategies and interventions to rebuild the resiliency of the Community and identifies the key actors and stakeholders in the process.
The CARICOM Song, “Celebrating CARICOM”, is the official song of the Community. This song celebrates the history, culture and identity of the people of the Caribbean and is to be used primarily at ceremonial and Community events.
A unique feature of the Song is its celebration of our linguistic diversity - Kwéyòl spoken in the Lesser Antilles and Suriname’s Sranan Tongo that punctuate the rhythmic Bridge.
In celebrating the Fortieth Anniversary of CARICOM in 2013, the CARICOM Secretariat launched a Song Competition to encourage the participation of all CARICOM Member States in composing a song "that would inspire regional pride and unity, celebrate the Community’s diversity and highlight its shared vision and aspirations". The composition, “Celebrating CARICOM”, by Ms. Michele Henderson, a highly acclaimed recording artiste from the Commonwealth of Dominica, was selected by a regional panel of judges.
The Song was launched at the 35th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government held in Antigua and Barbuda, 1-4 July 2014.
Learn more about the CARICOM Song here
CARICOM received its first Ambassador from the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Her Excellency Lucita Moenir Alam presented her credentials to the CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, at the CARICOM Headquarters in Georgetown, Guyana on Wednesday, 7 May 2014.
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) signed the Declaration of Pétionville, reiterating its commitment to protecting the rights of persons with disabilities in the Caribbean.
The Declaration commits to implementing the Kingston Accord on the Responsibilities of States with respect to Persons with Disabilities, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Inter-American Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities, in accordance with the Constitution and laws of the respective States.
CARICOM received its first Ambassador of Israel to the Community. His Excellency Amiram Magid presented his credentials to the CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, on 6 November 2013 at the CARICOM Secretariat, in Georgetown, Guyana.
CARICOM received its first Ambassador of Argentina to the Community. His Excellency Luis Alberto Martino, presented his credentials to the CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, on 28 October 2013, at the CARICOM Secretariat, in Georgetown, Guyana. See press release here
The first CARICOM Twitter Relay held by CARICOM Youth Ambassadors (CYAs) to observe the 40th anniversary of CARICOM, began mid-morning and continued until 7 pm on 30 June 2013.
Under theme-based legs of the relay, youth zeroed in on the “utmost importance” of integration, given the small size of Member States and the vulnerabilities to which they are exposed. They tackled critical issues such as education and economic empowerment, transportation, free movement, health and wellness, culture, religion, active participation of youth in building the Community, the implementation deficit, climate change, collaboration among the private sectors of Member States, and the creation of competitive advantage in the global arena.
They defined the Community they would like to live in as "united", "cohesive", "productive", "enabling", and "progressive". According to the youth, the next 40 years should be a time for “implementation” and “sustained action”, where “each word and every action” from political leaders lend themselves to an “awakening” of the talents of young people. The future must also be a time of creating and promoting opportunities for young people, an era in which Caribbean people feel more connected to the regional thrust and have a firm understanding of their role in the creation of a viable, unified entity.
The CARICOM Youth Ambassador Programme, which is coordinated by the CARICOM Secretariat, aims to educate young people and encourage participation in regional integration; and to advise policymakers on formulating development policies and programmes which address youth needs and concerns.
Under the theme, Culture for Development, the eleventh Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA) took place in Suriname from 15-25 August 2013. In launching the 10-day Festival, President of the Republic of Suriname, H.E. Desiré Bouterse, emphasised that without culture there could be no development in the long term. Culture, he said, united the Region and must be harnessed to deliver economic benefits.
CARIFESTA XI, is taking place at a time when “CARIFESTA is undergoing a transformation to position it as a space where Caribbean culture and the arts can be promoted to help improve the economic viability of our Member States,” said the CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque.
The Festival which began in 1972 is being held for the second time in Suriname and features the visual, performing, literary and culinary arts, among others, as well as a number of symposia and workshops. A new feature is the Caribbean Market Place for the Arts which seeks to provide opportunities for young artists from the Region to meet with booking agents, promoters and cultural industry executives to generate business and further their development.
The Caribbean Regional Aid for Trade (AfT) Strategy was launched on 11 June 2013, in Haiti, by His Excellency Michel Martelly, President of Haiti.
Aid for Trade refers to the flow of development finance from developed countries and multilateral funding agencies to developing countries to enhance their participation in the multilateral trading system. The Caribbean Strategy, developed with the assistance of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), aims to create consensus within CARICOM on priorities for ensuring growth and a more diversified regional economy.
The Strategy presents a coherent approach to obtaining funding. Further, it provides a framework for collaboration among CARICOM Member States and international development partners (IDPs) or investors with an interest in providing support for the Region’s development. Among the key areas of the AFT Strategy are:maritime transport; ICT; energy; trade facilitation; sanitary and phytosanitary measures; quality infrastructure; services, and private sector development; strengthening regional integration and the capacity of regional institutions; and increasing the transparency and reliability of Aft flows, negotiation and implementation of trade agreements, and knowledge of the impact of trade liberalisation.
CARICOM Heads of Government selected Ambassador Irwin LaRocque to serve as the seventh Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Ambassador LaRocque, a national of Dominica, replaces His Excellency Sir Edwin Carrington of Trinidad and Tobago. See Press Release here
CARPHA became a legal entity following the signing of the Inter-governmental Agreement at the 32nd Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government in St Kitts and Nevis, in July, 2011. A Community Institution, this body consolidates the core functions of five regional health institutions to provide quality public health care to the Region’s peoples.
CARPHA is headquartered in Trinidad and Tobago
CARICOM Secretary-General, Amb. Edwin Carrington, on 30 April 2010, accepted the credentials of the first Plenipotentiary Representative of Australia to the Caribbean Community, His Excellency Philip Kentwell.
The Secretary-General noted Australia's advocacy role on behalf CARICOM was relevant in international financial instituions and other major international policy-making bodies such as the G8 and G20 groups, which must be made more aware and responsive to the needs of our small highly-indebted middle-income countries.
See Press Releases here
The first CARICOM-Brazil Summit was held on 26 April 2010, in Brazil. Delegations from CARICOM Member States which included 10 Heads of Government met with Brazil’s President, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva.
Outputs of the historic summit included a CARICOM-Brazil Technical Cooperation Agreement addressing 16 areas of cooperation, including agriculture, health, tourism and transportation, and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Technical Cooperation identifying five priority areas.
Investment in food safety is of strategic importance in keeping the Region’s export markets open. The agency upon which the Region will depend to strengthen agricultural health and food safety and to ensure the highest standards for trade in agricultural products was inaugurated on 18 March 2010, in Paramaribo, Suriname by His Excellency Runaldo Venetiaan, President of Suriname.
The CARICOM Advocacy for Gender Justice Programme was launched on 8 March 2010. Described as a historic initiative for the advocacy of gender equality and justice, the programme will influence research, advocacy and policy to lessen the perpetration of violence against women and promote justice. The two-year programme will be coordinated by Dr. Rosina Wiltshire, CARICOM’s Advocate for Gender Justice. Learn more here
CARICOM Heads of States and Government endorsed the Liliendaal Declaration at their Thirtieth Meeting at Liliendaal, Guyana on 2-5 July 2009.
This Declaration affirms the objectives of the UNFCCC and the Kyoto protocol. "It places the onus of mitigation efforts on the developed nations, while underscoring the vulnerability of low-lying, small island developing states such as those found in the Caribbean. As well, it points to CARICOM's own efforts at education, outreach and adaptation in response to climate change"
The CARICOM Competition Commission was inaugurated in Suriname on January 8, 2008. The role of the CARICOM Competition Commission, in Community Competition Policy is to promote fair competition within the Caribbean Community in order to enhance economic efficiency and consumer welfare.
More than 20 CARICOM Institutions met at the CARICOM Secretariat on 25 October 2007. The meeting provided an opportunity for the institutions to begin the task of achieving greater collaboration and cooperation; avoiding duplication of effort and utilizing increasingly scarce resources, to the maximum benefit of the Community.
CARICOM Heads of Government had asked for a comprehensive review of regional institutions with a view to rationalizing their functions, funding and structures in order to improve common services and coordination of national policies and programmes within the Community.
The First Congress for the Environmental Charter and Climatic Change was held at Ávila Mountain, Caracas, 11-13 October 2007. CARICOM Heads of Government agreed on the need to prepare a Regional Framework to respond to the challenges posed by Climate Change.
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat and other regional educational Institutions joined with the National Training Agency of Jamaica, the HEART Trust/NTA to launch the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) on Friday, 19 October 2007, in Kingston, Jamaica.
The CARICOM Single Market and Economy necessitates a common system and understanding across the Region, of quality assurance at all levels of education and training. The CVQ will facilitate the movement of artisans and other skilled persons in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). This qualification will be accessible to persons already in the workforce as well as students in secondary schools across the Caribbean region. Persons already in the work force will be required to attend designated centres for assessment.
Haiti joined the Single Market and Economy by ratifying the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas in October 2007. CARICOM also reopened the CARICOM Representational Office in Port-au-Prince in October signaling that Haiti was back in the fold. This was made possible with the assistance of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The office was headed by Ambassador Earl Huntley of Saint Lucia who works closely with Haiti’s Bureau de Suivi to facilitate Haiti’s integration into the Single Market and Economy.
A Regional Summit on Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) was convened by CARICOM Heads of Government on 15 September 2007, in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.
Under the theme, Stemming the Tide of Non-Communicable Diseases in the Caribbean, the Summit waschaired by the Right Honourable Owen Arthur, Prime Minister of Barbados and Chairman of the Conference of Heads of Government. The Summit emphasised the centrality of functional cooperation and collective action to Community development and to the well being of Caribbean people.
The Declaration, Uniting to Stop the Epidemic of Chronic NCDs , was issued. It committed to programmes to improve the health of the Region such as the re-introduction of physical education in schools; the promotion of physical activity in the entire population, along with the provision of facilities to encourage the practice; and comprehensive public education programmes on wellness and healthy lifestyles. The Summit agreed that the second Saturday in September of each year will be declared Caribbean Wellness Day in observance of the Summit and its decisions.
Heads of Government in attendance were: Hon. Baldwin Spencer, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda; Rt. Hon. Hubert A. Ingraham, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas; Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica; Hon. Bruce Golding, Prime Minister of Jamaica; Hon. Dr. Lowell Lewis, Chief Minister of Montserrat; Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis; Hon. Stephenson King, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia; Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines; His Excellency Drs. Runaldo R. Venetiaan, President of the Republic of Suriname; and Hon. Patrick Manning, Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
At the 28th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government, in Needham Point Barbados, on 4-7 July 2007, the Conference declared their “determination to prioritise functional cooperation as one of the principal means by which the benefits of the integration movement are distributed through the length and breadth of the Community, including its Associate Members”.
In emphasising the centrality of functional co-operation to the Community’s development, the Conference issued a declaration entitled: A Community For All: Declaration on Functional Co-operation. In that Declaration, Heads of Government, pledged “to invest in functional cooperation for the further development of our Region’s human and social capital, whose greatest dividend is the creation of a Community for All”.
The Conference noted the evolution of the concept and its application of functional cooperation in the Community; and identified the priorities and targets for implementation in areas that optimally contribute to the regional integration process and the development and well-being of CARICOM citizens.
The Needham’s Point Declaration signals a shift in emphasis with respect to functional cooperation and the approval of the Single Development Vision.
Learn more: Communique Issued At The Conclusion Of The Twenty-eighth Meeting Of The Conference Of Heads Of Government Of The Caribbean Community (caricom), 1-4 July 2007, Needham’s Point, Barbados
A historic conference on the Caribbean took place in Washington, DC, USA during Caribbean American Heritage Month, in June2007. The Conference was a major engagement between the Caribbean Community,the Government of the United States and the Caribbean Diaspora in the United States. Heads of Government met with United States President George Bush and several Congressional Committees, while CARICOM Foreign Ministers met with the US Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice.
The 200th Anniversary of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade was observed in March 2007, with a number of events staged throughout the Community. The prime Community event was a synchronized minute of silence on 25 March, the anniversary date of the abolition.
The CARICOM Commission on Youth Development was launched in Suriname in March 2007. The Commission, with Prof. Barry Chevannes of the University of the West Indies and CARICOM Youth Ambassador Yldiz Beighle as co-chairs, was established by Heads of Government in July 200l, in St. Kitts and Nevis to address the challenges confronting the young people of the Community.
The 200th Anniversary of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade was observed in 2007 and a number of events were staged throughout the Community to commemorate this landmark. The prime Community event was a synchronized minute of silence on 25 March, the anniversary date of the abolition.
The CARICOM Commission on Youth Development was launched in Suriname in March. The Commission, with Prof. Barry Chevannes of the University of the West Indies and CARICOM Youth Ambassador Yldiz Beighle as co-chairs, was established by Heads of Government in July 200l, in St. Kitts and Nevis to address the challenges confronting the young people of the Community.
There can be little doubt that the historic Single Domestic Space (SDS) inaugurated on 2 February for the duration of the Cricket World Cup was for the population of the Caribbean Community the realization of a dream. The SDS was established among 10 states, the nine countries which were venues for the games (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago) and Dominica. It accorded complete freedom of movement within its borders to CARICOM citizens, fulfilling the spirit of one of the basic objectives of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) as set out in Article 45 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas which states: “Member States commit themselves to the goal of free movement of their nationals within the Community”.
A CARICOM Special Visa was designed for nationals from outside of the Region to allow them freedom of movement within the Single Domestic Space. This was one of the areas of unprecedented collaboration among Member States for the event which was particularly strong in the areas of security and intelligence-sharing. The new security infrastructure is one major aspect CWC 2007 legacy.
Jamaica made CARICOM proud when Mr. Asafa Powell, a national of Jamaica and the world’s fastest man and Jamaica born, Ms. Sandie Richards, were named Male and Female Athlete of the Year respectively by the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF), the world governing body for track and field.
Haiti was readmitted to the Community’s Councils. In November 2006, CARICOM Deputy Secretary-General, Ambassador Lolita Applewhaite and Assistant Secretary-General, Foreign and Community Relations, CARICOM Secretariat, Ambassador Collin Granderson, participated in the international Conference for the Economic and Social Development of Haiti,held in Madrid, Spain. The Conference brought together representatives of the Government of Haiti and the international donor community to find ways to overcome the structural impediments to the development of Haiti, including rendering the provision and management of aid more efficiently.
Under the theme, ‘Celebrating our People: Contesting the World Stage’, the Ninth Caribbean Festival of Arts took place in Trinidad and Tobago from 22 September to 1 October.
Trinidad and Tobago represented the Caribbean at 2006 FIFA World Cup. This feat, by the smallest nation to qualify that year, represented one of the greatest sources of collective pride for the Caribbean and the Diaspora.
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) received its first ever national award. CARICOM Secretary-General Edwin Carrington accepted on behalf of the Community, the Order of Dominica, the highest award bestowed by that country.
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) received its first ever national award. CARICOM Secretary-General Edwin Carrington accepted on behalf of the Community, the Order of Dominica, the highest award bestowed by that country.
In the wake of heavy flooding in Suriname in May 2006, CARICOM, through the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA), provided assistance to the people to deal with the effects.
Under Article 158 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, a Development Fund was established to offer technical and financial assistance to disadvantaged countries, regions and sectors temporarily disadvantaged by the operation of the Single Market.
Based on a formula provided by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and agreed to by CARICOM Heads of Government, a Regional Development Fund – a separate entity with its own personality – was capitalised at US$250M. Of that amount, Member States would contribute US$100M, and US$20M from the Petroleum Fund operated by Trinidad and Tobago. The remainder would be sourced from donor contributions.
Member Countries of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States signed a Declaration of Intent to deepen their integration by forming an integration.
In the face of the Region’s thrust to strengthen ties with Latin America, Guyana’s assumption of the Chairmanship of the Rio Group in January 2006 served to enhance CARICOM’S relations with the Rio group of countries.
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) Agreement came into force, thus giving the Centre its fully operational status in the Community.
On 1 January 2006, the Single Market component of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy came into being with the following Member States:Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. The other Member States, except The Bahamas and Haiti, which had not signified their intention to participate in the CSME, and Montserrat - a British Dependency, which must await the necessary instrument of entrustment from the United Kingdom - became part of the Single Market in June 2006.
Heads of Government met with the President of Cuba in Barbados on 8 December for the second CARICOM/Cuba Summit. This was one element of CARICOM’s strategy to strengthen South-South relations. At that meeting, an Agreement on Cultural Cooperation and a Political Declaration were signed. Appreciation was also expressed for a most laudable health initiative by the Cubans, which has seen the restoration of eyesight for many Caribbean people
The first informal bipartisan dialogue on the regional integration process, involving Leaders of Government and of the Parliamentary Opposition was convened. This milestone reflects a measure of the maturing of our Community.
The permanent heaquarters of the CARICOM Secretariat was inaugurated in February 2005. TheSecretariat’s staff took effective occupation of the building in July/August 2005.
CARICOM conferred its eighth Triennial Award For Women on Madame Justice Desiree Bernard for her outstanding contribution to the development of law in Guyana and the Region, and her leading role in advocating for women’s development. Madame Bernard is a former Chief Justice and Chancellor of the Judiciary of Guyana and the first female judge of the Caribbean Court of Justice. The award was bestowed during the opening of the Twenty-Sixth Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM on 3 July 2005, in Castries, Saint Lucia.
In becoming the third outstanding Guyanese to receive such an accolade, Madame Justice Bernard now joins Ms Magda Pollard and Professor Joycelin Massiah, the 4th and 6th CARICOM Triennial Female Awardees, respectively.
The Seventh CARICOM Triennial Award for Women was conferred on Professor Rhoda Reddock of Trinidad and Tobago, at the Twenty-Third Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM in 2002 in Georgetown.
Mr. Asafa Powell Powell, a youth of Jamaica becomes the World record holder for the 100 metres, thereby making him “the fastest man in the world.
Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), H. E. Edwin Carrington, issued the following statement congratulating West Indies batsman Brian Lara on his becoming Test Cricket’s highest run scorer:
On behalf of the Caribbean Community, I extend heartiest congratulations to you on your achievement as Test cricket’s leading run scorer.
"The dedication, determination, discipline and skill required to top the world in any field of endeavour are the province of a privileged few. You have shown that you possess them in abundance as you have now scaled the heights in three different categories in your chosen field. Many will agree with the statement of the man whose record was broken, Allan Border, that ‘there is no doubt that you are a genuine genius.’
The scale of your achievements brings immense pride to your country and to our region and is a constant and timely reminder of the ability that resides in the Caribbean.
Your demonstration of what can be achieved by acting with purpose and perseverance should serve as an outstanding example for the people of our community, particularly the youth.
May God continue to bless you, an outstanding son of the Caribbean."
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) was officially opened in August. The CCCCC coordinates the Caribbean’s response to climate change and is the key node for information on climate change issues. It is the official repository and clearing house for regional climate change data, providing climate change-related policy advice and guidelines to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States through the CARICOM Secretariat. In this role, the Centre is recognised by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and other international agencies as the focal point for climate change issues in the Caribbean. It has also been recognised by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) as a Centre of Excellence, one of an elite few. This reputation is a major honour for the Centre and a great source of pride for the people of the Caribbean as well.
The Caribbean Court of Justice was inaugurated on 16 April 2005 at its headquarters in Trinidad and Tobago. Seen as “a fulfillment of judicial independence for the Region”, the CCJ fulfills a more than one hundred years ambition of many Member States.
The Court is a critical pillar as the Community deepens its integration process. It plays the central role in ensuring that the rights of the Region’s citizens are upheld during the operation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
The CARICOM-coordinated Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) was designated an international best practice in 2004 for its governance structure by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS).
PANCAP, established on 14 February 2001, has provided the umbrella under which many opportunities have been garnered for the provision of regional goods and services; and has bridged the resource constraints gaps in its collective response to the HIV and AIDS epidemic in the Caribbean.
Heads of Government agreed to the issuance of a CARICOM passport by Member States as a defining symbol of regionalism. The introduction of the CARICOM passport is also part of the measures to promote hassle-free travel for CARICOM nationals.
A CARICOM passport is a National passport which is being issued in accordance with an agreed format for intra-regional and extra-regional travel. On the cover is the logo of CARICOM and the words "Caribbean Community". The Coat of Arms and the name of the Member State are also featured on the cover. The CARICOM passport creates awareness that CARICOM Nationals are Nationals of the Community, as well as a specific country.
In 2005, Suriname was the first Member State to have issued the CARICOM Passport (7 January 2005), followed by St Vincent and the Grenadines (20 June 2005), St Kitts and Nevis (25 October 2005) and Dominica (14 December 2005).
Update: Antigua and Barbuda, issued the new Passport on 16 January 2006. On 16 January 2007, Saint Lucia became the sixth Member State to have introduced the Passport, followed by the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on 24 January 2007. Grenada introduced the CARICOM Passport on 29th January 2007. Guyana introduced the CARICOM Passport on 13 July 2007, and Barbados on 1 October 2007. Jamaica and Belize introduced the CARICOM Passport on 2 January 2009 and 16 March 2009 respectively. As a result, all twelve Member States participating in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) are now issuing the CARICOM passport. (19 March 2009)
Bermuda joined the Community on 2 July 2003, becoming the fifth Associate State
As the integration movement deepens, numerous demands are being placed on key regional institutions, such as the CARICOM Secretariat. In an effort to address this situation, and further accelerate the implementation of decisions, Heads of Government agreed that the structure and functioning needed to be reviewed in order to strengthen the process.
A team of consultants was appointed to conduct a review of the structure and functioning of the CARICOM Secretariat and the findings and recommendations of that group were submitted in 2002. The recommendations of this group are being considered as part of a broader thrust - launched in 2003 - to review governance of the Community's integration process.
Since 1973 the Community has institutionalized annual exchanges with different groups to discuss issues of concern/interest. The initial discussions were conducted through meetings between a Joint Consultative Group (JCG) and the Common Market Council of Ministers.
The JCG comprised:
The private sector, through the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAlC, a private sector umbrella body);
Labour, through the Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL); and
Consumers, through the Caribbean Consumers Committee (CCC).
Over time the CCC ceased functioning. Private sector and labour representatives, however, continued to meet with the ministers through the JCG and from the late 1980s, began holding exchanges directly with Heads of Government instead of the Council of Ministers. In 1995, the NGO community began participating in the JCG, through the Caribbean Policy Development Centre (CPDC) - an NGO umbrella body.
In 2002, under the theme Forward Together, all civil society groups and Heads of Government came together at a conference in Guyana to begin the process of institutionalising a consensus-building forum on CARICOM development strategies.
Haiti was formally admitted as the 15th Member State at the Twenty-Third Heads of Government Meeting, Georgetown, Guyana, on 2nd July 2002.
The Cayman Islands became the fourth Associate Member of CARICOM on 16 May 2002;
The Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas Establishing the Caribbean Community, including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy which was signed in 2001.
The challenging circumstances of the integration movement do not only pertain to its economic welfare. In fact, the Region as a whole has not been spared the impact of the deadly scourge of HIV/AIDS, drug abuse and narco-trafficking. This has led to the establishment of PAN CAP at the February 2001 Meeting of the CARICOM Heads of Government and endorsed by the Nassau Declaration on Health 2001. The Partnership aims to scale up the response to HIV/AIDS in the Region.
Its specific mandate is:
To advocate for HIV / AIDS issues at government and highest levels;
To coordinate the regional response and mobilise resources both regional and international;
To increase country-level resources, both human and financial, to address the epidemic.
PANCAP is in partnership with several international funding agencies and receives support from a few regional
At a special emergency meeting, just one month after the the attack on the World Trade Centre in New York, USA on September 11f the Conference, Heads of
Eighty or more CARICOM nationals lost their lives in. The Community mourned its loss collectively with a memorial church service on October 28, in new York. Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Rt. Hon. P.J. Patterson made remarks from the pulpit, inlcuidng the condemnation of the attack on the Unitd States
At the 12th Inter-Sessional Meeting of The Conference in 2001, Bridgetown, Barbados, the Heads of Government signed the agreement for the establishment of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), emphasising the central role ofthe Court in providing legal certainty to the operations of the CSME.
The idea of a Caribbean Supreme Court is not a new one. From as early as the beginning of the 20th century, opinions were being expressed in support of such a court and at a meeting in 1947, West Indian governors reflected on the need for a West Indian Court of Appeal.Since then, at varying intervals suggestions were made for such a supreme court.
The CCJ is structured to have two jurisdictions - an original and an appellate
In its original jurisdiction, the Court is an international tribunal with compulsory and exclusive jurisdiction for the interpretation and application for the Revised Treaty. In this regard it is tasked with the responsibility to hear and deliver judgment on:
Disputes arising between Contracting Parties to the Agreement;
Disputes between contracting parties and the Community;
Disputes between community nationals, contracting parties, Community institutions, or between nationals themselves.
In the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction, the CCJ considers and determine appeals in both civil and criminal matters from courts within the jurisdiction of Member States.
The CCJ mission is "the Caribbean Court of Justice shall perform to the highest standards as the supreme judicial organ in the Caribbean Community. In its original jurisdiction it ensures uniform interpretation and application of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, thereby underpinning and advancing the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. As the final court of appeal for member states of the Caribbean Community it fosters the development of an indigenous Caribbean jurisprudence".
The Court was inaugurated on 16 April 2005 in Trinidad and Tobago where its headquarters is located.
In 1999, a Special Session of Heads of Government was held at Chaguaramas, Trinidad and Tobago under the theme. Its specific focus was 'A Vision for the
Community in the Early Twenty-first Century' as well as 'Strengthening the Community's Institutions'.
To help shape this vision Heads issued the Consensus of Chaguaramas - a document setting out initiatives critical for moving the Community purposefully into the new millennium. They include:
Establishing a Quasi-Cabinet; (Link to Quasi cabinet under governance)
The introduction of a CARICOM passport;( Link to write up on CARICOM passport under Community symbols)
Greater involvement of civil society in the integration process; (Link to
Involvement of opposition parties in the integration process; and
Review of the structure and functioning of community institutions.
In July 1999, Anguilla became the third Associate Member of the Community
As per the directive of Heads of Government, the Inter-Governmental Task Force drafted a document that was refined by Ministers of Legal affairs and adopted by Heads of Government at their Eighth Inter-Sessional Meeting in 1997, St. Johns, Antigua and Barbuda.
Although member states are not legally bound by the provisions of the Charter, it sets out the principles that are intended to convert concepts such as good governance; fundamental human rights and freedoms and respect for cultural and religious diversity.
In the work to establish the CARICOM Single Market and Economy, a critical component of which is the free movement of skilled labour, goods and capital, CARICOM Heads of Government took the crucial step of agreeing to the free movement of CARICOM nationals who are university graduates to move and work freely throughout the Common Market from January 1, 1996.
The people of the Region gathered in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago for a second consecutive occasion to celebrate the Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA VI).
CARICOM holds it inaugural meeting of the Standing Committee of Ministers responsible for Information, in St. Kitts and Nevis. A highlight of the meeting was the acknowledgement of the need to bring all the elements of information and communication together to more effectively meet the challenges of the 21st century.
The admission of Suriname (L as the fourtheenth and first non-English speaking Member State and the holding of the first Summit of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) – a brainchild of CARICOM signals the building of new bridges and deeper linkages in the widening and deepening of the integration movement. At that meeting, Heads of State and Government adopted a Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action which emphasized a commitment to initiate a new era in the wider Caribbean characterized the strengthening of integration, consultation and concerted action to ensure greater cultural, economic, political, scientific, social and technological cooperation among the peoples, governments and countries of the ACS.
In August, one of the salient recommendations of the West Indian Commission was implemented when the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), comprising twenty-five sovereign states of the Caribbean Basin stretching from Mexico in the north and Suriname in the south was formally established with headquarters in Trinidad and Tobago.
The Community participated fully in the commemorative activities marking the fiftieth anniversary celebration of the United Nations (UN). Many Heads of Government and the Secretary-General addressed the Special Session of the UN General Assembly on the historic occasion and paid tribute to its significant contribution to global peace, stability and development. To mark this milestone, the Community, in November presented, on behalf of the Governments and peoples of the CARICOM, a gift of two steel pans – one chrome plated, the other gold plated – to the UN inscribed as follows: “Presented to the United Nations on the occasion of the its Fiftieth Anniversary by the countries comprising the Caribbean Community. The Steel Pan – the only new acoustic instrument of the Twentieth Century – was invented in Trinidad and Tobago and is symbolic of the creativity of the People of the Caribbean Community.”
In its continuing efforts to strengthen relations with the UN, the Community appointed its first CARICOM Permanent Observer to the United Nations, Mr. Hamid Mohammed, national of Trinidad and Tobago.
The Inter-Governmental Agreement to establish the Assembly of Caribbean Community Parliamentarians as a deliberative body on regional issues, entered into force on 3 August 1994
Heads of Government at its Special Meeting in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, in October 1992, adopted the recommendation of the West Indian Commission that a Charter of Civil Society be subscribed to by Member States of the Community.
In July 1991, the British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands became the first Associate Members
The decision, in 1989, to establish the CSME was a move to deepen the integration movement to better respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by globalisation.
Preparations for the establishment of the CSME included the negotiation of nine Protocols to amend the Treaty. These nine Protocols were later combined to create a new version of the Treaty, called formally, The Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas Establishing the Caribbean Community, including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy which was signed in 2001.
The main objectives of the CSME are: full use of labour; full exploitation of the other factors of production; competitive production leading to greater variety; quality and quantity of goods and services, thereby providing greater capacity to trade with other countries.
By 1 May, 1974, all other members of CARIFTA had signed the Agreement to become full members of CARICOM, except Antigua and Barbuda and St. Kitts and Nevis. They both signed the Agreement in July 1974.
In July 1983, The Bahamas became the 13th member ofthe Caribbean Community but not of the Common Market.
At the Eighth Heads of Government Conference of CARIFTA held in April 1973 in Georgetown, Guyana the decision to establish the Caribbean Community was brought into fruition. The process through which it was established is set out in the Georgetown Accord.
Original signatories to the Treaty were Prime Ministers Errol Barrow for Barbados; Forbes Burnham for Guyana; Michael Manley of Jamaica; Eric Williams for Trinidad and Tobago.
At the Fourth Heads of Government Conference held in Bridgetown, Barbados on 23-27 October 1967 it was agreed to establish CARIFTA formally, and to include as many Commonwealth Caribbean countries as possible in the new arrangement of December 1965. It was also agreed that the Free Trade Association was to be the beginning of what would become the Caribbean Common Market, the establishment of which would be conducted through a number of stages towards the achievement of a viable economic community of Caribbean territories.
The CARIFTA Agreement came into effect on May 1, 1968, with the participation of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana. 1st August 1968 marked the formal entry of Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts/Nevis/Anguilla, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Jamaica and Montserrat. British Honduras (Belize) joined in May 1971.
Emerging also from the 1967 Heads of Government Conference was the decision to establish the Commonwealth Caribbean Regional Secretariat on 1 May 1968 in Georgetown, Guyana, and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) in October 1969 in Bridgetown, Barbados.
It was at the Seventh Heads of Government Conference in November 1972 that the Caribbean leaders decided to transform CARIFTA into a Common Market and establish the Caribbean Community of which the Common Market would be an integral part.
WEST INDIES FEDERATION
Established in 1958, the West Indies Federation comprised the ten territories of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica. Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, the then St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and Trinidad and Tobago.
The Federation was established by the British Caribbean Federation Act of 1956 with the aim of establishing a political union among its members.
Although a plan for a Customs Union was drawn up, emphasis was not placed on the economic aspect of Federation during the four years of its existence. Economically, the Region remained as it had been for centuries, and not even free trade was introduced between the member countries during this period.
The West Indies Federation came to an end in 1962 but its end, in many ways, must be regarded as the real beginning of what is now the Caribbean Community.
The end of the Federation meant the beginning of more serious efforts on the part of the political leaders in the Caribbean to strengthen the ties between the English-speaking islands and the mainland territories, Guyana and Belize, by providing for the continuance and strengthening of the areas of cooperation that existed during the Federation.
To this end, in mid-1962, a Common Services Conference was convened to take decisions on these services, the major ones among them being the University of the West Indies (UWI), founded in 1948 and the Regional Shipping Services set up during the Federation, to manage the operation of the two ships donated in 1962 by the Government of Canada - the Federal Palm and the Federal Maple.
The Caribbean Meteorological Service was established one year later, in 1963 and, along with the UWI and the Regional Shipping Service, represented the heart of Caribbean cooperation directly after the end of the Federation.
In addition to the decision to continue the process of inter-state cooperation and notwithstanding the dissolution of the Federation, the year 1962 also market two important developments in the establishment of a Caribbean Community: the attainment of independence by both Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago in August that year and with it, the power to control their own domestic and external affairs.
In announcing its intention to withdraw from the Federation, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago proposed the creation of a Caribbean Community, consisting not only of the 10 members of the Federation, but also of the three Guianas and all the islands of the Caribbean Sea - both independent and non-independent.
To discuss this concept, the then Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Hon. Eric Williams convened the first Heads of Government Conference in July 1963, in Trinidad and Tobago. This Conference was attended by the leaders of Barbados, British Guiana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.
At this Conference, the leaders of the four (4) Caribbean countries all spoke clearly of the need for close cooperation with Europe, Africa and Latin America.
The first Heads of Government Conference proved to be first in a series of Conference among the leaders of Commonwealth Caribbean Countries. In July 1965, the meeting of the Premiers of Barbados and British Guiana and the Chief Minister of Antigua and Barbuda focused on the possibility of establishing a Free Trade Area in the Caribbean.
This move resulted in the announcement later that month of definite plans to establish a Free Trade Area. This was carried through in the same year when in December 1965, the Heads of Government of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados and British Guiana signed an Agreement at Dickenson Bay in Antigua and Barbuda to set up the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA).