CARICOM - The Caribbean Community

An Overview of CARICOM, The Caribbean Community Organization

Fishing canoe docked at a beach in clear shallow water, north coast Jamaica.
Fishing canoe docked at a beach in clear shallow water, north coast Jamaica.

 

David Neil Madden / Getty Images

Many countries located in the Caribbean Sea are members of the Caribbean Community, or CARICOM, an organization founded in 1973 to make these several small countries more cooperative, economically competitive, and influential in global politics. Headquartered in Georgetown, Guyana, CARICOM has achieved some success, but it has also been criticized as being ineffective.

Geography of CARICOM

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Bahamas (actually located in the Atlantic Ocean)
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Jamaica
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Suriname
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Montserrat (not an independent country, but a possession of the United Kingdom)
  • Anguilla
  • Bermuda
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cayman Islands
  • Turks and Caicos Islands

Structure of CARICOM

A Caribbean Court of Justice, established in 2001 and based in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, attempts to resolve conflicts between members.

Goal of Economic Development

  • Manage the great amount of revenue that arises through tourism
  • Promote agricultural and industrial development
  • Encourage international investment in the region
  • Benefit from free trade agreements it has with countries such as Canada, Venezuela, and Cuba
  • Control exchange rates and devise a single currency for CARICOM member countries.

Additional Concerns of CARICOM

  • Natural disasters such as hurricanes and volcanic eruptions that damage can be prevented or mitigated
  • Assistance to member countries affected by natural disasters, such as Haiti's 2010 earthquake
  • Climate change, because many CARICOM members are low-lying and vulnerable to sea level rises
  • Management of water and energy resources
  • Prevention of crime, especially drug trafficking
  • Improvement of communications, technology, and transportation in member countries
  • Making travel and immigration to other member countries easier through a common passport

Challenges for CARICOM

Acceptable Union of Economics and Politics

Over the last forty years, the Caribbean Community has attempted to regionalize, but CARICOM must change some aspects of its administration so that future economic and social opportunities can be seized. The region of the Caribbean Sea is distinctive geographically and culturally and has abundant resources to share with the increasingly globalized world.