Caribbean Community


Caribbean Community

Infobox Geopolitical organization
name = Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
linking_name = the Caribbean Community





map_caption = Map showing CARICOM members, associates and observers
membership =
admin_center_type = Seat of Secretariat
admin_center = Georgetown, Guyana
languages_type = Official languages
languages = Englishsmallsup|4
leader_title1 = Secretary-General
leader_name1 = Edwin W. Carrington (since 1992)
leader_title2 = CARICOM Heads of Government
leader_name2 =
established_event1 = nowrap|Treaty of Chaguaramas
established_date1 = August 1, 1973
official_website = http://www.caricom.org
footnotes = resize|115%|Currencies ISO 4217 codes in brackets:
Bahamian dollar (BSD) • Barbadian dollar (BBD) • Belize dollar (BZD) • East Caribbean dollar (XCD)5Guyanese dollar (GYD) • Haitian gourde (HTG) • Jamaican dollar (JMD) • Surinamese dollar (SRD) • Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TTD)

footnote1 = 14 independent states, 1 dependent territory.
footnote2 = 5 dependent territories.
footnote3 = 4 independent states, 3 dependent territories.
footnote4 = Dutch, French and Haitian Creole also used unofficially.
footnote5 = Used by OECS members.

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM), is an organization of Caribbean nations and dependencies. Caricom's main purposes are to promote economic integration and cooperation among its members, to ensure that the benefits of integration are equitably shared, and to coordinate foreign policy. Its major activities involve coordinating economic policies and development planning; it also devises and institutes special projects for the less-developed countries within its jurisdiction. It also operates as a regional common market for many of its members (Caricom Single Market). It also operates the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which serves as the final court of appeal for many Caricom members and also handles regional trade disputes.

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 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.

History

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM), originally the Caribbean Community and Common Market, was established by the Treaty of Chaguaramas [ [http://www.caricomlaw.org/doc.php?id=21 Original Treaty of Chaguaramas] ] 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.

A Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas [ [http://www.caricomlaw.org/doc.php?id=131 Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas] ] establishing the Caribbean Community including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) was signed by the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community on July 5, 2001 at their Twenty-Second Meeting of the Conference in Nassau, The Bahamas.

Membership

Currently CARICOM has 15 full members:
* ATG (4 July 1974)
* BHS (4 July 1983) (not part of customs union)
* BRB (1 August 1973)
* BLZ (1 May 1974)
* DMA (1 May 1974)
* GRD (1 May 1974)
* GUY (1 August 1973)
* HAI (provisional membership on 4 July 1998, full membership on 2 July 2002)
* JAM (1 August 1973)
* MSR (a territory of the United Kingdom) (1 May 1974)
* SKN (26 July 1974 as Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla)
* LCA (1 May 1974)
* VIN (1 May 1974)
* SUR (4 July 1995)
* TRI (1 August 1973)

There are five associate members (all British overseas territories):
* AIA (July 1999)
* BER (2 July 2003)
* VGB (July 1991)
* CAY (16 May 2002)
* TCA (July 1991)

There are seven observers:
* ABW
* COL
* DOM
* MEX
* ANT
* PRI (U.S.)
* VEN

From March 2004, Haiti's participation in CARICOM was suspended by its interim Prime Minister, Gerard Latortue in response to the visit of Jean-Bertrand Aristide (the ousted President) to Jamaica. [ [http://www.trinidadandtobagonews.com/forum/webbbs_config.pl/noframes/read/1721 Haiti suspends ties with CARICOM] ] Haiti's membership had been effectively suspended though since February 29, 2004 as CARICOM refused to recognize the new interim government. In early June 2006, Haiti was readmitted as a full member of the CARICOM, and Haitian President René Préval gave the opening address at the organization's Council of Ministers meeting in July.

In July 1999, Anguilla once again became involved with CARICOM when it gained associate membership. Prior to this, Anguilla had briefly been a part of CARICOM (1974-1980) as a constituent of the full member state of Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla.

In 2005 the Foreign Minister of the Dominican Republic had proposed seeking to obtain full membership status in CARICOM for his country for the second time. However, due to the sheer size of the Dominican Republic's economy and population size in comparison with the current CARICOM states (with the sole exception of Haiti, similar to the Dominican Republic in terms of population, and therefore being CARICOM's largest member in this regard) 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. Currently, the Dominican Republic also has a free trade agreement (from 2001) with CARICOM and also cooperates with CARICOM (since 1992) under the umbrella organization, Cariforum, in economic negotiations with the EU. [PDFlink| [http://ec.europa.eu/comm/external_relations/la/pub/12_en.pdf The EU and Cariforum] |316 KiB ] The Dominican Republic originally became an Observer of CARICOM in 1982 and in 1991 it had presented CARICOM with a request for full membership. [ [http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/2005/08/23/sanders.shtml Dominican Republic in CARICOM?] ]

Also in 2005, the Netherlands Antilles made an official request for the status of associate membership. [ [http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/cgi-script/csArticles/articles/000030/003019.htm Netherlands Antilles policy towards the Caribbean is one of committed neighbour] ] It is not known how the future dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles will affect the current observer status or the requested associate membership status of the islands, such as Sint Maarten, in the future though Curaçao has announced [http://www.nationnews.com/story/331831299788307.php] , [http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/cgi-script/csArticles/articles/000032/003215.htm] it wants to continue deepening ties with the CARICOM bloc.

In 2007, the U.S. Virgin Islands government announced it would begin seeking ties with CARICOM. [ [http://www.virginislandsdailynews.com/index.pl/article_home?id=17605699 USVI, BVI leaders discuss areas of mutual interest] ] It is not clear what membership status the USVI would obtain should they join CARICOM. It is possible the USVI would obtain observer status, considering fellow U.S. Caribbean territory Puerto Rico's current observer status.

:"See also: Trade bloc"

tructure

After the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, CARICOM reorganised itself into a state-like Government structure made up of the following branches:

The Executive

Comprising of a rotating prime ministerial Chairmanship of CARICOM (Head of CARICOM), the CARICOM Secretary General (Chief Executive) and the CARICOM Headquarters secretariat (Chief Administrative Organ). There is also a quasi Cabinet of individual Heads of Government who are given specific responsibility or portfolios for overall regional development and integration. [ [http://www.caricom.org/jsp/community/regional_portfolio.jsp?menu=community Regoinal Portfolios of CARICOM Heads of Government] ] The term of office of the Secretary-General is 5 years, which may be renewed.

The Legislative

The Community Council: The Council consists of Ministers responsible for Community Affairs and any other Minister designated by the Member States in their absolute discretion. It is one of the principal organs (the other being the Conference of the Heads of Government) and is supported by four other organs and three bodies.

upporting Organs

*The Council for Finance and Planning (COFAP)
*The Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED)
*The Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR)
*The Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD)

upporting Bodies

*The Legal Affairs Committee: provides legal advice to the organs and bodies of the Community (related: [http://www.caricomlaw.org CARICOMLaw] )
*The Budget Committee: examines the draft budget and work programme of the Secretariat and submits recommendations to the Community Council; and,
*The Committee of Central Bank Governors: provides recommendations to the COFAP on monetary and financial matters

The Judiciary

The Caribbean Court of Justice (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 CCJ is based in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Many member states however, continue to utilize the Privy Council as their final appellate court and three member states do not use the CCJ for either its original jurisdiction or its appellate jurisdiction because they have either not signed the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (the Bahamas and Haiti) or are awaiting instruments of entrustment in order to ratify the Revised Treaty (Montserrat).

Caribbean Community organs and bodies

Structures that comprise the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

* CARICOM Heads of Government - Consisting of the various heads of Government from each member state

* Standing Committee of Ministers - Ministerial responsibilities for specific areas, for example the Standing Committee of Ministers responsible for Health will consist of Ministers of Health from each member state

ecretariat

* Secretariat of the Caribbean Community
*Secretary-General of the Caribbean CommunityThe Secretariat is located in Georgetown, Guyana.----{|border="0" style="background:#efefef;"|- valign="top"
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 Community Institutions

*Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA)
*Caribbean Meteorological Institute (CMI)
*Caribbean Meteorological Organisation (CMO)
*Caribbean Food Corporation (CFC)
*Caribbean Environment Health Institute (CEHI)
*Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute (CARDI)
*Caribbean Regional Centre for the Education and training of Animal Health and Veterinary Public Health Assistants (REPAHA)
*Assembly of Caribbean Community Parliamentarians (ACCP)
*Caribbean Centre for Development Administration (CARICAD)
*Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute (CFNI)
*Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC)
*CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME)
*Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)
*CARICOM Competition Commission (CCC)
*Caribbean Regional Information and Translation Institute (CRITI)

Associate Institutions

*Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)
*University of Guyana (UG)
*University of the West Indies (UWI)
*Caribbean Law Institute / Caribbean Law Institute Centre (CLI / CLIC)
*Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)

econdary organs

*Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED)
*Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR)
*Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD)
*Council for Finance and Planning (COFAP)

Other bodies

*Legal Affairs Committee (related: [http://www.caricomlaw.org CARICOM Law] )
*Budget Committee
*Committee of the Central Bank Governors

CARICOM projects

CARICOM Single Market and Economy

Three countries—Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago—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, 2005 inauguration of the new CARICOM-headquarters building in Georgetown, Guyana, but this was later postponed after a ruling by the London Privy council caused alarm to several Caribbean countries.

The prospect was that ten of the remaining twelve CARICOM countries would join the CSME by the end of 2005. The Bahamas and Haiti were not expected to be a part of the new economic arrangement at that time. The CARICOM Secretariat maintains frequent contact with another organisation named the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), which represents seven Full members and two 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.

The CARICOM Single Market and Economy treaty finally went into effect on January 1, 2006, with Barbados, Belize, Jamaica, Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago as the first full members. On July 3, 2006, the total membership was brought up to twelve when Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines became full members. The British overseas territory of Montserrat is seeking permission from the United Kingdom to become a part of the single market; Haiti will not join the market initially because of its difficult internal political situation; and the Bahamas will not join because of local opposition to a provision that allows skilled workers to move more easily among nations.

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 and began Issuance of the document to its citizens on 14 November 2005. [ [http://www.caricom.org/jsp/pressreleases/pres175_05.jsp St. Kitts and Nevis launches CARICOM passport] ]

Antigua and Barbuda had announced that it would begin using the new CARICOM passport format by the middle of 2005.

St. Lucia has also proposed introducing the common passport in early 2007 PDFlink| [http://www.caricom.org/jsp/single_market/csme_summary_key_elements_jun_06.pdf Establishment of CSME: Summary of status of key elements] |54.5 KiB ] and actually introduced it on January 16, 2007. [http://www.caricom.org/jsp/pressreleases/pres22_07.jsp More Member States using the new CARICOM passport ] ]

Trinidad and Tobago had announced that it would begin to issue the new CARICOM passport in June 2006, and then indicated that it would introduce the passport in July 2006 along with Guyana, [http://www.jis.gov.jm/special_sections/caricomnew/lesserKnownFacts.html Lesser Known Facts about the CSM] ] but only finally introduced the passport on January 24, 2007.

Grenada planned to begin issuing the common passport in mid-2006, but started issuing them on January 29, 2007.

Barbados had planned to switch to the common format by late 2006, but then proposed to introduce it by December 31, 2007. Barbados launched the new common-format passport on October 1, 2007. [http://www.nationnews.com/story/294271679288620.php The Nation Newspaper - New Caricom passport] ]

The Co-operative Republic of Guyana had also announced that it would begin to use the new CARICOM passport format by the middle of 2005, but the introduction was delayed and the new target date was set to July 2006. However, Guyana eventually officially launched the passport on 13 July 2007. [ [http://www.op.gov.gy/stories/070706.html Office of the President of Guyana ] ]

Currently (as of late 2007) ten Member States have introduced CARICOM passports. These states are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

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

Future introduction

The expectation is that all the member states will have introduced the CARICOM passport by 2008 when the stock of their old passports is depleted.

Belize is to introduce the passport after its current stock is depleted, but ultimately by December 31, 2007.PDFlink| [http://www.caricom.org/jsp/single_market/csme_summary_key_elements_may_07.pdf Establishment of CSME: Summary of status of key elements (May 2007)] |62.4 KiB ]

Jamaica was expected to institute the passport by the end of 2007; However, this deadline elapsed, [http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20071014/news/news5.html Caribbean Community passport deadline derailed] ] and Jamaica is now expected to introduce the passport by December 2008. [http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20080626/lead/lead5.html CARICOM passport set for December] ]

The Bahamas has not launched the machine-readable passport, and intends to launch the e-passport on December 5th, 2007. [http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/index.php?news_id=4616 Caribbean Net News: Bahamas set to launch e-passports next month ] ]

Passport designs

The three colours 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. 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 five-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.

CARICOM Visa and the Single Domestic Space

During the July 2006 CARICOM Summit, the various leaders reached an agreement on measures to ensure hassle-free movement for visitors to the 2007 Cricket World Cup, as well intelligence sharing and cooperation for the security of the event. [http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20060707/lead/lead7.html Freedom of Movement during Cricket World Cup] ] People were originally to be able to travel amongst the nine host countries and Dominica between January 15, 2007 and May 15, 2007 using a single CARICOM visa. [ [http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20060709/int/int2.html CARICOM’s historic steps towards integration] ] However, during a meeting in Trinidad and Tobago on December 29, 2006, the Heads of Government decided to push back the creation of the Single Domestic Space to February 1, 2007 in response to representation from tourism ministers and others involved in the tourism industry. [http://www.nationnews.com/story/359014591638021.php Visa fee ease for families] ] A single CARICOM visa had been considered for the Cricket World Cup as far back as March 2005. [http://www.guardian.co.tt/archives/2005-03-28/HamidGhany.html Will we lose the Cricket World Cup?.] ] The (CARICOM) visas were originally to have been issued from August 15, 2006, [http://www.guardian.co.tt/archives/2006-07-08/news1.html Mega-security plan for Cricket World Cup ‘07] ] but that deadline was pushed back to early November 2006 [http://www.cbc.bb/content/view/7807/45/ Caricom visa soon CBC.bb - click video link] ] however, that deadline also lapsed. Finally it was announced on December 4, 2006 that the visas were ready and the application process began on December 15, 2006. [http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20061204/carib/carib1.html CARICOM visa ready] ] The visas were issued by three CARICOM states (Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago) outside of the region on the behalf of the 10 countries. [http://landofsixpeoples.com/news604/nk611162.html Region could begin issuing CARICOM visas in December (scroll down to "November 16, 2006" archive)] ] Jamaica issued the Common CARICOM Visa at its consulates in Miami, New York and Toronto. Trinidad and Tobago issued the visas at its embassy in New Delhi, India and made special arrangements to open up a facility in Sydney, Australia, attached to its honorary consulate there. Barbados issued the visas at its High Commission in London for a number of countries. These international venues were ready to accept applications by December 15, 2006. Additionally, those in need of visas who were already in CARICOM states could apply directly to the special visa sites there. For countries that have no Caribbean representatives, the CARICOM visa would originally have been issued by the UK, but this was no longer the case [ [http://www.ukvisas.gov.uk/servlet/Front?pagename=OpenMarket/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c=Page&cid=1006977150106&a=KArticle&aid=1165344012219 News UKvisas] ] and instead the application form were made available for those unable to download it. [ [http://www.caricomimpacs.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=13&Itemid=2#I Caricom IMPACS Instruction Sheet for Visa Application Form] ] In addition to the six issuing sites, remote sites had been set up to facilitate persons requiring the visa. These sites were located in Geneva (Jamaican permanent mission to the office of specialized agencies of the UN), Berlin (Jamaican embassy), Brussels (Barbadian embassy), Beijing (Jamaican embassy) and Caracas (Trinidadian embassy). [http://www.caricom.org/jsp/cwc_2007/caricom_special_visa_facts.jsp CARICOM SPECIAL VISA FACTS] ] In late January, the Pakistan Cricket Board began lobbying for a satellite visa office to be setup in Pakistan for fans there who were having trouble obtaining the visa from the New Delhi site. [http://in.today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=sportsNews&storyID=2007-01-25T181347Z_01_NOOTR_RTRJONC_0_India-285040-1.xml&archived=False Pakistan wants visa problems sorted out for World Cup pakistan seeks satellite visa office reuters] ] The visa cost US$100 and it was expected that most visas would be issued between two to three weeks after application. Applicants first had to satisfy security requirements and other local immigration criteria before being granted the visa, which would only be valid from February 1 to May 15 in 2007. The common CARICOM visa was originally supposed be applicable to the nationals of 46 countries, [http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sports/html/20060715t180000-0500_109134_obs_hassle_free_movement_for_cwc______travellers_.asp Hassle-free movement for CWC 2007 travellers.] ] but was finally made applicable to all nationalities with the following exceptions: citizens of Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, the United States of America, the United Kingdom and all of the dependent territories, associated states and departments of those countries do not require the visa. [http://landofsixpeoples.com/news604/nc611165.html Common CARICOM visa policy for CWC 2007] ] Citizens of CARICOM member states (excepting Haiti), associate member states or persons who were in the region and enjoying status as residents, or were on visitors visas, work permits, and student visas were also not be required to obtain the visa [ [http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleNew.asp?section=sports&xfile=data/sports/2006/November/sports_November590.xml Haiti not exempt from visa for Cricket World Cup 2007] ] By January, the Heads of Government also moved to waive the visa fees for children under age of 12, thus easing the cost for families. Non-accredited diplomats or persons travelling on diplomatic or official passports; cricket teams, officials, media and sponsors and their spouses and children; Cuban nationals and seamen and airline crew entering to join vessels/aircraft were also exempted from payment (but not necessarily from the visa requirement). Cruise ship passengers not staying more than 24 hours at any of the 10 Caribbean countries were issued with a CARICOM day pass. However, those who were staying on cruise ships, dubbed “floating hotels” for the duration of the games, were required to obtain a visa unless their countries fell within those that are exempted. Visa abolition agreements between some of the ten Caribbean states concerned and countries whose citizens were then required to obtain CARICOM visas during the Cricket World Cup provided for the suspension of the visa-free policy in such cases. During the 31/2 month period from February to May, the ten Caribbean countries became a “single domestic space” in which travellers only had their passport stamped and had to submit completed entry and departure forms at the first port and country of entry. The entry and departure forms were also standardised for all ten countries. When continuing travel throughout the Single Domestic Space, persons (including those using the common visa) were not required to have their documents processed to clear customs and immigration and did not need to have their passports stamped, but still needed to travel with them. Once passengers arrived at the Immigration Department Desk at the first port of entry, they were provided with a blue CARICOM wristband that identified them for hassle free movement through the single domestic space. [http://www.offshore2offshore.com/news/CARICOM+Countries+Launch+%60Single+Domestic+Space%60 Offshore 2 Offshore:: CARICOM Countries Launch `Single Domestic Space`] ] [http://www.caricom.org/jsp/community/regional_issues/cwc_2007/single_domestic_space.jsp CARICOM Single Domestic Space comes into effect] ] [http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-city/Saint%20Lucia/Gros%20Inlet%20and%20Soufriere/tpod.html TravelPod:Gros Inlet and Soufriere, Saint Lucia (has a picture of the wristband)] ]

By February 1, 2007 officials in Barbados announced that of 6 000+ CARICOM visas applied for thus far, about 5 000 had already been processed. The Barbados government went on with the announcement saying that the rest of the CARICOM visas would be processed soon. [http://www.cbc.bb/content/view/9357/10/] By March 5, 2007, shortly before the start of the Cricket World Cup, over 20,000 CARICOM visas had been issued [http://www.caricom.org/jsp/community/regional_issues/cwc_2007/visa_issued.pdf 20,000 CARICOM Visas Issued Ahead of Cricket World Cup] ] and by the end of April, at the end of the Cricket World Cup, over 42,000 visas had been issued, with only 1,540 applications being denied, primarily for reasons of human trafficking. [http://www.caricom.org/jsp/community/regional_issues/cwc_2007/visa_issued_april.pdf 42,000 VISAS ISSUED BY END OF APRIL] ] When the single domestic space came to an end on May 15, 2007 nearly 45,000 visas had been issued. [http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/caricom/caricom.php?news_id=1523&start=0&category_id=39 CARICOM visa and single domestic space effective border security tools] ]

In February 2007 the CARICOM Heads of Government agreed to set up a Task Force to recommend a revised CARICOM Special Visa for the future, making any changes necessary from the experiences of the 3 month Single Domestic Space. This Task Force had its first meeting on 25 May in Trinidad and Tobago and reported to the July 2007 Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government in Barbados. In addition, a paper will also be presented on the issue of how best to establish a rationalised Single Domestic Space to facilitate hassle-free travel within the region on a permanent basis. [http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/caricom/caricom.php?news_id=1550&start=0&category_id=39 Task Force to recommend future course for CARICOM Visa] ]

CARICOM Travel Card

At the 28th CARICOM Heads of Government Conference [http://www.caricom.org/jsp/communications/communiques/28hgc_2007_communique.jsp Communiqué 28th Heads of Government Conference Meeting] ] in Barbados it was agreed to implement a CARICOM travel card that will be issued to every CARICOM national except those on the Community’s watch list. An implementation plan for the document will be put together and submitted to the Heads at the next inter-sessional meeting to be held in September. The card will virtually maintain the ‘single domestic space’ and holders will not need a passport, during inter-community travel. [http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/news-2385--39-39--.html Caribbean Net News: Regional Heads agree to implement CARICOM travel card] ] The card will also allow a CARICOM national an automatic six-month stay in any territory within the bloc. [http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20070706/business/business7.html Jamaica Gleaner News - New electronic card for Caribbean travel - Friday | July 6, 2007] ] It is not expected to affect the security of the member countries, as any holder will be deported if he or she breaks the law. Similar to the "Pass Cards" available in other parts of the world, [http://www.nationnews.com/story/291517013649334.php The Nation Newspaper | Travel swipe cards coming soon] ] the new card would be the size of a credit card and will feature facial and fingerprinting biometrics – so upon arrival at an airport, travellers can swipe the card in the machine which will open the barrier allowing them to walk through. In addition to being available to all CARICOM national, the card would be available to expatriates who have legal status in a member country. Their card would be time-bound in a way that is linked exclusively to the time of their legal status. The cost of acquiring the card is to yet be determined, but the country leaders have agreed that the proceeds would go towards offsetting the cost of enhanced security at the ports.

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 practically done in collaboration with the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery (CRNM).

;Preferential agreements
* CARICOM - Venezuela (January 1, 1993)
* CARICOM - Colombia (January 1, 1995)

;Free Trade Agreements
* CARICOM - Cuba (July 5, 2000)
* CARICOM - Dominican Republic (December 2001)
* CARICOM - Costa Rica (March 9, 2004)

;Proposed
* CARICOM - Canada: To be negotiated, after Canada finishes their CAFTA agreement.
* CARICOM/CARIFORUM - European Union: On-going negotiation on the EPA ("Economic Partnership Agreement") [http://www.stabroeknews.com/index.pl/article_general_news?id=38354426]
* CARICOM - Mercosur: Opened for discussions in May 2005

Note that the on-going negotiations with the EU over an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) involves all the CARICOM Member States (except Montserrat, which is not independent) plus the Dominican Republic grouped under the Caribbean Forum or CARIFORUM sub-grouping of the ACP countries. At the end of these negotiations (begun in 2002 and due to end in 2007) there will be a new Free Trade Agreement that will replace the Lomé system of preferential access to the European market for the ACP from 2008. [ [http://www.bond.org.uk/networker/2004/oct04/epa.htm Economic Partnership Agreements] ]

Petrocaribe

13 of the 15 CARICOM countries have signed in 2005 the Petrocaribe, an oil alliance with Venezuela which permits them to purchase oil on conditions of preferential payment.

Comparison with other regional blocs

ee also

*CSME
*Petrocaribe

References

External links

* [http://www.caricom.org CARICOM.ORG] : The Community's Web site
** [http://www.caricomstats.org/ CARICOM Statistics] : Statistical information compiled through the CARICOM Secretariat
** [http://www.radiocaricom.org/ Radio CARICOM] : the voice of the Caribbean Community ( [http://www.caricom.org/jsp/pressreleases/pres103_04.htm Press Release] )
** [http://www.csmett.com/ CARICOM Single Market and Economy] : The CSME website (T&T)
** [http://www.caricomlaw.org Caricom Law] : Website and online database of the CARICOM Legislative Drafting Facility (CLDF)
** [http://www.caricomtradesupport.org/ Caricom Trade Support Programme] : Government of Trinidad and Tobago
** [http://www.pancap.org/ PANCAP] : Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS
** [http://www.crosq.org/ CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality] (CROSQ)
*PDFlink| [http://www.worldtradelaw.net/fta/agreements/caricomrevisedfta.pdf CARICOM (Revised Treaty)] |573 KiB
* [http://student.dcu.ie/~mulloom2/CARICOM.html EU Style Structure Evident in CARICOM]
* [http://www.caricomblog.com CARICOM Blog]
* [http://www.trinidadandtobagonews.com/forum/webbbs_config.pl/noframes/read/1721 Haiti suspends ties with CARICOM]
* [http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20060210/carib/carib2.html Jamaica Gleaner News - Haiti could return to CARICOM]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/caribbean/news/story/2006/02/060209_haitipollupdate.shtml Haiti re-admitted?]
* [http://www.nationnews.com/story/285514643268976.php Caricom must 'think big' to flourish] - Regional GDP stands at EC$60 billion.
* [http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20061008/focus/focus5.html Caricom and Haiti: The raising of the Caribbean's 'Iron Curtain']
* [http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/Business/html/20061026T190000-0500_114553_OBS_HOW_VIABLE_IS_A_SINGLE_CARIBBEAN_CURRENCY____PART___.asp How viable is a single Caribbean currency? Part II]
* [http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/business/html/20061207t200000-0500_116323_obs_how_viable_is_a_single_caribbean_currency____part_iii_.asp How viable is a single Caribbean currency? Part III]
* [http://www.nationnews.com/story/309026604679144.php Sign-up for the Cricket World Cup 2007 visa from December 15, 2006]
* [http://www.nationnews.com/story/355396442521780.php Will Caricom slide?]
* [http://www.itzcaribbean.com Caribbean community in London]
* [http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/2005/09/21/can.shtml The Dominican Republic in Caricom? Yes, we can]
* [http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/cgi-script/csArticles/articles/000037/003787.htm Bureau recommends re-examination of Dominican Republic's proposed membership in CARICOM]
* [http://www.guyanajournal.com/caricom_integration.html Guyana Journal (2007-07): Advancing Integration Between Caricom and Central America]

Caribbean Community (CARICOM)


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