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Introduction. The Caribbean Community The CARICOM Economy Caribbean Politics and Governance Background to Independence and Integration Integration processes Wider regional relations, Cuba, DR, ACS PetroCaribe Foreign policy in CARICOM Future of CARICOM integration. The Caribbean Community.

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  • The Caribbean Community
  • The CARICOM Economy
  • Caribbean Politics and Governance
  • Background to Independence and Integration
  • Integration processes
  • Wider regional relations, Cuba, DR, ACS PetroCaribe
  • Foreign policy in CARICOM
  • Future of CARICOM integration
the caribbean community
The Caribbean Community
  • Most islands are formerly British Colonies (except Suriname and Haiti).
  • Most share a common history, political systems, language, culture and path to independence
  • Similar background of Conquest, Colonisation, Slavery and Indenture.
  • Shared space with Cuba and the Dominican Republic with whom it has advanced Trade arrangements and special relationship (CARIFORUM/CRNM/ACS) as well as Dutch, French and British Territories in the area ( some associate members others partners in regional arrangements including security).
  • THE COMMONWEALTH CARIBBEAN ISLANDS have a distinctive history. Permanently influenced by the experiences of colonialism and slavery, the Caribbean has produced a collection of societies that are markedly different in population composition from those in any other region of the world.
  • Lying on the sparsely settled periphery of an irregularly populated continent, the region was "discovered" by Christopher Columbus in 1492. Thereafter, it became the springboard for the European invasion and domination of the Americas, a transformation that historian D. W. Meinig has aptly described as the "radical reshaping of America." (McKnight)
the caribbean economy
The Caribbean Economy
  • The Caribbean Community is comprised in the main of middle income developing countries characterised by small size and relatively open economies.
  • The Caribbean Economy is largely service oriented with Tourism being the predominant industry. ICT, Financial services and Cultural Industries are important parts of the service sectors in several countries
  • Oil and related industries have long been pivotal to the Trinidad and Tobago Economy and recent discoveries in other territories as well as ongoing exploration in others are widening the scope of this sector.
  • Bauxite/Alumina remains dominant in the Jamaican Industrial sector and to a lesser extent in Suriname and Guyana while agriculture continues to play a significant role in Guyana, Suriname, Belize and Jamaica.
political systems
Political Systems
  • The political systems in the region reflect to some degree the historical legacy of the colonial transition with the “First Past the Post – Winner takes all electoral principle prevailing with exceptions in Haiti, Suriname and Guyana in which Legislative Seats are awarded in proportion to votes received.
  • Within the First Past the Post tradition some countries have demonstrated by and large, a predictable and entrenched Two party system*.
  • In some nominally two party systems the reality for decades after independence was one party electoral dominance* This has been altered in recent years with most countries now having viable alternatives in the two party/multi party framework.

* in particular Jamaica and Barbados where while smaller parties might exist the two main parties dominate with power alternating between them

*e.g in Trinidad and Tobago, the People's National Movementremained in power from 1956 to 1986. In Antigua, the Antigua Labour Party In Saint Kitts and Nevis, the Saint Kitts and Nevis Labour Party and Grenada’s Grenada United Labour Party.

westminster whitehall in the caribbean
Westminster-Whitehall in the Caribbean
  • Some commentators have sought to analyse critically the impact of the choice of political systems on Caribbean Governance and offer mixed reviews on the applicability of pure Westminister/Whitehall principles in the Caribbean.
  • In heterogenous societies like Trinidad and Tobago one political leader suggested that in the context of the plurality of the society “surely we could find a system that is indigenous to our own makeup”
  • In homogenous societies like Jamaica one Party Leader has called for adaptation of specific measures to better effect a separation of Executive Power from other mechanisms of authority and governance.
  • The debate however does not question the commitment to the enfranchisement of the populations and the accountability of Governments to the electorate and so far no radical change to the basic model of Government has yet been effected in The English Speaking Caribbean.
political options
Political Options

The quest for an optimal political structure continues to arise as observers assess such factors as:

  • The seeming paradox of the “Loyal Opposition”by definition a partner in Government recognised by constitutions to be so, yet required by political realities to pursue ultimate party success by unseating the Governing party in the Government to which it must be loyal. This unseating cannot be achieved by benign steps and so the Opposition must often choose to aggressively challenge the incumbent to sharpen the distinctions between themselves and the leadership.This balance of cooperation and competition varies with issue and circumstance but in the election season the latter appears to trump all other concerns.
  • The concentration of power in the executive with the vesting of far reaching authority in the Prime Minister and Government.
  • The challenge of balancing equity with the inexorable push for patronage that comes from the competitive process for securing power.
  • There is often a natural desire for that to be translated into some advantage. Parties face the challenge of balancing the need to draw into government those who shared and shaped their platform and philosophy and delivering visible benefits to constituents without succumbing to the excesses that privilege patronage over progress and victimisation over responsible balancing of benefits and responsibilities.
ideology and globalisation
Ideology and Globalisation
  • In the post Cold war era the distinctions between parties are less sharply drawn in ideological terms. In recent times the Caribbean parties have increasingly tended to the centre (whether left or right of it)with hybrid policies of pro market economics and responsive social polices prevailing. Democratic Socialist Parties like the PNP adopted polices of economic liberalisation and fiscal restraint often requiring social and economic adjustments to secure economic goals. The incoming Jamaica Labour Party in the face of pressures of commodity price increases and effects of a natural disaster has introduced social support measures that require new public expenditure to address social needs.
  • Globalisationin all its aspects has tempered the ability of political parties to adopt narrowly defined principles and priorities particularly in Governance.
  • The Caribbean with its open economies, many vulnerable to a variety of shocks cannot but be affected by globalisation.
    • Parties with a commitment to Labour must contend for example with the tide of Trade and economic liberalisation which inevitably poses challenges to their constituencies. The globalisation of certain social agendas has impact on policy choices such as the Death Penalty for example where international activism has run counter to the mood of the Caribbean populace but has to be given political attention in view of the sheer weight of that lobby.
caribbean politics today
CARIBBEAN Politics Today
  • The prevalence of Westminster style democracy among the majority of CARICOM states and the shared approaches to representative democracy shared by all members has made CARICOM a remarkable example of political maturity despite the challenges of size, resources and vulnerability to shocks that it can face.
  • In recent years electoral results have reflected a certain dynamism in the Political order with the strength of the Two Party structure being reaffirmed in a number of countries in particular Jamaica where after a predictable “rotation” of Parties through Government and Opposition an extended run of four terms for the PNP was ended with a return of the JLP. Similarly in Barbados the return of the DLP to power came after a sustained “Innings by the BLP under Owen Arthur” and in Belize Dean Barrow’s UDP replaced Said Musa”s PUP. In the Bahamas The Christie’s PLP was replaced by the Hubert Ingraham led FNM. In Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago incumbents were returned in their most recent elections.
  • To understand the political order that predominates in the caribbean Community in particular the English speaking Caribbean it is important to recall the Colonial order that was established and maintained in the region.
    • Crown Colony Government – direct administration by an appointed Governor or via
    • A somewhat representative form of government in which the legislature was elected by limited numbers from the elite.[1]
  • [1] The abolition of slavery was also a major watershed in Caribbean history in that it initiated the long, slow process of enfranchisement and political control by the nonwhite majorities in the islands. The early colonies enjoyed a relatively great amount of autonomy through the operations of their local representative assemblies. Later, however, for ease of administration and to facilitate control of increasingly assertive colonial representative bodies, the British adopted a system of direct administration known as crown colony government in which British appointed governors wielded nearly autocratic power. The history of the colonies from then until 1962 when the first colonies became independent is marked by the rise of popular movements and labor organizations and the emergence of a generation of politicians who assumed positions of leadership when the colonial system in the British Caribbean was dismantled
agitation and political change
Agitation and Political Change
  • Early to mid 20th Century was characterized by agitation for improvements in the conditions of the majorities and ultimately calls for universal suffrage, self government and political Independence. These were manifested in several instances of violent protest, riots and clashes as well as strikes and agitation. Education and exposure of an emerging intellectual elite spawned more organized and vigorous efforts at political activism with the Labour movement playing a vitally important role. It is in this context that many of the enduring political parties were formed and based their organizations and structure. [1]
  • [1] Education produced two groups in the British West Indies. The first identified closely with the British system--especially with the Fabian Society of radical thinkers within the newly formed British Labour Party--and sought political reforms through conventional parliamentary channels. The most ardent representatives of this group were individuals in the local legislatures such as Sandy Cox and J.A.G. Smith in Jamaica, T. Albert Marryshow in Grenada, and Andrew A. Cipriani in Trinidad. Although they did not depend on the masses for political support (because the masses did not yet have the vote), they knew how to draw the masses into political action. They joined the municipal and parish councils in urging a reduction in the privileges of the old planter classes and more local representation in local affairs. They also advocated legal recognition of the fledgling trade union movement in the Caribbean.
  • Roots Continued
  • The second group, inspired by the idea of a spiritual return to Africa, was more populist and more independent than the first group. From this group came individuals such as John J. Thomas (an articulate socio-linguist), Claude MacKay, H.S. Williams (founder of the Pan-African Association in London in 1897), George Padmore (the gray eminence of Ghanaian leader, Kwame Nkrumah), Richard B. Moore, W.A. Domingo, and Marcus Mosiah Garvey, founder of the United Negro Improvement Association in Jamaica (1914) and Harlem (1916). Thomas, Williams, and Padmore came from Trinidad; MacKay, Garvey, and Domingo, from Jamaica; and Moore, from Barbados.
  • The political agitation of these groups laid the groundwork for the generation of politicians who later dismantled colonialism in the British Caribbean: Norman Manley and Alexander Bustamante in Jamaica;
education labour and change
Education Labour and Change
  • The increased opportunities for education opened up a space for the emergence of new thinkers who sought to apply the lessons learned to the task of decolonization, self government and nation building. The fuel for this effort was largely the workers movements whose organizations were able to organize and deploy considerable pressure on the authorities in the interest of their workers. They acted in alliance with political movements to lay the basis for effective political action. In this context the political leadership of many territories came from the ranks of Labour Leaders. [1]
  • [1] Thus, in most colonies a very close bond developed between the political parties and the workers' unions. In Jamaica, the Jamaica Labour Party drew its basic support from the Bustamante Industrial Trades Unions. Its rival, the People's National Party, was at first affiliated with the Trades Union Council, and after the purge of the radicals in 1951, created the National Workers' Union--the popular base that catapulted Michael Manley to political eminence in 1972 (see Historical Setting, ch. 2). In Barbados, the Barbados Labour Party depended in the early days on the mass base of the members of the Barbados Workers' Union. Likewise, labor unions formed the catalyst for the successful political parties of Vere Bird in Antigua, Robert Bradshaw in St. Kitts, and Eric Gairy in Grenada (see Government and Politics on individual countries, ch. 4 and ch. 5). The notable exception was Eric Williams in Trinidad. His Peoples' National Movement, established in 1956, succeeded despite a constant struggle against a sharply divided collection of strong unions Robert Bradshaw in St. Kitts; Vere Bird, Sr., in Antigua; Eric Matthew Gairy in Grenada; Grantley Adams in Barbados; and Uriah Butler, Albert Gomes, and Eric Williams in Trinidad.
the federation model
The Federation Model
  • In response to the rising tide of political agitation for enfranchisement and ultimately self government and Independence the British sought to pursue this objective en bloc by seeking to create a federation that would be the political structure for an independent West Indies. The Montego Bay Conference of 1947 sought to develop the idea and over several decades efforts were made to sell the idea to the region. Dispersed as the territories were with many being small ad lacking direct linkages with others the idea was ultimately to fail.[1]
  • With the failure of the Federal effort the movement to full independence began with the larger territories of Jamaica, followed by Trinidad and Tobago being the first to go.
  • [1] As part of its decision to push modified self-government, the British authorities encouraged the experiment in confederation. The idea had been discussed in the Colonial Office since the later nineteenth century, but it was brought to new life with a regional conference held at Montego Bay, Jamaica, in 1947. The British were interested in administrative efficiency and centralization. The West Indians talked about political independence. At the conference, a compromise was worked out. The West Indian Meteorological Services and the University of the West Indies, as a College of London University, were set up, and plans were made for the creation of a political federation that would unite the various territories and eventually culminate in the political independence of the region. These new regional organizations joined others already in existence, such as the Caribbean Union of Teachers, established in 1935; the Associated Chambers of Commerce, organized in 1917; and the Caribbean Labour Congress, inaugurated in 1945.
  • The federation began inauspiciously with the leading politicians in Jamaica--Norman Manley (then prime minister) and Alexander Bustamante--and in Trinidad and Tobago--Eric Williams-- refusing to contest the federal elections. This uneasy federation of ten island territories (Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Grenada, St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, and Montserrat) lasted from 1957 to 1961, when Jamaica opted to leave. Doomed from the start by lukewarm popular support, the federation quickly foundered on the islands' uncompromisingly parochial interests, especially those of the principal participants, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica.
independence and integration
Independence and Integration
  • In the wake of the Federation’s demise Caribbean Leader’s of newly independent countries quickly embarked on a mission to pursue to forms of integration. Chastened by the rejection of the Federal Option these Leaders focused on trade and economic and later functional cooperation.It is in this context that the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) was founded by Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago on 15 December 1965, with the signing of the Dickenson Bay Agreement (the Agreement establishing the Caribbean Free Trade Association). They were joined on 1 July, 1968 by Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla, Saint Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines; and on 1 August, 1968 by Montserrat and Jamaica. In 1971 Belize (then British Honduras) joined the Association.
  • Conscious of the need to effect more far reaching mechanisms for regional integration the Heads of Government of the Caribbean continued to deliberate on ways of deepening the integration process and ultimately established the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM). The Community was established by the Treaty of Chaguaramas (Trinidad; 1973, revised to establish the Single Market and Economy 2001)
deepening integration
Deepening Integration
  • Recognising the limitations posed by limiting the Integration movement to a common market focused primarily on goods the Heads of Government embarked on a revision of the Treaty based on their 1989 decision at the Conference in Grand Anse Grenada. They decided to establish a Single Market and Economy and after nearly a decade of Negotiations the revised Treaty was signed in 2001 clearing the way for the Single Market and Economy’s Establishment.
  • .The Caribbean Single Market is now in effect but all observers acknowledge that the Single Economy will be an even more challenging endeavour. The Caribbean Single Market CSM includes 12 countries and provides for inter alia:
  • Free Movement of Goods
  • Free Move of Skilled Nationals
  • Free Movement of Services, and
  • Free Movement of Capital
widening the community s reach
Widening the Community’s Reach
  • The Community has also established the CRNM which is a common mechanism for the negotiation of Trade Agreements. It has entered into a number of FTAs and Partial Scope agreements to extend the reach of its Single Market and deepen its integration with selected partners. Agreements reached include:
  • CARICOM / Colombia Trade, Economic and Technical Co-operation Agreement (not FTA)
  • CARICOM / Cuba Trade and Economic Co-operation Agreement
  • CARICOM / Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement
  • CARICOM / Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement
  • CARICOM / Venezuela Trade & Investment Agreement. (not FTA)
  • USA ?–Canada ?-MERCOSUR?
the wider caribbean
The Wider Caribbean

The Caribbean Community has sought to establish and maintain a strong linkage with all other countries and territories.

  • CARICOM and Cuba share deep and close links. These have been institutionalized in a summit process encompassing all Leaders of CARICOM and Cuba. The far reaching Free Trade Agreement has enabled deeper links between the Single Market of CARICOM and the market of Cuba.
  • Besides Trade there are direct investments by CARICOM companies in Cuba and there is strong people to people contact. Cuba is a participant in the Caribbean regional negotiating machinery and collaborates with CARICOM in a number of Trade Policy areas.
  • CARICOM Dominican Republic
  • CARICOM has close relations with the Dominican Republic and although unlike Cuba there is not a structured Summit mechanism the Community and the DR cooperate and collaborate in many areas.
  • In the Economic and Trade Sphere the conclusion with the DR of the first far reaching Free Trade Agreement enabled the Community to expand its regional trade integration to encompass much of its trade with the DR. The DR is also a member of the Caribbean regional negotiating machinery and recently entered into an EPA with Europe together with CARICOM. In this sphere it is a member of CARIFORUM which encompasses all the countries of the region.
  • While not an integration or Free Trade arrangement the Caribbean arrangement with Venezuela in respect of Energy supplies represents an important development in the wider regional relationships. Venezuela shares longstanding special relationships with several countries including Jamaica, linked historically to part played by the Caribbean in the efforts of Simon Bolivar the Liberator.
  • The PetroCaribe oil alliance was launched on June 29, 2005, during the first energy summit of Caribbean heads of state and government in the Venezuelan city of Puerto La Cruz. Caracas currently supplies 53,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil and derivatives to the PetroCaribe countries, according to Venezuelan officials, and plans to increase that volume to 102,000 bpd once new storage facilities are completed in the receiving nations.Venezuela has extended generous repayment terms to all the PetroCaribe recipients.The 16 member countries of PetroCaribe are Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Suriname and Venezuela. EFE
foreign policy of caricom

Guided by Revised treaty

Coordination vs harmonization

Functional cooperation

CARICOM passport

Joint representation


Summit decisions