Caribbean Community

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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.

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Flag of the CARICOM

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 PDF, 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 (CCJ) which will be based in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

The (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 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."

Caribbean Single Market and Economy

The leaders agreed to create the Caribbean (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy (CSME) which will come into effect in 2005 for Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

The three countries 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 inauguration of the new CARICOM-headquarters building in Georgetown, Guyana.

The prospect was that 10 of the remaining 12 CARICOM countries will join the CSME by the end of 2005. The Bahamas and Haiti are not expected to be a part of the new economic arrangement at that time. The CARICOM Secretariat also maintains frequent contact with another organisation named the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), which represents 7 Full members and 2 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.

Membership

Currently CARICOM has 15 full members:

There are five associate members:

There are seven observers:

In 2005 the Foreign Minister of the Dominican Republic had proposed seeking to obtain full membership status in CARICOM for his country; 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.

See also: Trade bloc

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. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in St. Kitts and Nevis said it launched its CARICOM Passport today and Issuance of the document to citizens of that country will begin on 14 November.

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

The expectation is that all Member States will introduce the CARICOM Passport when the stock of their old passports is depleted.

The Co-operative Republic of Guyana and also Antigua and Barbuda announced they will begin to use the new CARICOM passport format by the middle of 2005.

Design: The 3 colors of the new Passports are:

  • Dark-blue for civilians;
  • green for government officials and
  • red for diplomats.

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. The 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 5 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.

Future Proposals

  • Airline amalgamation
  • Civil Society Charter
  • Currency Union
  • Freedom of Movement
  • Political Union(s)
  • Regionalised Stock Exchange

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 particially done in collaboration with the Caribbean Regional Negociating Machinery (CRNM).

Preferential Agreements

Free Trade Agreements

Proposed

  • CARICOM - Canada To be negotiated, after Canada finishes their CAFTA agreement.
  • CARICOM - European Union On-going negotiation on the EPA("Economic Partnership Agreement")
  • CARICOM - Mercosur Open for discussions in May 2005

See also

External links

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