PRIME Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar is currently attending her first Caricom summit. You might be asking yourself, what is Caricom? Caricom has a long history. It represents the regions current attempt at Integration much like the:
to highlight a few.
The Saga that is Caricom has its roots in the West Indian federation
Of 1958, whereby ten[i] Caribbean territories came together to form the federation, they had the support of the Colonial Government, however, due to a number of issues the federation came to an end in 1962. You may recall the famous Dr. Eric Williams quote “one from ten is zero”, which was in reference to Jamaica’s exit from the Federation. The territories then proceeded to gain independence on their own.
Soon after in 1963 the heads of Government of the Caribbean Commonwealth territories were called together by the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, his intention was to stress the need for closer relations with fellow Commonwealth countries and territories. He also put forward the possibility of establishing a Caribbean Community consisting of the former Federation members, the other British, French and Dutch Island states and the Guianas on the mainland.
In 1965 a Caribbean Free trade Association was signed by the Governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados and Guyana. By 1968 most of the English-speaking territories joined. In a move to solidify the integration movement the Heads of government in 1973 called for the transformation of CARIFTA into the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM). On July 4th 1973 Caricom was formally established through the Treaty of Chaguaramas.
In July 1989 the Heads of Governments through the Grand Anse Declaration, agreed to the establishment of the CARICOM Single market and economy CSME in 4yrs time. This was not a realistic goal and thus in 1992 an overhaul of the Treaty of Chaguaramas was done in order to provide a better framework for CSME . The amended protocols were incorporated into the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas and were provisionally applied in 2002 and came into full force in 2006.
[i] These were, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla, St. Vincent, St. Lucia
Want a better understanding of Caricom and its long History? Visit the W.I. Federal Archives Centre/Cave Hill Campus Archives or Visit the National Archives and Search through our Federation collection and look at the Newspaper articles of the time…see you soon!
The political history of CARICOM by Anthony Payne