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RETURN to Chaguaramas


...the Future of CARICOM


iew March 2014


Chaguaramas PAGE 1


Live Up To Vision of Forefathers


Process and the future of CARICOM PAGE 12


RE-DEDICATION TO The Principles of the Treaty of Chaguaramas


Sanctified In Regional History







to Integrative Process PAGE 10




RETURN to Chaguaramas Forty years to the date after the founding Treaty of the integration movement was signed, Heads of Government journeyed to Chaguaramas, to commemorate and celebrate at the cradle of the Caribbean Community CARICOM.


They travelled by sea and road from Port-of-Spain on 4 July 2013, to the northwestern peninsula area of Chaguaramas, to the same building where, four decades ago, the Community’s founding fathers the Hon. Errol Barrow, Prime Minister of Barbados, the Hon. Michael Manley, Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Hon. Eric Williams, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, and the Hon. Forbes Burnham, Prime Minister of Guyana - signed the Treaty of Chaguaramas, bringing into being the Caribbean Community and Common Market. Drum rolls and fanfares befitting such an historic occasion, heralded the arrival of the Heads of Government of CARICOM at the beautifully decorated Chaguaramas Convention Centre to celebrate the Community. There, the Hon. Freundel Stuart, the Most Hon Portia Simpson-Miller, His Excellency Donald Ramotar, and the Hon. Kamla


Persad-Bissessar, Heads of Government of Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago, respectively, recommitted to the integration movement and to fulfilling the vision of the founding fathers. They later joined the other Heads of Government attending the Thirty-Fourth Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government to affix their signatures to a commemorative document. Prime Minister Stuart, who led the quartet in brief remarks, retraced the steps to the establishment of the Community, and acknowledged that Chaguaramas was indelibly imprinted on CARICOM’s history. The Community, he said, was positioned between hope and history. While history could not be reversed, it was the duty of current torchbearers to give flesh to the hope, to work closely together to consolidate our independence. Progress, he underlined, was not going to happen by accident, but by conscious decision. Punctuating her remarks with quotations from the founding fathers, Prime Minister Simpson-Miller cautioned the Community to reacquaint itself with the context that informed the creation of CARICOM


which she said was more than an organization. It represented, she said, the vision and aspiration of the founding fathers for a strong integrated region to provide the best prospects for social and economic development. She said that the Community needed to be serious in its introspection in the ever-changing, dynamic international community, and had to have continuous evaluation and renewal. For President Ramotar, the needs of the people of the Caribbean were paramount. “As leaders, we must ask ourselves whether the people of the region have benefitted fully from this process,” he said. In praising the courage and foresight

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of the four founding Prime Ministers, President Ramotar pointed out that the need for integration was perhaps greater now than when the Treaty was signed 40 years ago.

“We either give up” or pursue the path of unity. THE PRIME MINISTER OF TRINIDAD & TOBAGO, THE HONOURABLE KAMLA PERSAD-BISSESSAR, SC In her remarks, Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar lauded the vision of the founding fathers and called for a positive reflection, and incarnation of the spirit and intention of their vision.

The integration movement was at an important juncture of the evolution of the Community where “we either give up” or pursue the path of unity. The challenge, she told the Chaguaramas gathering, was not to be indecisive; not to turn around, not to delay, but to persist towards the redirection of our destiny. The programme was interspersed with cultural presentations from Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago, following the remarks by the respective Heads of Government. In word, song, dance, drama and art, the culture of the Community was showcased for the appreciative gathering at the Chaguaramas Convention Centre.

Heads of Government at the Rededication Ceremony at the Chaguramas Convention Centre, Chaguaramas on 4 July 2013.




RE-DEDICATION TO THE PRINCIPLES OF THE TREATY OF CHAGUARAMAS on the Occasion of the 40th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)


On the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the establishment of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), we, the Heads of State and Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM): Remain dedicated to the ideals of our founders for the integration of our economies and our people of the Caribbean Region; Recognise the invaluable contributions made by CARICOM nationals over the years in numerous areas including , education, health, security, Foreign Policy, Sports, Arts, Literature and Cultural Development, among others; Are resolute in our determination to further enhance our tradition for united action as we strive to propel our Community to achieve sustained economic and

social development in securing increased global competitiveness for our respective Member States and to secure a higher standard of living for all our peoples; Undertake to recalibrate and fully implement the goals and objectives of our Community consistent with the best interests of the Community, including its people; Pledge to strengthen existing policies and embark on new initiatives aimed at secunng our common interests regionally and internationally;

In witness thereof, we have affixed our signatures: 4th July 2013 Chaguaramas, Trinidad and Tobago




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Persist, rally on

our course

The Hon. Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Prime Minister, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, at Commemorative Event, Chaguaramas Convention Centre, Chaguaramas, July 4, 2013


t is with immense pleasure and a deep sense of Caribbean patriotism that I welcome my sisters and brothers of the region to this most historic occasion.

That sense of determination and consciousness continues to drive our Caribbean Community today, which is characterised by forty years of dialogue and unity.

Forty (40) years ago on this day, the founding fathers of the region executed what is perhaps, the most significant accord that would govern the relationship of the nation-states which comprise the Caribbean Community.

However, after forty years, we find ourselves at an important juncture in the evolution of our Caribbean Region. We must commit to either go forward together or to succumb to the negativity and unconstructiveness of the naysayers who declare CARICOM to be irrelevant.

There can be no doubt that the historic signing of July 4th 1973, was preceded by long and meticulous study, debate and articulation towards the final product; the Treaty of Chaguaramas. There is no doubt that the framers of that celebrated Treaty would have toiled to ensure that it reflected the composite views of the many men, women, children and governments who helped mould and crystallise its formulation. And whilst there is never an Agreement that can represent the aims, ambitions and aspirations of a people with exactitude, we can safely say that forty years ago our political forefathers were on the right track.

I say we cannot, must not, let perish the vision and hopes of our great leaders who stood right here 40 years ago, firm in the belief that it was only through collective effort that the ambitions of the peoples of the Caribbean could be materialised. This morning through sound and movement; art and drama, we showcase our “Caribbean-ness”, testimony to our creativity and innovation and our unbridled ability to rise above any challenge we may have to face. Let this re-enactment today be not just a physical dramatization of our past, but a tangible rededication to the future. Let today be a day for positive reflection.

In the very Preamble to that momentous declaration, the signatories pledged, inter alia, to be “Determined to consolidate and strengthen the bonds which have historically existed amongst their peoples”....and to be “Conscious that these objectives can most rapidly be attained by the optimum utilisation of available human and natural resources of the Region”.


Let it be the reincarnation of the spirit and intendment of the Charter of July 4th 1973. Let today become our moment for new resolve. Let it be the moment for rejuvenated determination and consciousness; watchwords so passionately inscribed in



the Preamble to the Caribbean’s most famous document. The task before us is clear. Our challenge is not to be indecisive, not to hesitate, not to reverse, not to turn around. Our challenge is not to delay and loiter over hardship, adversity or difficulty, but to persist and to rally on our course towards the realisation of the destiny that our forefathers have set for us. I thank you.


This morning through sound and movement; art and drama, we showcase our “Caribbean-ness”, testimony to our creativity and innovation and our unbridled ability to rise above any challenge we may have to face. The Hon. Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Prime Minister, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago




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Among the many things we the people of the Caribbean have in common is the warm and welcoming Caribbean Sea. Its foamy crests embrace all our coastlines. Our island homes are set like tiny jewels

for the benefit of all our peoples.

amidst its crystal blue waters. Yet each jewel is different – rare and precious – distinctive and diverse. As Caribbean peoples, our similarities and our differences have origins in unique experiences of altered histories.

common histories and cultures of community. They called it the Caribbean Community, CARICOM. Forty years ago, in 1973, the Treaty of Chaguaramas was signed in this CARICOM Member State of Trinidad and Tobago, formalizing the intent of our community of nations. Today, 4th July 2013, we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of this bold and historic step.

Forty years ago, our forefathers and mothers decided that it was prudent to embrace both that which we had in common and that which gave us our distinct flavours to move towards a common goal. It was the visionary leadership from Barbados, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and our very own late Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Right Honourable Michael Manley, that insisted that we should pool our collective efforts


In their wisdom, they established a structure built on partnership; they created an institution that embraced our

It is an honour for me to participate, this morning, in the symbolic signing ceremony to mark the 40thyear since the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas, signifying Jamaica’s recommitment to the letter and principles entrenched in the Revised Treaty governing this important


family of nations. The theme we have chosen to mark this significant milestone, `Forty (40) years of Integration: Celebration and Renewal’, causes us to cast our eyes in retrospect even as we move steadily forward. It reminds us that the CARICOM construct, as envisaged forty years ago, is rooted in our history, geography, culture and many other commonalities which remain fundamental to its existence and survival. Madam Chair, Caribbean integration predates the formal establishment of CARICOM. That journey towards the formulation of CARICOM causes me to pause to recall the sentiment of the four founding Prime Ministers who spoke at the Special Conference of Heads of Government of the Independent Commonwealth Caribbean at Chaguarmas, Trinidad and Tobago, July 4, 1973. Ladies and gentlemen; An entire generation of Caribbean peoples has emerged since then. This is one reason why it is important that we reacquaint ourselves with the context which informed the creation of CARICOM. Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, CARICOM is more than an organisation or mechanism. It represents the vision and aspiration of our forefathers for a strong integrated region which would provide the best prospects for economic and social development. It is our responsibility, not only to remember their vision, but importantly, to live up to it. We must bring that vision to life in this generation and the next for the benefit of all Caribbean people. The great regionalist, Norman Washington Manley said, we have to do so “with a fixity of purpose and continuity of effort”. The then Host Prime Minister, Dr Eric Williams, said, among other things forty years ago: ‘After having placed the traditional emphasis on links [with the] metropolitan economy rather than our own individual economies, we have learnt the importance of close ties with one another at economic and other levels whether higher education or health, labour or shipping, examinations, financial matters or mass communications.


The late Errol Barrow, former Prime Minister of Barbados, pointed to two experiences which informed his passion for Caribbean integration and unity. One was the West Indian Students Union in London in the 1940s, which staged the first public meeting on Caribbean integration in London. The other, on July 4, 1965, when he and former Prime Minister of Guyana, Forbes Burnham, met to discuss the possibility of establishing a free trade area between the two countries, in the first instance, and the rest of the Caribbean “at such time as they were willing to follow their examples”. Mr. Burnham believed that the Caribbean must view its resources in totality and that they should be developed for individual countries, for region and equitably distributed. He reminded us that we cannot cower, paralysed in the corner of caution in this time of human affairs; that we should be careful, exact in our occasions and in what we propose to do; but that the care and the exactness, must be exercised on the high road of action. The commemoration of this important milestone provides us with an opportunity to celebrate our achievements and reflect upon the various challenges over the years, as we seek to predict, strategize and respond to the current and rapidly changing international environment. CARICOM, despite its challenges, remains one of the most highly developed integration movements in the world. Therefore, as a Community, we have much to be proud of. Of course, we must do serious introspection in this ever changing dynamic international community. We must ensure continuous evaluation and renewal to ensure the capacity of the movement to achieve objectives of the Revised Treaty.


Integration is a process not an event. We the Caribbean are great peoples whose spirits continue to infuse the world with music, colour, spice, vibrancy and excitement. No challenge can daunt a people who created the technology that makes sweet music from steel pans. No problem can stop a people whose reggae music has inspired revolutionary change across the world. What can deter peoples whose athletic prowess defies the laws of physics and whose depth of thought is seen in distinguished scholarship? Nothing can stop a united Caribbean people. We are from the crests of the blue mountains to the glassy waters of Grand Anse… we are from the deep forests of Guyana and Suriname. We celebrate the beautiful bays of St. Vincent, the hot sulpher springs of Saint Lucia and Dominica.


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Fourth of July sanctified in Regional History The Hon. Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister, Barbados at Commemorative Event, Chaguaramas Convention Centre, Chaguaramas, July 4, 2013


oday is the 4th day of July, in the year of our Lord 2013. Forty years ago at this place, the Treaty of Chaguaramas was signed. Today, we try to re-enact what happened forty years ago.

Barbados in that meeting between Barrow and Burnham that the decision was taken to establish a Caribbean Free Trade Association. Of course, the fourth of July was also the birthday of that distinguished Jamaican patriarch, the late Norman Washington Manley, who did so much in his time to promote the integration of this region.

Now history does not repeat itself. Historians repeat themselves, but history does not repeat itself. But it helps us to understand what happened on the fourth of July 1973. If I remind you that after the collapse of the Federation in 1962 attempts were made to redeem the reputation of this region by attempts at a small federation in the Eastern Caribbean - the so called, Little Eight effort. Most of those negotiations took place in Barbados and when it became clear to the then premier of Barbados, Mr. Errol Walton Barrow, that those negotiations were going nowhere, he wrote them off and ended the attempt at a Little Eight Federation.

After Barrow and Burnham agreed, they were to discover that the then Head of Government of Antigua, Vere Cornwall Bird was similarly disposed and, therefore, in 1965 at Dickenson Bay in Antigua, the CARIFTA agreement was formally signed. Two years elapsed and then at a conference held in Barbados in 1967, all the other English-speaking CARICOM Member States, committed themselves to this Caribbean Free Trade Association and, therefore, CARIFTA became an authentic and living reality. By 1972, Chaguaramas, which has so much been a history of Trinidad and Tobago reclaimed, as I seem to recall, if my history is not deceiving me, by the then leader of Trinidad and Tobago, the late Dr. Eric Williams, in an event which has gone down in history as the march in the rain, but at Chaguaramas in1972, Barrow, Burnham, Dr. Eric Williams and Michael Manley met and took the historic decision to affirm this region’s maturity, committing themselves to diplomatic relations with Cuba. That was a historic step in itself and wrote Chaguaramas further into the history of this region.

On the 27 June 1965, Barrow wrote the then premier of Guyana, Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham, a letter inviting him to come to Barbados to discuss the possibility of establishing a Caribbean Free Trade Association. The 27th of June 1965 was a Sunday, and Burnham travelled to Barbados the following Sunday which would be Sunday, July 4, to have those discussions with the premier of Barbados. Now you know why the date, the fourth of July is sanctified in our regional history. Because it was on that day in



One year later, it was here at Chaguaramas, that the same four Caribbean leaders, Dr Eric Eustace Williams, Michael Norman Manley, Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham and Errol Walton Barrow met and signed the Treaty of Chaguaramas. They had one simple mission - and it was to bring this region and its peoples more closely knit together, and as I said last evening, I need no persuasion at all that forty years later the people of this region are more closely united than at any other time in the history of the Caribbean. We have been colonials for much longer than we have been independent states. And rolling back the tide of history, and the consciousness which that history imposes will take a little time, but I don’t think that as a region we have anything to be ashamed about. We have shown the world that we have come together, we work together and try to realise the dreams and aspirations of the people of this region. So, today, as we meet to re-enact the events of forty years ago, we stand, do we not, positioned between hope and history. History we cannot reverse, we cannot unmake, but to hope we can give flesh and authentic living expression. We need to consolidate the independence for which we fought in this region. And we can only consolidate that independence by working more closely together.


It is not going to happen by accident. It is going to happen by our consciously deciding to make our history within the constraints, of course, that our concrete circumstances allow. We’re not going to consolidate that independence if we keep our gaze fixed beyond the perimeters of this region and if we continue to invest in Madison Avenue tastes and lifestyles. We must look inward; draw on the strengths and on the resources of this region; affirm our faith in what this region produces; what it creates; what it believes; and daily, minutely remind ourselves that we have a unique contribution to make to the treasury of human civilization. There are those who have gone before who have pointed us in that direction already, but we need to remind ourselves and those whom we meet that this region is special and has its own contribution to make to the unfolding drama of mankind. So, I’m very pleased to be here today to be part of this effort. Very pleased to see so many people turn out today. I conclude by saying this now- theologians still dispute who wrote the book of Hebrews, and that is not a dispute to which I intend to add my voice today. I seem to recall that it was in that book of Hebrews that it was written, and I close with this, of course, by way of paraphrase.


“Seeing that we are compassed about by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the distractions that so easily beset us and let us as Caribbean people run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking always to Him whose glory the heavens continue to declare as the author and finisher of our regional faith!” Thank you very much!


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Recommit ourselves to integrative process

His Excellency Donald Ramotar, President, Republic of Guyana

at Commemorative Event, Chaguaramas Convention Centre, Chaguaramas, July 4, 2013


wish to express my gratitude for the arrangements put in place today to bring us to Chaguaramas to mark this important milestone in our Community's history; 40 years since the momentous and courageous step was taken by our founding fathers to sign the Treaty of Chaguaramas.

This occasion, while it calls for celebration, is also one for reflection, self-evaluation on whether we have been effective enough in our integrative efforts. As leaders we must ask ourselves whether the peoples of the Region have benefitted fully from this process. Much talk about the implementation deficit is widely spoken about. We must ask ourselves and we must ensure that there is no commitment deficit. Let us recommit to reducing if not eradicating the deficit that we have seen in our region.

Forty years ago, the Region was just emerging from colonialism and the then leaders recognized that to survive and prosper in an international environment that was not always sympathetic and they knew that from the history of colonialism in the region that they needed to integrate the region. They obviously recognized that we had good conditions to embark on that course. We have a common history, a common culture in many ways and a common desire of our peoples to live together in unity.

This should therefore be an opportune time for us as a Community to recommit ourselves to an integrative process that is always adaptable to the changing circumstances. Optimal utilization of our productive capacity in this Region will remain elusive in the absence of strong and meaningful integration. We must never forget that our people must see and feel the benefits of integration. As the late President of our country Cheddi Jagan said in October 1992 at a Special Session of Caribbean Heads of Government “We have to work as a collective and consult our respective constituencies so that we march, not ahead or behind but together with our people�, and I submit that our people want us to march together. Those sentiments are even more relevant today.

Shortly after the signing of this Treaty that brought forth CARICOM, the world was struck by the first crisis, the oil crisis which exposed the extreme vulnerabilities of our individual Member States and served to vindicate the decision that was taken to integrate. Today, even though much has changed and we have made some progress, the need for integration is probably greater now than it was when this Treaty was signed 40 years ago.

There is no doubt that the Region has made great progress. We have established several institutions which we need to strengthen and we have taken many decisions. It is time for us to move the process forward with more vigor and more purposefully.

The financial and economic crises that began in Europe and North America have impacted heavily on our Region and clearly the need for us to have greater integration has become more urgent.



Clearly too we the areas and the ideas, we have the decisions, we have studies all of which we have done in the past. We know that these measures will redound to the interest of the region and positively impact on the lives of our people. For example, we have studies on transportation, we have the Regional Financial Architecture, we have the Jagdeo Initiative on Agriculture, the free movement of people and hassle free travel is vital and very important in helping us to strengthen our integration movement. This implementation deficit needs to be


resolved lest we find ourselves guilty of a commitment deficit. It is therefore my hope that the Reform process currently engaging the Region’s attention will result in a mechanism that is more proactive. It is only with more dynamism that the Community would best be able to respond to the fast changing global environment that we find ourselves in.

commitment to its preservation and further consolidation for the ultimate benefit of the peoples of our Region. Let me end by paying tribute to the four founding leaders who displayed courage and foresight, qualities which this generation must adopt in realizing the dream of a united, peaceful and prosperous Caribbean. I thank you for your attention.

Guyana remains proud to be the seat of this great Community and I reiterate our



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The Regional Integration Process and the Future of CARICOM AMBASSADOR IRWIN LaROCQUE SECRETARY-GENERAL CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY Distinguished Lecture delivered at University of the West Indies Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago | 3 October 2013


NTRODUCTION I am honoured to be here with you this afternoon at the invitation of Professor Sankat to deliver this lecture and begin the series of Distinguished Lectures on our integration movement. It is a discourse that is much needed and if my understanding is correct, I look forward to hearing from some of the Region’s iconic figures on this theme. There can hardly be a better place for such a conversation, given the long involvement and prominent role of the University of the West Indies in integration. The intellectual foundation for the modern movement emanated from this institution and some of its leading academics have continued in that tradition by contributing their thoughts, views and in many cases their time and energy towards furthering the integration process. The alumni of this institution have been providing leadership in all fields in the Region and abroad and many of those who have passed through the halls have confessed that their grounding in and support for regional integration found its genesis at the University. The Region owes a debt to UWI. More now than ever, the tradition must continue.

The nexus between this institution and the regional integration process was cemented when in 1963, trying to salvage the wreck of the Federation, the then

is so needed to integrate this Region. For make no mistake, to integrate small states such as ours, united and divided by the Caribbean Sea, with disparities of capacity, in different stages of economic development, jealous of their sovereignty, and among some of the youngest nation states in the world, requires fortitude, patience and vision. AMBASSADOR IRWIN Indeed, one of the most LaROCQUE ardent devotees of SECRETARY-GENERAL regional integration, Sir Shridath Ramphal stated CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY in a speech in 1975: “The natural state of our Caribbean is fragmentation: without constant effort; without unrelenting perseverance and discipline in suppressing instincts born of tradition and environPrime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, ment, it is to our natural state of disunity Dr Eric Williams, called for a meeting of that we shall return.” his colleague Heads of Government in the Anglophone Caribbean to discuss the No surprise therefore that regional future of common services. Chief among integration has had a long history of these was UWI, which was viewed as gradualism, moving, some will argue, at indispensable to the integration movethe pace of the slowest. Of course, it can ment. Fifty years later, that characterisaalso be argued that such a steady tion still holds true. approach has resulted in the Caribbean Community being the longest surviving The experiences and the knowledge that economic integration movement among so many gained from their stint at the developing countries and indeed second institution doubtlessly would have both only to the European Union, globally, in encouraged and fortified the “regional longevity. That “unrelenting persevernationalism” that existed at the time and ance” of which Sir Shridath spoke, fuelled



by our innate desire to come together, has ensured that this year we celebrate 40 years as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). And I am confident that CARICOM will be here to celebrate its achievements in another 40 years. In sharing my thoughts with you this evening I will briefly trace the evolution of the integration movement, give a sense of where we are today, point to the major challenges and look to the future. HISTORY Ladies and Gentlemen, in real terms our integration process can be regarded as beginning eighty one years ago, given that it was in 1932 that the first concrete proposals for Caribbean unity were put forward at a meeting of Caribbean labour leaders in Roseau, Dominica. It was the labour movement which championed and pioneered integration as a means of self-governance for the West Indian territories. At congresses in the late 1920s and 1930s, Caribbean labour leaders went from discussion of the idea to actually drafting a constitution for the unified territories, aided in large measure by a young economist from Saint Lucia, Arthur Lewis, who later distinguished himself and the Region as our first Nobel Laureate. Progress stalled with the intervention of the Second World War but shortly after its end in 1945, momentum was regained towards independence as a unit. This was the main theme of a landmark meeting which took place in 1947 at Montego Bay, Jamaica. Out of that meeting, the process began towards the West Indies Federation. This Federation would eventually involve the British colonies, with the exception of then British Guiana and British Honduras, and came into being in 1958. Its goal was Independence and some services were established to support the West Indian nation, including a Supreme Court and a shipping line. In preparing for Independence, a plan for a Customs Union was drawn up but during the four years of the Federation’s existence free trade was not introduced among the islands.


The end of the Federation in 1962 brought a close to this phase and to this approach to integration. In many ways, however, the end of the Federation led to the beginning of another chapter in the integration process which would evolve into the Caribbean Community. The need to maintain and possibly expand the Common Services that existed during the Federation was the catalyst for that (1963) Common Services Conference which I mentioned earlier. The UWI and the Regional Shipping Service along with the Caribbean Meteorological Service, which began one year later, kept the embers of integration glowing along with the so-called Little 8, comprising the Windward and Leeward Islands and Barbados which stayed together after the dissolution of the Federation. The Little 8 folded in 1965 and later that year, the Premiers of Barbados and British Guiana and the Chief Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Messrs Barrow, Burnham and Bird respectively, agreed to establish the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA). It was the first attempt to integrate through trade. The other territories joined this initiative and CARIFTA was launched in 1968 along with the Commonwealth Caribbean Regional Secretariat, which became the CARICOM Secretariat. During that period, “regional nationalism� was alive and well. It was a nationalism born out of the common desire and recognition of the imperative to forge our individual nationalism within a regional context. There was a political chemistry among our Leaders. Eight years later, recognizing that CARIFTA could only carry us thus far, our Leaders felt confident enough to move on to a Common Market and Community and deepened the integration arrangements on the basis of three pillars: economic integration; foreign policy co-ordination and functional co-operation. The Treaty of Chaguaramas formalising this new arrangement was signed in 1973. That Treaty which reflected the aspirations of the time could only carry us so far. It included a Common External Tariff (CET) which incidentally requires Member States to


give up some sovereignty. However, decisions were largely unenforceable and dispute settlement arrangements were weak. Trade barriers among members were also rampant and many of the provisions of the Treaty were best endeavour clauses. Sixteen years later, the watershed meeting of Heads of Government at Grand Anse, Grenada in 1989, set the Region on course towards the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). Grand Anse was a bold response to the circumstances of the day. The Community was faced with a changing global economic environment while the performance of the regional economy was sluggish. The traditional market for our commodities was threatened with the advent of the European Single Market, and discussions continued on the global trading arrangements. Both of these developments would result in preference erosion for the commodities the Region had come to rely on so heavily. Grant assistance was also declining. Our Leaders recognized that we needed to become more self-reliant for our development. A deeper form of integration was the logical answer to those challenges. To accommodate this even deeper form of integration, the Treaty was revised significantly and was signed in 2001. That revision of the Treaty set out the objectives for the Community, including the Single Market and Economy. These include improved standards of living and work; full employment of labour and other factors of production; accelerated, co-ordinated and sustained economic development and convergence; enhanced co-ordination of Member States' foreign policies; and enhanced functional co-operation. That last objective recognized the need for more efficient operation of common services and intensified activities in areas such as health, education, transportation and telecommunications. In 2006, five years after the signing of the Revised Treaty, the Single Market was ushered in. Twelve of our fifteen Member States form the Single Market, while Haiti and Montserrat are working towards putting it into place.


In the midst of these various transitions in the wider Region, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), whose Members are either Member States or Associate Members of CARICOM, have also been strengthening their integration arrangements which were first codified with the Treaty of Basseterre in 1981. In many ways the OECS has moved beyond CARICOM with the Revised Treaty of Basseterre Establishing the OECS Economic Union, signed in 2010, which among other things has granted free movement of persons within the Member States. This is an integration group that has had its own single currency and institutions, such as its Central Bank, Supreme Court and Stock Exchange. There is much to be learnt from the progress being made at the level of the OECS which could assist the wider integration effort. WHERE ARE WE NOW The framers of the revised Treaty in crafting the elements of the CSME, also sought to address some of the short comings of the 1973 Treaty. An attempt was made to move away from unanimity in decision making; to establish a rules-based system; the dispute settlement mechanism was strengthened and the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) was established as a means of ensuring the rights and obligations under the Treaty are observed. The Caribbean Community rests on four pillars, economic integration, human and social development, security co-operation and foreign policy co-ordination. All four pillars are important elements within our integration arrangements although the Treaty focusses heavily on the creation of a CARICOM Single Market and Economy and even more so, on the market dimensions of the CSME. The important dimension of the services sector was added. This was a clear recognition that the regional economy is being oriented more towards services while not minimising the continued importance of agriculture and other sectors. In that regard, human resource development is crucial in the exploitation of new opportunities arising in the services sector. While the Treaty creates or gives rise to

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certain Institutions of our Community such as the CCJ, the CARICOM Competition Commission, the CARICOM Development Fund, CROSQ and CAHFSA, CARICOM’s integration architecture is not limited to those and consists of some 20 institutions. The Caribbean Development Bank and, as I mentioned before, UWI, are an integral part of our Community. All of these institutions have an important function in delivering on the objectives of our Community. Ladies and Gentlemen, these progressive steps in regional integration have been taken against a background of an international system that has undergone a number of profound changes over the last two decades spawned by the process of globalization, itself fuelled by free trade, market liberalization and the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) revolution. These systemic changes have resulted in significant modifications to the contours and functioning of the international system and in fundamental shifts in the global balance of power. These transformative changes pose challenges to the continuing development of the Community. They also create opportunities that can be exploited to our benefit.

For CARICOM, enhancing competitiveness and expanding trade are crucial for improving the welfare of the Region. However, small developing economies like ours have structural and institutional characteristics, which affect the process of economic growth, constrain their ability to compete internationally, increase their vulnerability to external events, and limit their capacity for adjustment. These include small population, geographical dispersal, minimal export diversification and dependency upon very few export markets, inadequate infrastructure, low competitiveness, economic rigidity with high adjustment costs, high transport and transit costs, and difficulties in attracting foreign investment.

These constraints have been exacerbated by the effects of the global economic and financial crises on Caribbean economies. The impact on CARICOM States is represented by continuing sluggish growth prospects and the challenges of – a) Rising food prices; b) A slump in demand for traditional commodity exports; c) Increasing unemployment rates, especially among the youth; d) A slowdown in foreign direct investment flows; e) Unpredictable remittance flows; f) Rising debt and the inability to effectively service the debt; and g) Rising fiscal deficits. Globally, several countries have responded to the deteriorating economic environment by introducing countercyclical fiscal policies. However, the ability of CARICOM countries to apply such policy measures is constrained by the lack of fiscal space exacerbated by a severe debt burden. CARICOM’s debt stock currently stands at approximately US$19 billion, while the debt to GDP ratio ranges from 60 to 144 per cent for our Member States. Debt servicing, particularly of external debt which accounts for a major percentage of the total public sector debt, continues to deprive CARICOM countries of resources that could otherwise be directed towards productive activities. This debt situation is aggravated by the diminution of the Region’s access to concessionary financing because International Financial Institutions and the Donor Community have insisted on using GDP per capita as the sole criterion to determine whether or not a country qualifies for development support. Through this concept of "graduation" or "differentiation", most CARICOM Member States, categorised as middle income countries, are increasingly denied access to concessionary funding and

...Continued on Pg 17




The melting pot of Regional culture was on display at the Rededication Ceremony at the Chaguramas Convention Centre, Chaguaramas on 4 July 2013. Culinary Art at CARIFESTA 2013 in Suriname.

Performers at CARIFESTA 2013 in Suriname.

Dancers at CARIFESTA held in Suriname, August 2013



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The 34th Meeting of the Conference of CARICOM Heads of Government, which coincided with the observance of the 40th anniversary of the Community underway in Trinidad and Tobago, July 2013.

CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque and General Counsel, CARICOM Secretariat, Ms. Safiya Ali, in discussion during the 34th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government.

The Hon. Baldwin Spencer, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, the Hon. Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados, His Excellency Donald Ramotar, President of Guyana, the Hon. Ashni Singh, Minister of Finance of Guyana, and the Hon. Robeson Benn, Minister of Public Works of Guyana, in conversation during the Retreat of Heads of Government in Trinidad and Tobago during the 34th Regular Summit in July 2013.



development assistance. The Community has been lobbying actively for quite some time against “graduation” solely based on our relatively high per capita income while ignoring the vulnerabilities which face small economies such as ours. It is clear that faced with those realities, there is an imperative to come together, rather than looking inward, to be better able to meet those challenges. Our path to regional development is premised on the commitment by our Member States, to promote initiatives aimed at achieving a coordinated and strategic approach through the pursuit of increasingly coordinated policies and the combined use of the resources and capacities of the Region. Regional integration is the vehicle that the Community has chosen to take us along this path with the CSME as the engine. The ultimate goal of the CSME is the creation of a single economic space encompassing all Member States. It has the following core regimes: free movement of skills, goods, services, and capital, and the right of establishment. It also includes abolition of exchange controls, free convertibility of currencies, an integrated capital market, convergence of macro-economic policies, and harmonised company legislation. A critical element is the harmonisation of laws and


administrative practices. To date, a lot of attention has focussed on the Single Market aspect of the CSME, perhaps since one can readily discern rights and obligations enshrined in the Treaty and because it is the easier part of creating a Single Market and Economy. However, on the macro economic issues of the Single Economy, at best, the Treaty points to best endeavours. As we move along the integration continuum from Single Market to Single Economy – an artificial distinction for purposes of implementation – it impinges more and more on national sovereignty and brings into question governance issues and possibly some sort of political integration. The Single Development Vision adopted in 2007, envisioned the completion of the Single Economy by 2015. Once again the Community had overreached in its ambitions just as it had done at Grand Anse in 1989, which had put the operation date of the CSME at 1993. The fact is that the Revised Treaty was completed and signed 12 years after Grand Anse and the Single Market took a further five years before becoming operational in 2006. We set ourselves overambitious and unrealistic targets, which by their very nature, doom us to apparent failure when they are not met.

I am not suggesting that we set targets that allow for a leisurely pace. The world is not waiting on us. I am suggesting that we set targets which take into account not only the necessity and urgency of achieving the goal but equally important, what it takes to get there, and the resources and capacity of the entire Community to do so. This is not to say that we have not made progress in our economic integration arrangements. All of the core regimes under the Single Market are operating, although work still needs to be done in some areas. Additionally, regional policies have been approved or are in progress in areas such as, agriculture and food and nutrition security, energy, industry, ICT and security. Work has also commenced on a policy with respect to small and medium sized enterprises. We are fairly well advanced on a regulatory framework for Financial Services and an Investment Code. These policies, once implemented by Member States, will contribute to the development of the respective sectors and to improving their competitiveness. However, the true test of the CSME is if it has helped in solving the economic problems of the Member States.

“I am not suggesting that we set targets that allow for a leisurely pace. The world is not waiting on us. I am suggesting that we set targets which take into account not only the necessity and urgency of achieving the goal but equally important, what it takes to get there, and the resources and capacity of the entire Community to do so.” We have begun a discussion on whether the construct of the CSME addresses the immediate concerns of Member States and do we need to recalibrate and focus more on the productive sector and making our economies more competitive. I am of the view that we do. We probably have adopted a too theoretical model of economic integration. Our regional economists have long called for us to focus on production integration and on the competitiveness of our economies.



Production integration can only be achieved through the full involvement of a competitive private sector. To facilitate the private sector involvement we must address the ease of doing business across borders and within the CSME, as a whole. There is also an urgent need to strengthen the institutional capacity of private sector support organisations. These institutions are vital to give the private sector a cohesive voice at the table of decisionmaking in matters of interest to their members. In the final analysis, focus must be on increasing production in order to generate income and address the standard of living in our various Member States. Key to increasing production is agriculture, export services and manufacturing. The success of these sectors is of course underpinned by affordable energy and affordable and reliable transportation services. Ladies and Gentlemen as we forge ahead, what has emerged over these first seven years of the operations of the CSME is that the Treaty, as it now exists, may be limited as a tool to advance the integration movement and thus pass the test mentioned above. The Treaty is basically trade-based with insufficient attention paid to the Single Economy. Whereas there are clear obligations under the Treaty with respect to the Single Market, for the most part, the provisions relative to the Single Economy can ideally be described as best endeavours. Further, the governing arrangements for the CSME have become bureaucratic, unwieldy and lethargic and we spend more time and resources discussing the same issues rather than making decisions we can effectively implement. There is need for more care and attention in the decision-making process, including an effective consultative mechanism. I believe we have reached the stage where we must ask fundamental questions about the efficacy of the governance structures outlined in the Treaty and of the Treaty itself. This issue is among the areas of priority

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being considered by the reconstituted Inter Governmental Task Force which is working towards making recommendations for further Revising the Treaty. Two of the areas are Governance of the Caribbean Community and Related Issues and the Working Methods of the Various Organs and Bodies of the Caribbean Community. What we are seeking to do is build the regional architecture for integration to ensure that it helps in the growth and development of Member States and has an impact on the lives of our citizens.

Community Institutions established to assist in the development of the Community.

The bedrock of our governance arrangements is that we are a Community of Sovereign States, as stated a decade ago in the Rose Hall Declaration of 2003. With that in mind, the fundamental issue is how to balance that reality against the need for an effective system of governance to allow for efficient and timely implementation of decisions.


Over the years, ideas have surfaced in this regard, particularly after the 1992 report of the West Indian Commission, “Time For Action”. That report suggested a system of Commissioners empowered to enforce decisions. Latterly, the idea of a Permanent Committee of CARICOM Ambassadors, comprising individuals of sufficient rank and influence to drive the implementation process at the national level, has been put forward. That concept envisages each Member State establishing a Regional Integration Unit, headed by an Ambassador who would be the country’s representative on the Committee. The OECS Commission is fashioned broadly along similar lines and presents an opportunity for us to observe the workings of such an arrangement. While the Committee of Ambassadors may not be the ideal option, it is the best we can possibly achieve in the short term under the current circumstances. However, the issue of some form of supranational authority must be kept alive. In that context, key to the functioning of any such authority is the role of the Secretary-General, the Secretariat and


Already in place to ensure certainty in the interpretation and application of the Treaty’s provisions is the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in its original jurisdiction. The Court, in its early judgements, has cemented the Community’s rulesbased system, engendered a level of confidence and occasioned a shift in the way business is done in the Region’s Councils.

Ladies and Gentlemen, one of the unintended side effects of the concentration on trade and economic aspects of our integration movement has been the tendency to judge the success of the entire movement by the efforts in those areas. Indeed in some quarters, the effectiveness of CARICOM is judged on issues related to the movement of persons or merchandise trade balances. This view is at odds even with the economic reality, given the important contribution that trade in services is making to the Region. While these issues need to be addressed, it is unfortunate that these are the criteria often used in the court of public opinion, since so much else has been achieved in the past 40 years. It has also had the effect of minimising the important role of human and social development in our societies. There have been several notable achievements in this area. In recognition of the importance of Health to the development of our Community, the Heads of Government set up the Caribbean Commission on Health and Development under the leadership of the Chancellor of this University, the Honourable Sir George Alleyne, OCC. The Commission’s report in 2007, made the point that “a healthy population is an essential prerequisite for the economic growth and stability of the Caribbean” and stressed the importance of health to achieving the goals of economic development as enunciated in our Treaty.


The serious implications of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) were pointed out by the Commission which identified one Member State in which the combined cost of dealing with diabetes and hypertension, two of the NCDs, amounted to more than US$58 million annually, an indication of the economic burden that these diseases place on our countries. It was due to leadership by CARICOM, that the ravages of the NCDs commanded global attention and action, prompting a UN High Level Forum on the issue in 2011. In order to efficiently address the public health concerns of the Region, five regional agencies were amalgamated to form the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). CARPHA will, among other things, address the surveillance and management of communicable and Non-Communicable Diseases and public health response to disasters,. This week, the Agency is facing its first test with the outbreak of H1N1 in at least three countries. Faced with the threat posed by HIV/Aids to our Region, and the youth population in particular, the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP), established by CARICOM in 2001, has made a critical impact on reversing and stabilizing the spread of the AIDS epidemic in the Caribbean. The Caribbean also stands to be the first region in the world to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV by 2015. This is largely due to its unique governance arrangements, for which it was designated a UN Best Practice in 2004. The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), an institution of our Community, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, continues to provide regionally and internationally recognised examinations and curricula relevant to the needs of the Region, among a raft of education services. Some of their innovative methods have been studied and introduced in third countries. Beyond academics, the Community has developed the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) to establish


standards and to provide our artisans and tradespersons with a qualification recognised throughout the Community. In order to better position the Region to be more competitive, emphasis is placed on developing quality human resources through the provision of technical and vocational training to provide the requisite skills that would satisfy the demands of the workplace. The CVQ has the potential to ensure that the Community has available to it, a regional pool of certified skilled persons.

interest and action among youth, and to increase livelihood opportunities and employability for economically and socially marginalized youth.

It puts the opportunities of the CSME within reach of many, given its inclusion in the free movement of skills regime in certain specified fields. It gives the lie to those who contend that the movement of skills is reserved for the elite. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Youth of our Community deserve special attention. Following the Report of a CARICOM Commission on Youth Development in 2010, a five-year CARICOM Youth Development Action Plan (CYDAP) has been created to give expression to the six CARICOM Youth Development Goals which underpin the Paramaribo Declaration on the future of youth in the Community. The Commission on Youth Development was established by Heads of Government, and following consultations with youths throughout the Community, provided a full scale analysis of the challenges and opportunities for youth in the CSME and made recommendations on how to improve their well-being and empowerment. The Action Plan spans the areas of: education and economic empowerment; universal access to secondary education by 2016; reshaping of national education policies to reflect the life cycle approach to learning; and the establishment of integrated programmes providing employability skills, transition skills and entrepreneurial skills for youth in and out of school. The Secretariat is collaborating with the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors and Development Partners to engage, motivate and inspire entrepreneurial


Musicians at CARPHA launch

The Youth of our Region is making a significant contribution in the areas of sports, music and culture in particular, all of which contribute to employment and development of our regional economy. The Region does have a comparative advantage in culture, due to our acknowledged creativity for which we are known and respected internationally. Culture is central to the promotion of regional identity and unity, and an important component in the regional integration construct. One way that the people of the Region will feel connected and “intensely Caribbean,� with a strong sense of community and identity, is by unleashing creative and cultural appreciation, imagination and production.


The diversification of Caribbean economies through these innovative, indigenous industries should be viewed as an indispensable component of any development strategy to assist Member States to make the necessary adjustments to survive in this globalised environment. The cultural and creative industries therefore present significant opportunity for building competitive export industries using local talents and resources. We now have a Regional Development Strategy and Action Plan for the Cultural Industries.

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In response to the increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters in our Community, we established a mechanism to co-ordinate preparedness for and relief in the event of a natural disaster, through the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA). Their Comprehensive Disaster Management System has proven its value both in the preparation for disasters and in the aftermath with its co-ordination of relief efforts. To strengthen relief efforts we have also

created the first multi-country disaster insurance scheme in the world, through the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF). This is a not-for-profit entity, owned, operated and registered in the Caribbean for Caribbean governments. It has been able to limit the financial impact of some catastrophic natural disasters to Caribbean governments, by quickly providing short-term liquidity when a policy is triggered. Well before climate change became a global issue, our Community began to

(from left): CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, The Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis and Lead Head of Government with responsibility for Human Resource Development, Health and HIV/AIDS, and Dr. James Hospedales, Executive Director of CARPHA at the launch of CARPHA.



address the need to mitigate the effects of and adapt to this phenomenon. Through the work of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), the Community has become very influential in the global response to climate change, including in the formation of the Climate Fund. The work of the Centre in providing climate change-related policy advice and guidelines to CARICOM Member States has been outstanding, so much so that the Centre has also been identified as a best practice internationally and now lends advice and assistance to other


threatened regions. In the area of Foreign Policy co-ordination, CARICOM has demonstrated that its influence in international affairs has far exceeded its size. Our experience has shown that when we act in concert, our collective voice in the international community is greater than the sum of its parts. Another element of this co-ordination is securing the election of CARICOM candidates for positions in international organisations in order to influence the international agenda.

“The Youth of our Region is making a significant contribution in the areas of sports, music and culture in particular, all of which contribute to employment and development of our regional economy.�


We have seen the fruits of such an approach in recent times through the promotion of NCDs and the plight of Small Highly Indebted Middle Income Countries among others, put on the table by CARICOM, as major components for consideration in the Post 2015 Development Agenda. The leading role played by CARICOM in advocating for the Arms Trade Treaty at the UN, was because of our deep concern about the prevalent use of firearms by criminals in our society. It was also CARICOM which led the way


for the recognition of small and vulnerable economies as a group within the World Trade Organisation. Additionally, the Community used its leverage to have the International Civil Aviation Organisation adopt the community of interest principle under which a country belonging to a grouping such as CARICOM, and which has no airline of its own, could designate an airline of another member of the grouping to use its route rights in the conclusion of air services agreements. That has been of inestimable value to airlines based in the Region. We are therefore seeing that our foreign policy co-ordination can be used to address regional and national problems. Our increasing co-ordination in foreign policy has resulted in the recognition of CARICOM as an international actor. This recognition has led to an increasing number of states seeking closer ties with the Community. Last May was the latest example of this reality when, within the space of a week, the President of China and the Vice President of the United States both came to Trinidad and Tobago to meet with regional leaders. To make optimum use of such opportunities, the Community has established and identified the basic principles as well as the operational modalities to inform the conduct of its foreign policy coordination. One of the fundamental principles is that the pursuit of our development goals and interests must shape our external outreach. Also of importance, is that in today’s fast paced and globalized world, foreign relations are no longer the preserve of Foreign Ministries. Community foreign policy coordination therefore requires the harmonisation of messages and policies at the national level between Foreign Ministries and line ministries. I have taken time to illustrate some of the achievements and some of the issues that we are working on as a Community. They show that he pooling of our skills and resources to bring about improvements in our circumstances and the lives of our citizens stands as testimony to the benefits of integration.

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THE CHALLENGES Ladies and Gentlemen, notwithstanding our achievements, of which I am proud, and plans, there are serious challenges which need to be addressed if we are to move the integration process forward and make it more meaningful to the people of our Community. Some of these challenges include, • sustainable economic growth; • transportation; • hassle free travel; • the high cost of energy; and • equitable distribution of the benefits of integration, which if not adequately addressed could lead to discontent. As we move to address those challenges, we must reach to the realisation that our national growth and development is inextricably tied to regional growth and development. Regional policies and national policies must be so intertwined as to be almost indiscernible. It is in that actualisation that our citizens will feel most acutely, that sense of being part of a Community. THE FUTURE A major realisation in going forward is that the current and future situation demand that we change our modus operandi and crucially, the way we think about integration. Once again we are at another juncture in the progression of our regional integration movement. Our capacity to respond to the various challenges and to exploit such opportunities as they may bring, depend in significant measure, on the extent to which our arrangements can be strengthened. It will require first of all consistent and positive engagement in the areas selected for priority action; secondly, effective decision-making machinery; and thirdly, the capacity to deliver. Instituting change is never easy and is more difficult if it is attempted in the face of entrenched attitudes and structures. That notwithstanding, the Community is engaged in a three year reform process that encompasses every facet of its operations. In short we are changing the way we do business. Heads of Govern-


ment agreed in March 2012 that since ‘form followed function’, it was necessary to re-examine the future direction of the Community and the arrangements for carrying this forward. This includes the role and function of the CARICOM Secretariat and the Institutions of the Community. A Change Facilitation Team has been recruited to assist me with this process of change. The Team is currently undertaking consultations in Member States on the first ever Strategic Plan for the Community. These country Consultations provide an opportunity for nationals of each Member State and Associate Member to influence the strategic direction of the Community, their Community, our Community. The five year Strategic Plan will set out a common vision and identify our priority areas of focus over the period. Critically, it will also address issues of implementability including the roles and responsibilities of all participants in the Community architecture: namely the Conference of Heads of Government; the Ministerial Councils; the Bodies, such as the Committee of Central Bank Governors and the Budget Committee; the CARICOM Secretariat; and the Institutions; as well as issues of governance, institutional and operational arrangements and monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. The Consultations on the Strategic Plan are not starting with a blank slate. They are drawing on approved policies and programmes as a starting point. These include the 2007 Single Development Vision; the Strategic Plan for Regional Economic Development, on which there was close collaboration between the Secretariat and UWI; the priorities articulated by Heads of Government themselves at their retreat held in Guyana in May 2011; and approved policies and action plans in a range of areas, such as agriculture, energy, industry, security, health, youth, ICT and Climate Change, to name a few. These policies and programmes are then taken in the context of the rapidly changing global environment that impacts our Member States, to chart the way forward.


With eight consultations complete, common themes are emerging. Included among these are: • The need to address economic recovery and growth as a core strategy over the next five years; • The need to strengthen governance and decision-making arrangements, beginning with the Heads of Government Conference, to secure a more effective Community; • The need to solve the challenges with inter-regional transport, the free movement of persons including hassle free travel, as critical success factors for regional integration; • The need to secure the Region’s future through targeted interventions in agriculture for food security, energy security, education, health and ICT; • The need to re-ignite the fire of regionalism among our Caribbean people, through shared understanding and building of a sense of Community; • The need to communicate fully and consistently with the people on the issues of integration; and • The need to embrace and optimise the diversity of the people and Member States that lend to our strength as a unified Region. As indicated, some of the sectoral issues had already been identified by Heads of Government as critical areas and appear in some form in the national plans of most Member States. It is clear from the consultations, that the people of CARICOM remain committed to realising the potential of our integration movement, our single but diversified space, and even eventually our “United States of the Caribbean” as it has been described in some of the consultations. On the basis of the Strategic Plan, the review and restructuring of the Secretariat, and indeed Organs and Institutions of CARICOM, will be addressed to enable the construct to deliver in a much more


focussed and effective manner to the people of the Community.

This reform process is central to the future of the integration movement and Prime Minister Anthony’s call for a “big conversation” could not be more timely. It would be, he said, an opportunity to chart a new paradigm for growth, review the role and performance of our regional institutions to determine how they can help in these times and better assist us to restore growth to our economies.”

That big conversation has begun and as a former Prime Minister of this country said in calling for the establishment of the West Indian Commission, “let all ideas contend.” It affords an opportunity, for example, for a new generation of intellectuals from UWI, and other universities and organisations in the Region, to offer their views and prescriptions. In such a conversation, voices from our civil society must be heard as the call for participatory governance in the consultations is a clear sign that the top down form of integration will not be accepted by our people. In joining that conversation we must be prepared to examine every aspect, principle and underlying philosophy that has guided this integration movement. Should we seek to widen our fold and embrace more of our Caribbean neighbours or should we concentrate on deepening our arrangements? Can we achieve both at the same time? What are the implications for the Single Market as we forge ahead, as we must, with trade arrangements with Third States? Should sanctions be introduced as a means of enforcing compliance with Treaty


provisions and decisions? What are the most appropriate governance arrangements which we must put in place in order for us to realise our full potential as a Community? And what would be the implications for such governance arrangements in a widened Community? These questions and others must form part of the introspection that admittedly has as its fundamental premise, that regional integration is the basis for national development. VISION Ladies and Gentlemen, two years and six weeks ago, I assumed the position of Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community expressing in my inaugural statement that “while there was cynicism in some cases, a common thread was a commitment and belief in our integration movement, as well as hope for change.” I said then, it was a hope as SecretaryGeneral I would strive to fuel. That hope is what guides my long term vision for our Community. It is also guided by the optimism and enthusiasm for CARICOM, by our youth in particular. It has been heartening and humbling to experience, at first hand, in my interaction with the young people in every Member State that I have visited, their desire for integration and their impatience for it to become a lived experience. I have witnessed at first hand, what Prime Minister Anthony referred to, as the integrating power of the people across our Region. Primarily, it would be a Community in which all are involved. There would be a system of meaningful consultations from which a free flow of ideas emanate, allowing for the distillation of the best and most practical. This would help to capture the imagination and interest of all and allow the people to seize a stake in the integration process - allowing for the sense of being Caribbean to take precedence over all else. It would also lead to more efficient implementation of decisions having had the benefit of the widest possible input. It would be a Community in which regional plans and policies are harmon-


ised with national plans and policies. The national would become regional and the regional national. We would have deepened the integration process, with a single economic space a reality, and a closer convergence of economic policies. Ideally those issues that are important to the people of the Community would have been resolved. I speak here of hassle free travel, free movement, currency convertibility, and contingent rights. We have to create a Community in which the people have tangible proof that integration is working for them and that their domestic space extends from Belize in the west to Barbados in the east, from Suriname in the south to The Bahamas in the north and all in between.

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This would mean being able to travel freely, change their currency and have the families who move, treated to all intents and purposes, as citizens of their adopted country. To achieve such goals we must frankly discuss and resolve the concerns of all Member States. These concerns are real as it relates to free movement in particular. I would like to see our foreign policy co-ordination strengthened as a means of achieving our development goals. I would like to see the CCJ embraced by all Member States, in both its jurisdictions, as a step towards completing the circle of sovereignty for the Region.

I would like to see a single CARICOM ICT Space, in which a telephone call from Port of Spain to Kingston is a local call and broadband is ubiquitous and easily accessible to all. I would like to see a community that has achieved sustainable growth and development, where there is confidence and belief in where we can go, and what we can achieve together, where its institutions are seen as reliant and integral to achieving our goal of a Community for all. I intend to deliver a Secretariat that is strategic in outlook and efficient, effective and responsive in serving the needs of its Member States and providing leadership to the integration arrangements. I would like to see, a Community therefore, that makes maximum use of its human resources, technology, international relations and secures the commitment of all its citizens to the integration process. The task is ours to make this integration movement so much a lived experience that our natural state becomes one of unity. It is a task to which I have dedicated myself and invite you to join me.

Secretary-General LaRocque with youths in Suriname




DEVELOPMENT OF TRADE STATISTICS IN CARICOM by Dr. Philomen Harrison, Project Director, Regional Statistics

“… Trade is after all the ‘bread and butter’ of the Common Market and it is vital for proper understanding of the working and development of the Common Market that accurate and up-to-date information be available on the transactions taking place between Member Countries…”


he above quotation by a former Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community, Sir Alister McIntyre provides the backdrop to the historical context and importance of trade statistics in CARICOM. The need for trade statistics has its basis in the efforts at economic integration in its different forms with a key aim being to improve intra-CARICOM trade flows. In what follows the story of trade statistics is depicted within the context of the economic integration agenda, starting with the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA)-1968-72; the Caribbean Community and Common Market from 1973-2005 and the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) from 2006 to the present. While the West Indian Federation was the first effort at establishing a union among ten islands of the British Caribbean the focus then was more on a political rather than an economic union and therefore the issue of free trade was not explicitly among its objectives. One of the earliest efforts aimed at economic integration of the Commonwealth Caribbean countries was the Caribbean Free Trade Area (CARIFTA) which was established in 1968 with 11 countries. CARIFTA was therefore the early context for the compilation of trade data since specifically, CARIFTA was intended to encourage balanced development of the Region including: • Increasing trade- buying and selling more goods among the Member States;

• Diversifying trade – expanding the variety of goods and services available for trade; In addition to providing for free trade the CARIFTA Agreement also sought to ensure that the benefits of free trade were equitably distributed; promoting industrial development in the LDCs; the development of the coconut industry, which was significant in many Less Developed Countries (LDCs); and providing for a longer period for the phasing out of Customs duty on certain products that were important revenue earners to LDCs. The monitoring of CARIFTA therefore required statistics and in particular trade data. Production data on Oils and Fats also used to be monitored routinely by the CARICOM Secretariat. 1960 to the 1970’s The first digest of trade statistics of Member States of CARICOM, which was produced in 1976, represented efforts by the Secretariat spanning several years, to produce “estimates of the flow and pattern of intra-CARICOM” trade. The time period for this first digest was 1960 to 1974. It was stated that the information published in the first digest of trade statistics would have served to correct misunderstandings about intra-CARICOM trade performance. The sources of data were the trade publications as well as unpublished data provided by the National Statistical Offices (NSOs) of Member States. The choice of time period of the first


digest (1960 to1974) was to provide a long enough series before and after the establishment of CARIFTA in 1968. While the stated purpose of this first digest was to present trade statistics on intraCARICOM trade, in fact there were tables on Total trade for the period 1960-1974 for CARICOM countries including: Balance of Trade, Imports and Domestic Exports by Country, by SITC Section and by selected Trading Partners; Percentage Distribution of Imports and Exports by country and by SITC Section. Total Trade data (disaggregated) for individual countries were also provided including by SITC Section. There were similar tables for intra-CARICOM including, in this case, a matrix or network of imports (exports) among countries. It was noticeable then and now that Trinidad and Tobago was the dominant exporter in intra-CARICOM trade on average for the period 1960-1970, the bulk of its exports being the same, Mineral Fuels, Lubricants and related materials. Guyana was the leading intra-CARICOM importer on average for this same period followed by Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. Intra-regional imports stood at 5.9 percent of total imports and intra-regional exports accounted for 6.8 percent of total exports in 1960. Relative to total trade, the balance of trade was always in deficit for all years at the CARICOM level with our dominant trading partner for our imports changing between the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America for the


period of data, and with the Latin American Free Trade Area running a close third for some years. On the exports side, the USA and the UK also dominated. Apart from 1960 when machinery and transport equipment were the major commodities imported overall for CARICOM, in the period up to 1970, mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials were the principal commodities imported followed by machinery, transport equipment and food in that order. With regard to domestic exports, the dominant commodities were mineral fuels, lubricants, food and crude materials inedible except fuel. 1973 to the early 80’s The Caribbean Community and Common Market came into effect in April 1973 in Georgetown, Guyana, starting with Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. The Accord which was agreed to in April 1973 contained the draft treaty which is now known as the Treaty of Chaguaramas. By 2002, the membership stood at fifteen with the last Member State to join being Haiti. One of the key objectives of the Community was economic integration of the Member States by the establishment of the Common Market. The objective on economic integration included the following aim in part: “…strengthening coordination and regulation of the economic and trade relations among Member in order to promote their accelerated, harmonious and balanced development…” In 1974, the Common Market Council that came into being under the Treaty in 1973, in turn established the Standing Committee of Caribbean Statisticians (SCCS): “…to foster increased recognition of the importance of statistical services to the countries of the region; to widen the scope and coverage of statistical data collection; and to improve the quality, comparability and timeliness of statistics produced…” The CARICOM Secretariat continued collecting trade data on an annual basis during the period of the 80’s from Member States in whatever formats the Member States could supply- reports or final tabulations, in order to fulfill the

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requirements of compiling a regional trade report. There were many interventions made in meetings including at the highest level of the Community on the need to develop and improve trade statistics in order to enable improvement in the availability of trade statistics for the monitoring of the economic integration process. A lot of the data submitted by countries were provisional and the task of collating the report entailed the manual addition of the data across categories such as the sections of the Standard Industrial Trade Classification (SITC), since, in many cases, no totals were provided. In response to the mandates given by the Conference of Heads of Government and the Common Market Council, proposals for a regional trade monitoring system were prepared by the Secretariat and the SCCS, which included the extraction of data at the most detailed level on imports, exports and re-exports from the administrative and legal documents of the Customs departments, identifying country of origin, country of destination, description and customs tariff classification number, quantity and f.o.b. value for each item. This was to be undertaken on a monthly basis. The CARICOM Secretariat was tasked with the preparation of Regional aggregates based on data received by Member States and with dispatching these Regional aggregates to Member States within six weeks of the end of each month. With regard to the proposals presented on the statistical monitoring system for trade flows, it was recognised that the responsibility for producing timely information on intra-regional trade resided in the statistical offices. It was also noted that statistical offices required additional resources if they were to administer the trade monitoring system. Further, in the administration of the system at the national level, statistical offices required the cooperation and assistance of the certifying authorities. Thus the arrangements for the system to monitor trade flows were conceptualised. Amidst these efforts to improve the monitoring of trade flows, a second digest of trade statistics for the period 1970 to 1980 was produced in 1983, based on


data submitted to the Regional office by Member States. 1984 to the early 1990s The proposed system for monitoring trade flows and its implications for customs administrations were examined by the Ninth (9th) Meeting of the Customs Committee in October 1984. It was agreed that customs administrations would pass to national statistical authorities, copies of the Certificate of Origin and supporting invoices. It was also agreed that the customs administrations would indicate on the shipping bills for intra-regional exports those instances where the goods qualified for Common Market treatment. The national statistical offices also felt that it was impossible to provide the data within the next week of the end of each month as recommended in the system approved by Council and that a time lag of one or two months was more feasible. It was agreed that there was need for timely data to monitor intra-regional trade flows and delegates present re-iterated their commitment to producing such data. Best Practice during the 80’s The sharing of the copies of the Certificate of Origin/Shipping Bills and related invoices can be described as a defining moment in the compilation of trade statistics. National Statistical Offices (NSOs) need to obtain data from two main sources – statistical surveys and administrative data sources. Over the years, NSOs have experienced (and still do) difficulties in accessing the data from key administrative sources such as income tax data for the compilation of National Accounts. The CARICOM Secretariat has recently executed a project activity on a Common Framework for Statistics Production, a component of which focused on the production of a Model Statistics Bill to inform the collection of data in an integrated statistical system. Funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), one of the key inclusions in the Model Bill pertained to access of information from government and other agencies for statistical purposes. The decision made so many years ago to share administrative data with the NSOs for statistical purposes can only be described as an


outstanding practice in the history of statistical data collection, since it meant that the Statistical agencies were able to have access to copies of legal documents for the purposes of compiling and monitoring trade flows.

Importance of Intra-regional TradeChallenges

Intra-regional trade statistics remained on the agenda of various Community Meetings for several years, including meetings of the Conference of Heads of Government (1984); SCCS meetings (all) and meetings of the Common Market Council at which a report on the performance of intra-regional trade was consistently presented in the 80’s and 90’s. Meetings of Statisticians, Customs Officials and Trade Experts (STECO) also had trade statistics on their agenda. At the Thirty-Seventh Meeting of the Common Market Council (Council), 1991, Council noted the action taken by the Secretariat to improve the preparation and production of product level statistics in the Region. Further, at the ThirtyNinth Meeting of Council in 1993, the Secretariat presented a paper entitled Performance of Intra-regional Trade: January to December 1991. The Meeting was informed that the analysis of the performance of intra-regional trade for the year 1991, as outlined in the paper, was based on the trade data supplied to the Secretariat by Member States, as well as estimates made by the Secretariat of the trade for those Member States which had not yet produced their trade data for the full year. The Secretariat representative stressed the limitations faced with respect to the availability of the requisite data. It was also explained that the introduction of the Common External Tariff (CET) by eight Member States at different points in time during 1991, and the use throughout that year of different versions of the classification system by four Member States which had not introduced the CET, made comparability of the data at the item level particularly difficult. Council called upon Member States to ensure the timely submission of data to the Secretariat at the detailed item level in respect of intra-regional and extra-regional trade.


1990’s to the present Moving from the Common Market to the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), the fundamental objective of the CSME is to achieve a single economic space that will foster growth and will result in sustained development of the standard of living of all Caribbean peoples. The Single Market was established in 2006 and comprises all Member States except The Bahamas, Montserrat and Haiti. Key elements of the CSME are: Free Movement of Capital, Labour, Goods, the Provision of Services and the Right of Establishment within Member States of the CSME. Underscoring the functioning of the CSME and improving of the standard of living of the peoples of the Community is the vital role of statistical information in guiding and monitoring the progress of the integration movement. Given that the CSME is also about the free movement of goods, the analysis of the performance of intra-regional trade continues to be a critical element on which statistics are to be collected and disseminated.

Compilation of Trade Statistics at the Secretariat and data quality –then and now

The task involved in the compilation and dissemination of the first Regional trade digest which was published in 1976, must have been an enormous one given that it was in an era where the use of Information Technology (IT) was mainly absent. Adding machines and calculators were the main means used by the Secretariat to collate the information received. What is known about the approach to the compilation and the production of that report is that the sources of data were the trade publications as well as unpublished data provided by the National Statistical Offices (NSOs) of Member States. Some countries did not provide summary tables and these had to be meticulously compiled from detailed listings from the trade reports and computer printouts. This compilation was particularly required for collating the data on total/intraCARICOM trade by SITC Section. It was also the case that the totals that were manually collated by SITC Section within a country differed from the summary totals where these were available. Efforts


had to be made to reconcile the discrepancies where possible or if not, to simply use the totals obtained from collating the detailed data. The approach was to compile summary matrices by SITC Section, by Trading Partners for each country and year and then to aggregate to show the picture for CARICOM. This would have to be done for Total trade as well as for Intra-CARICOM trade. Tables called Network (matrix) showing for intra-CARICOM trade the relationship of importing/exporting countries of CARICOM were also prepared. With the advent of IT and its use in Member States and at the Secretariat, the system of compiling the data would have made use of the new technologies. However, the real impact of the use of IT at the Secretariat in compiling a regional trade information system was not felt until the early 90’s. In 1994/95, the Secretariat obtained the services of a Consultant to prepare a data processing system based on dBase IV for the processing of trade data received from Member States. This change enabled the submission of data on electronic media based on the processing at the country level using in-house software packages or Eurotrace software. Paper submissions were still made by countries in some instances. A computerized system of processing of the submitted trade data at the Secretariat was therefore established. Gradually, the electronic submission of data became more organized and a format was established for the submission of the data. However, it was the case that some countries did not adhere to the format and time had to be spent to correct this issue prior to the electronic processing of the data. Validation of the data was still necessary with queries being referred to Member States. In the main, countries initially used in-house packages on mainframe computers to process and compile their trade data, and it still entailed the printing of computer printouts of tabulations that had to be verified. The system of data capture by the Customs Department also


changed with the introduction of the Automated System of Customs Data (ASYCUDA) around the early 1990’s. At the same time countries of the OECS sub-region had commenced the installation of the Eurotrace software for processing the data received from the Customs Department. For example, in the case of Dominica, Eurotrace was installed in March 1992, with ASYCUDA being installed one month earlier in the Customs Department of that Member State. There were several problems with the data that became available from the ASYCUDA System including: the absence of data from out-stations (outside of the main Customs office) and which therefore had to be entered; incorrect dates for these late/outside entries; inconsistencies in the identification of numbers entered in the automated system and that used to process the declaration; values entered for some elements were erroneous e.g. net weight. Recommendations were made on data integrity relative to the data entered in the ASYCUDA system as well as for training in specific software to allow for the treatment of queries by the data processing officer in order to improve the data quality. In the early 1990s, therefore, countries commenced submitting trade data on electronic devices. In fact, in 1993, while many countries submitted reports or computer printouts with tabulations, Barbados and St Kitts and Nevis submitted their trade data on diskettes. The difficulties identified in the production of the first digest on trade statistics included differences in definitions, coverage, and in the reliability and availability of up-to-date information. There were also differences due to the version of the international classification (Standard Industrial Trade ClassificationSITC) used across countries. Additionally, there were missing data for some countries for specific years which would have resulted in totals across time that would not have been comparable, and there were differences in the system of trade used - General versus the Special system - with implications for coverage of trade data captured as imports/exports.

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Some (if not all) of the above challenges still affect the compilation of Regional trade statistics today and impact data quality including timeliness. In the mid-90s, some of the challenges experienced by countries included the following: • Additional work required by NSOs resulting from the CET (based on the Harmonised Commodity and Description Coding System –HS); • The implementation of the CET at varying points in times during the year rather than at the beginning of the year; • Inadequate computer hardware and software to process the data; • Lack of adequate staff capability in most of the smaller statistical offices to cope with the additional work load; • Delays in adapting to the computerized system for processing the data collected based on revisions of the HS-based CET; • Effect of teething problems relative to the implementation of the ASYCUDA and Eurotrace systems. Challenges with the production of trade data by Member States continued throughout the years. At the end of 1996, only two countries, Barbados and Belize, had full-year data for the previous year, 1995. However, there was marked improvement in the availability of trade data at the end of 1997, with nine countries with full year data for 1996 by October 1997. Support to the development of trade data was provided by the CARICOM Secretariat to four countries, three of which were included in the nine countries that were able to provide the 1996 trade data. Compared to today, in 2011, six countries submitted data at the stated timeline (April) and by July 12, 13 countries submitted their trade data. The country which did not submit was experiencing problems due to issues pertaining to the updating of the system of trade data capture by the Customs Department leading to errors in the data collected. The novelty of the New Eurotrace


software implied that further upgrading was required to eliminate some of the “bugs” it contained. In addition, changes in the system of data capture by the Customs Department, the main source of data at the national level, may have resulted in some problems relative to the smooth transfer of data into the New Eurotrace system. Countries are supported by the Secretariat or through South-South co-operation in resolving these challenges. However, further support through technical assistance and training is planned under the Tenth European Development Fund (EDF) provided by the European Union. While some countries in the spirit of competition strive to be the first to submit their trade data to the Secretariat, there are still challenges in the timeliness of the data submitted partly due to processing issues with the New Eurotrace or compatibility issues of the trade systems - Customs and the NSOs consequent to the upgrading of the former as explained above. A key challenge in the past has been the introduction of the Common External Tariff (CET) in the 90’s, relative to the slow pace of implementation which implied that over the period of implementation, the data would not have been comparable across countries, and, of course, the impact on the intended results of Regional integration. Additionally, the international Classification of the World Customs Organisation, the Harmonised Commodity and Description Coding System (HS) - which is used by the Customs Department for trade data capture - is subject to revisions over time which poses unique challenges relative to the timing of implementation, even now. For analytical purposes, the SITC is often the choice used or requested by users. Changes in the HS over time require that the more detailed coding of commodities to enable application of the CET must also be changed to conform to the new international standard.


There are several issues relative to the changes in the HS which affect the trade data. The timing of implementation of the HS-based CET at the national level is a major issue. If this is implemented at a time other than the beginning of the year, it implies that the trade data would be classified using different versions of the HS with implications for the comparability of the data within a year and across counties. Harmonisation of statistics therefore becomes a nightmare. With the change of the HS, there is also need to prepare, at the Regional level, an HS-SITC correlation table to reflect the CET level of details and to enable analysis by SITC Section. There are cases in which the changes in the HS results in structural breaks in the data. Additionally, the upgrading of the SITC also can create challenges with the HS-SITC correlation, in terms of the past correspondence which affect data comparability. Efforts have been made at the Regional level to create a correlation of the HS-based CET to the SITC grounded in the latest existing HS, but it is not a perfect solution to these classification issues such as structural breaks in the data due to classification changes which may not have a significant impact on the Section level data and may more affect certain items at the very detailed level (again which may not be significant). One of the main challenges with the quality of the data overtime has been the data on quantity of trade and this is thought to be mainly due to the preoccupation of the Customs Department with the collection of revenue. Even though this is the case, the quantity figures should have direct bearing on the revenue to be collected. There are obvious problems when comparisons of the unit value of identical items are made. This situation does not rule out the computation of Trade Indices using Unit Value since outlier analysis can be incorporated. Recent Developments in Trade Data Production and Dissemination At the CARICOM Secretariat, using funds from its Research and Advisory budget, the upgrading of the Trade Information System from a DOS-based system based


on dBase IV to a system based on SQL Server was undertaken in 2002. This also involved the use of Microsoft Access at the frontend. This was a first phase of a planned programme to modernize the trade information system at the Secretariat. Post this upgrading, funding received from the IDB and the EU has enabled improvements in the submission of data from Member States to the Secretariat, as well as improvement in the processing of the data to produce the regional trade information system (Tradsys) and to enable its access via the Internet. The IDB provided funds for two aspects of development of the trade systems in Member States and at the Secretariat. The first related to the review and enhancing of the trade information system to collect, process and manage the regional data and to produce a draft data submission protocol to be used by Member States as a common format for the submission of data. In the course of making these recommendations, an assessment of the systems in use in Member States in compiling trade data and submitting to the Secretariat was undertaken. The second component of the project related to the design of an online trade information system which is now enabling users’ access to key data on trade through the internet. Two projects were executed with funding support by the EU. The first project related to the installation of the New Eurotrace for Windows for the processing of trade data by those countries that were using the DOS version. The project involved in-country technical assistance to upgrade the trade information system in Member States. It specifically targeted the implementation of the New Eurotrace Software Package, which included the development of a functioning domain, loading of historical data, provision of the relevant training, and the implementation of the Data Submission Protocol for the transmission of data to the Secretariat. The second activity served to reinforce the work undertaken by enabling full implementation of the New Eurotrace for Windows. It also provided training in the


full suite of the New Eurotrace software including the processing, the dissemination (Comext), production of indices (Trade Indices module) and the Mirror Statistics Module for data reconciliation between countries. With the upgrading of Eurotrace to a Windows version, countries migrated from the DOS to Windows version with the support of the EU project under the Ninth EDF executed by the Secretariat. Data editing rules were developed and installed in countries to improve data quality and to minimise manual checks. Nowadays, many countries disseminate trade data through their websites and submit their trade data electronically via official email communication and otherwise. In the case of the online Regional trade information system (Tradsys_online) on the website, users can access data at a specific level of aggregation from this facility. It is intended to further enhance the online Tradsys with funding available from the EU to enable better access to the trade data through the internet. Countries continue to perform appreciably relative to the adherence to the data submission protocol and to the timeline for the submission of data to the Secretariat. However in some aspects, the more things change, the more they remain the same. The challenges that affect the availability and timeliness of trade data in the early days of the development of a trade monitoring system still occur today, specifically that of more effective coordination between Customs and the NSOs in some countries. Effective coordination at the national level can offset challenges due to changes in the system of the former that may not take on board the needs of the NSOs. Undoubtedly, there are marked improvements in the Regional trade monitoring system. The importance of the data then and now is still primarily to monitor the impact and achievements of the economic integration agenda, but also for use by the private sector and public sector for decision-making on policy formulation and on manufacturing initiatives.


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Invariably, there have been developments brought on by improvements in IT hardware and software. Data submission can be said to have improved with occasional glitches posed by the challenges. Over the years, other reports were produced, including a second digest with data for the period 1970 to 1980; Trade in Agricultural Commodities; Quick Reference to Summary Data; Intraregional trade (Volumes 1 & 2). These are listed below. Data are now distributed on websites and are submitted through the internet and online access to key trade data is available on our website: There has been appreciable performance in intra-regional trade and the trends and profile in trade statistics of the past still exist today to a large extent.

Community Member States

List of Different Trade Reports A digest of Trade Statistics of Caribbean

CARICOM's Intra-Regional Trade Volume 1 , 1990 - 2000

A digest of Trade Statistics of 1960 – 1976

CARICOM's Intra-Regional TradeVolume II- Top 10 Commodities, 1998 2001

A digest of Trade Statistics 1970 -1980

CARICOM’s Trade – A Quick Reference to Some Summary Data, 1996 – 2001

CARICOM’s Trade – A Quick Reference to Some Summary Data, 1985 – 1992

CARICOM’s Trade – A Quick Reference to Some Summary Data, 2001 – 2006

CARICOM’s Trade – A Quick Reference to Some Summary Data, 1980 – 1996

CARICOM'S Trade in Selected Agricultural Commodities: 2000 - 2003

CARICOM'S Trade in Selected Agricultural Commodities: 1995 - 1996

CARICOM's Trade in Services: 1990-2000 CARICOM's Trade in Services: 2000-2005

CARICOM’s Trade Aggregate and Principal Domestic exports 1985 – 1990 CARICOM Statistics Digest 1970 - 1981




From COLGRAIN to TURKEYEN – Evolution of the Vast and Varied Responsibilities and Mandates of the CARICOM Secretariat

By Mr. Byron Blake

Former Assistant Secretary-General, Regional Trade and Economic Integration, CARICOM Secretariat


he Secretariat is the engine of any integration arrangement. The size, structure, financing and legal authority of the Secretariat have significance for the overall effectiveness of the integration movement. Ideally, these should relate in a planned manner to the objectives of the Agreement and expectations of the parties.

2. A distributed secretariat with centres in different capitals with responsibility for specific areas of cooperation. The East African Community and the Southern African Development Committee (SADC) are examples of this form of arrangement. The last named has evolved and now has most of the functions centralised in Gaborone.

There are different models of secretariat arrangements. Two bear recognition here. These are:

3. As stated earlier, CARICOM followed the centralised model. The Secretariat began as a small arrangement to serve the limited 11- member Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA). It has evolved with the accretion of functions as the integration process widened and deepened into the complex Caribbean Community (CARICOM) including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

1. The central secretariat, located in a Headquarters’ country or city with responsibility for administration and policy and/or administration, policy and implementation. The European Union (Brussels), The Andean Community or Andean Pact (Lima); the Central American Common Market (Guatemala) and The Caribbean Community (Georgetown) adopted this centralised model.

The Commonwealth Caribbean Regional Secretariat (CCRS) was provided for in the Treaty Establishing the Caribbean Free


Trade Association (CARIFTA) but it was left to the Council of Ministers to define its scope and development. It began as a small body to pave the way for a movement of limited scope although there was a sense that the objectives and membership could expand in yet unspecified ways. While not clearly separated, we can identify for purposes of this article, four points or eras of the burgeoning of the mandates of the Secretariat. These are: 1. The immediate pre-CARICOM period 1970-1972; 2. CARICOM to Grand Anse (1989) 3. Grand Anse to the CSME 1989/05, and 4. Post-CSME


THE PRE-CARICOM PERIOD 1968-69 The first part of the period saw the small cosy Secretariat under administrator Mr. Noel Venner and Secretary General Fred Cozier, at Colgrain House. The main functions then were to: (1) put in place the administrative and host-country arrangements; (2) put in place the arrangements, in particular the Customs arrangements, for the operation of the Caribbean Free Trade Area; and (3) coordinate the work of some of common services areas, such as education which came down from the Federal experiment. The second part of the pre-CARICOM period was ushered in with the arrival of the development economist and former economic adviser to Prime Minister Eric Williams of Trinidad and Tobago, William Gilbert Demas in January 1970. Demas was a regionalist and expansionist with a keen sense of political timing. The movement of the Secretariat from Colgrain to the Bank of Guyana Building – third floor – in the centre of Georgetown gave the space and view to fuel his imagination. A major expansion of functions and staff began in the second half of 1970. Key areas of expansion included: • Economic policy, research and statistics. • Agriculture to encompass not only the marketing of the agricultural products covered by the Agricultural Marketing Protocol (AMP) but policies for agricultural planning and development. Technical capacity was required to advise on the rationalisation of agricultural production in the Region and on marketing issues relating to the major agricultural export commodities of sugar and bananas. • Transportation – maritime and air. Important issues which had to be addressed included:

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(i) The generation of statistics and other information to support policy development in both maritime and air transportation; (ii) Support for negotiations with international airlines and shipping companies and their cartel-type organisations such as the West Indies TransAtlantic Steamship Service (WITASS) on levels for fares and rates as well as services; (iii) Developing information on, and providing technical support to regional bodies such as the Federal Shipping Service which evolved into The West Indies Shipping Corporation (WISCO), The British West Indies Schooner Owners Association and later, Leeward Island Air Transport (LIAT).

• Labour. The trade unions had been in the forefront of the movement for Caribbean integration. The Secretariat had to acquire and provide the capacity to work with and draw on the experience and expertise of that sector; and • With increasing activity, including the convening and servicing of regional meetings, the administrative, including finance, conference management and servicing capacity of the Secretariat had to be enhanced.

(iv) Interfacing with international transportation policy and regulatory bodies such as The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organisation (IMCO) (now the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)); and

The above are illustration of the accretion of functions even ahead of clear legal authority for expansion. The initial success of the Free Trade arrangements, growing enthusiasm in the Region among the young and idealistic staff and signs of tension from the polarisation of the benefits from free trade led the Secretariat to publish in the first half of 1972, a book, `From CARIFTA to Caribbean Community’. This provided the intellectual basis for the decision by the Seventh Conference of the Heads of Government of the Commonwealth Caribbean in November 1972 to advance the integration process.

(v) The Regional Shipping Council (RSC).


A two-person transportation unit was established with technical support from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Trinidad and Tobago to deal with the range of transportation issues;

The Treaty of Chaguaramas specified the objectives, in an open-ended manner for the next phase of integration and accordingly, the mandates of the Secretariat. Many of these were foreshadowed in the developments between 1970 and 1972. The key objectives were:

• Health. This has been a major issue for the Caribbean. Critical areas included Public Health, Health Policy; Control of Tropical Diseases; Management of Public Sector Health Services; Drug testing, formulation and procurement: training of health sector personnel, including nurses. Facilitated by a Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO)-provided expert who had served as Chief Medical Officer in several Caribbean countries, a multimillion dollar programme was developed in all the key areas of need. The Secretariat was also required to service regular meetings of ministers of Health, of nurses and of other expert groups.


1. The economic integration of the Member States by the establishment of A Common Market Regime. (This is the broad arrangement set out in the Annex to the Treaty); 2. The coordination of the foreign policies of Member States; and 3. Functional cooperation, including (a) The efficient operation of certain common services and activities; (b) The promotion of greater understanding among the people and the advancement of their social, cultural and techno-


logical development; and (c) Cooperation in activities in a number of fields. Areas were identified in the schedule to the Treaty but it was made clear that these were not exhaustive as the Conference of Heads of Government could add to them at any time. In seeking a full appreciation of the work and mandate implications of the Treaty of Chaguaramas we must go, however, beyond the objectives and also consider: • The intent in the preambular paragraphs which are extremely broad, in particular the third of the four paragraphs. This speaks, inter alia, to: (i) The optimum utilisation of human and natural resources, (ii) Accelerated, coordinated and sustained development, (iii) Efficient operation of common services and functional cooperation in social, cultural, educational and technological fields; and (iv) Creation of a common front in relation to the external world. Some of these are highlighted in the objectives but the intent in the preamble is much more fundamental and long-term. It is also important to appreciate that the two Organs – the Conference and The Common Market Council – and the seven ministerial Institutions, all had the power to issue instructions to the Secretariat. The number of institutions, itself, was not exhaustive as there was provision for Conference to add. The initial seven were for Health, Education, Labour, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Agriculture and Mines. The institutions had the authority to establish subsidiary committees, agencies and other bodies they considered necessary for the efficient performance of their function. The organs and institutions, with the exception of the Common Market Council


were expected to meet at least once per year. The Common Market Council was expected to meet quarterly. These meetings could be in any Member State. Certain unforeseen regional and moreso global developments in the five years immediately after the establishment of Community had significant implications for the nature and intensity of the work of the Community ad hence the Secretariat. Important, but not in priority order were: 1. The need to establish a new relationship with the United Kingdom as a new member of the European Economic Community (EEC), and hence with the EEC and with the Commonwealth. This not only took the Region into uncharted waters, but into waters in which it had to take a leadership role, establish alliances, create required structures and write the rules. Political leaders such as Shridath 'Sonny" Ramphal of Guyana and P.J. Patterson of Jamaica and national officials such as Brazanne Babb of Barbados, who was stationed in Brussels for a period, played leading roles. The Secretariat was called upon, however, not only to coordinate technical studies and other preparations but often had to accompany delegations across Europe, Africa, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific to advise, coordinate and ensure that there were records. The Deputy Secretary General, Mr Joseph Tyndall, was soon assigned full-time and stationed in Brussels while the Chief of Economic Policy and Research, later the Director for the Trade and Integration Division (DTID), Mr Edwin Carrington, was almost continuously with the regional team on its varied missions. Secretary-General William Demas and later Alister McIntyre were ubiquitous. Fortunately, Demas hated flying but loved the telephone, so the Secretariat in Georgetown could have his physical presence. Many other areas of the Secretariat, including Trade Policy and Customs Administration, Agriculture, in particular staff dealing with commodities, Economic Research and Statistics, Legal Services, Conference Services, and Transportation were significantly involved. The Lome 1


Convention yoking the ACP on the one hand and the EEC on the other was the result of the negotiations. It was a path-breaking agreement between developed and developing countries and went into implementation at the beginning of 1975. This could not have come too soon. The CARICOM Secretariat sacrificed its Director of Trade and Integration Division to become the Deputy Secretary-General of the new ACP Secretariat but cut back on overall engagement for the next two-and-a half years until the negotiating cycle for the second five-year convention commenced. 2. The international economic crisis, which began to unfold with the first oil shock at about the same time as the conclusion of the negotiation of the Treaty of Chaguaramas, threw the Region into crisis in its production and in its external trade and economic relations. Several Member States came under pressure. The Secretariat was called upon to lead or coordinate work, inter alia to: • Monitor developments in areas such as commodity - including petroleum - prices and availability and assess the impact on the Region and on individual Member States; • Develop strategies and mechanisms to minimise potential adverse impacts on the fledgling integration process and individual Member States. Areas of work completed or advanced by the time of the Special Heads of Government Conference in April 1976 included: (1) The creation of a CARICOM Multilateral Clearing and Payments Facility (CMCF) to minimise the foreign exchange needed to facilitate intra-regional trade; (2) The creation of a multilateral balance of payments support fund (3) The promulgation of a Regional Food Plan and the establishment of a Regional Food Corporation to spearhead implementation of the Regional Food Plan. (4) The re-organisation of regional


agriculture research and the establishment of the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI); (5) The convening of one meeting of the Heads of the National Planning Agencies as provided for in Article 45 (2) of the Treaty on Coordination of National Development Planning. The coincidence of the bulging of mandates from the integration initiatives arising from the new Treaty of Chaguaramas and the imperative to respond to the shocks and potential dislocation from the international crisis placed major demands on the relatively small Secretariat. The demands were met through a combination of initiatives including the expansion of the core staff, the use of technical working groups drawing on the expertise of national administrations and regional institutions including the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB); and the use of short- and medium-term experts financed under technical assistance arrangements. At the same time, from the integration perspective, a number of factors slowed the positive energy of the movement between 1976 and 1979. The organisation lost staff. Relationships among the Member States deteriorated. The capacity of several States to bear their share of the cost of supporting integration weakened, The Conference failed to meet between April 1976 and November 1982 to give direction and impetus to the process and provide mandates for the Secretariat. And, to crown the situation, there was no Secretary-General in office for two years. These might have reduced the pressure on the Secretariat from increased mandates but increased the pressure to maintain the spirit in an increasingly negative environment. Positive effort resumed with the appointment of Barbadian, Dr Kurleigh King, a Director in the CDB and former Head of the Industrial Development Corporation of Barbados, as Secretary-General in October, 1978. Secretary-General King was a systems and organisational management specialist. He set about

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reorganising the structures and rebuilding the staff.

Among other things, CARICOM leaders agreed to:

His ascendancy coincided with another period of internal and external pressures. It was marked by the second oil shock and global recession; the re-emergence of internal trade imbalances between the Region’s oil exporting member and the other Member States; the emergence of the doctrines of structural adjustment, the Washington consensus; and pressures on social development activities which were significant in sustaining the integration process in the preceding period.

• A policy of ideological plurality; • A major and comprehensive programme to address all aspects of the energy challenge. They were facilitated by a five-year, US$5M grant from United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The CCS and the CDB were able to set up energy units to address the four major areas of the challenge in a coordinated manner;

Secretary-General William Demas (with sunglasses) engages the media. He is flanked by Edwin Carrington, who later became the longest serving Secretary-General, and Mr. Byron Blake, former Assistant Secretary-General, Trade and Economic Integration.

There was also the Grenadian revolution of March, 1979, when the Peoples Revolutionary Government (PRG) under Maurice Bishop seized power in Grenada. This opened a rift between the socialist leaning and the West-bending members of the Movement. All of these developments placed pressure on the technical and leadership capacity of the Secretariat. With the experience of the stagnation of the integration process fresh in mind, the Region seemed more determined to tackle the challenges from a Regional perspective. They were given a window by the ascendancy of the more liberal and socially conscious Jimmy Carter to the Presidency of the United States in January, 1979.


• A major health sector management and training programme. This also benefited from a USAID grant and the Secretariat was able to put in place the capacity to mange it; and • Develop a Caribbean response to structural adjustment based on Caribbean expertise and experience. The 1979 to 1989 period represented, on balance, for the integration process and the Secretariat, an era of rebuilding and consolidation. It required persistence and self-effacing diplomacy which fitted the character of Secretaries-General King and Roderick Rainford.


GRAND ANSE TO CSME The Heads of Government Conference in Grenada in July, 1979, had a major declaration and three decisions which had significant implications for the integration process and the work of the Secretariat. These were: • The `Grand Anse Declaration and Work Programme for the Advancement of the Integration Movement’; • The establishment of a Commission (The West Indian Commission) under the Chairmanship of Sir Shridath Ramphal to promote the purposes of the Treaty of Chaguaramas and to report before the conference in 1992; • The establishment of a committee under the coordination of Jamaica to work towards the establishment of a CARICOM stock exchange and also for Jamaica to coordinate work on a CARICOM Investment Fund; and • The acceptance of the decisions of Ministerial Conference on the Environment embodied in the Port-of-Spain Accord on the management and conservation of the environment and for meetings of Ministers responsible for the environment to be convened as necessary.


There were other decisions made at that 10th Conference with strong implications for the work of the Secretariat such as the support for work on Small Island Development States (SIDS), the establishment of an `Assembly of Caribbean Parliamentarians’ and the need to create a mechanism for disaster management and response. The work of the CSME was given very high priority by the Secretariat and, for several years, was the issue around which the work programme of the Organisation revolved. The Heads of Government also took several decisions at their Annual Conferences in 1990, 1991 and 1992 and at their Special Meeting on 28-31 October, 1992, in Trinidad and Tobago, and where they considered the Report of the West Indian Commission which further magnified the workload of the Secretariat. These decisions included agreements to: • Establish a Bureau of the Conference and a Community Council which had to be serviced by the Secretariat; • Create a Monetary Union; • Promote the establishment of an Association of Caribbean States;

• Charge particular Heads of Government with responsibility for specific areas of the integration and cooperation processes such as external economic negotiations, the CSME, Health, Agriculture and Cricket. Prime Ministerial sub-committees, which had to be serviced, were soon established in many cases: and • Develop a Charter of Civil Society. The Conference later admitted the Dutch-speaking Suriname and Frenchspeaking Haiti to the grouping. The decision stipulated that the official language would remain English but there was a new challenge for the Secretariat and the integration movement to communicate with and integrate the populations of these countries into the process. The Conference sought to strengthen the Secretariat by: (a) Making the Secretary-General a member of the Bureau and (b) Purporting to give the SecretaryGeneral executive authority. In reality, the first created more work and the second was a mirage as the officials, in seeking to give effect to the decision in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, qualified five of the seven functions to be performed by the Secretary-General by the words “as mandated”, “as required” or “with the consent of”. Better and more autonomous financing and more staff would have been much greater enablers. In addition to the decisions of the Conference, certain hemispheric and global realities in the first half of the 1990s also called for responses and actions by the Secretariat. These included: • The decision of the First Summit of the Americas in 1994 to: (a) work to establish “A Free Trade Area of the Americas” and

A meeting in session in the CARICOM Secretariat Conference Room, Turkeyen

(b) indulge in other areas of priority interest such as finance and sustainable development. The last named was followed by a hemispheric Summit in Bolivia in 1996.



• The Agreement in 1994 to establish the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and to bring trade in services under international rules through the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS); • The concerted attack by the United States and the Latin American banana exporting countries on the European Banana Regime; and • The convening by the UN of a series of global conferences on key social sectors and issues such as Population, Women in Development, Housing and Settlement. All the above had tremendous implications for the workload of the Secretariat. It responded to the increased mandates through a variety of strategies, including: • increasing the establishment where budget permitted, re-organising and re-assignment of staff, and the expansion of functions of existing staff members; • projectising of activities, mobilising funding and in cases, locating project units outside of Guyana while maintaining control in Georgetown. Examples of such project arrangements include Caribbean Export (formerly the Caribbean Export Development Project), The CSME Unit, and the Regional Negotiating Machinery (now the Office of Trade Negotiations). All of these named projects were located in Barbados for ease of communication and management: • The use of ad hoc technical working groups. The majority of the strategies deployed by the Secretariat to respond to the increasing mandates required the accommodation of additional persons at Headquarters even for short periods. This placed pressure on physical accommodation. IMPLICATIONS FOR THE PHYSICAL LOCATION OF THE SECRETARIAT The expanding workload had implications for the physical location of the Secretariat. The Treaty provides that the headquarters of the Community “shall be in Georgetown, Guyana.”

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From the humble beginnings in Colgrain House in 1968 to the third floor of the Bank of Guyana Building, which became its postal address until 2005, accommodation was a constant struggle and absorbed significant management capacity. During those intervening years, the Secretariat occupied, not all at the same time, no fewer than 13 locations across Georgetown. These included: • Bank of Guyana Building (the Third and Fourth Floors) which housed the Central Administration and key services such as Finance, Human Resource Management (personnel function), Legal Services, Conference Services and Documentation. • American Life Insurance Building, Hinck Street (which housed the Functional Cooperation Division for a long period). • Hinck Street (where Medicare Pharmacy is now located) which housed the Technical Assistance Section. • Avenue of the Republic and Brickdam (which housed a number of project type activities) • The former Colonial Life Insurance Building, Avenue of the Republic and North Road. • The Juman Yassin Building, North Road (opposite St. George's Church). • The old United States Information Service (USIS) Building on North Road which housed the Statistics Unit • The Eddy Grant Building, High Street Kingston which housed the Directorate of Trade and Economic Integration and the Statistical Unit when the former moved from the Juman Yassin Building. • High Street, Kingston (two doors from Eddy Grant Building) which housed the CARICOM Legislative Drafting Facility • High Street, Kingston (one block away from Eddy Grant Building) which housed the Division of Foreign and Community Relations and Technical Assistance Section.


• The Fairlie House Building in Kingston which housed the Directorate of Human and Social Development for much of the later period • CARIFORUM, Bel Air Springs • CARIFORUM, Lamaha Gardens The dispersion of the Secretariat made for less than optimum operation. There were significant inefficiencies especially in the duplication of services, transit time for staff and documents and in arrangements for consultation and coordination. The government of Guyana was responsible for and committed to providing a headquarters building. A design emerged from a Region-wide competition in the late 1970s/80s. Resources proved a challenge. The idea was revised several times and several sites proposed. But it was not until early in the new millennium that a decision was taken to construct the headquarters at Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown. The idea was to construct a building which would house the entire Secretariat, including a conference centre. The new headquarters building at Turkeyen has come close. There is an annex in close proximity and access to a conference facility. Opened in 2005 when most of the pioneers of the 1970s had left, it might just be that the wandering spirit has come to rest in the new: • CARICOM Secretariat Headquarters, Turkeyen • CARICOM Secretariat Annex, Turkeyen Rest spirit but remember, even after 40 years there is much more work to be done to land this Caribbean integration dream. Many might say the vision needs to be re-kindled.

Caribbean Community (CARICOM ) Secretariat P.O. Box 10827 Turkeyen Greater Georgetown Guyana Tel: (592) 222-0001-75 Fax: (592) 222-0171 Email:

Caricom view 23rd March 2014  
Caricom view 23rd March 2014  

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