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How we work

CARICOM works in 20 countries – fifteen Member States and Five Associate Members – to provide products and services to positively impact the lives of its more than 16 million people.
Our vision of  “a Caribbean Community that is integrated , inclusive and resilient; driven by knowledge, excellence, innovation and productivity; a Community where every citizen is secure and has the opportunity to realise his or her potential with guaranteed human rights and social justice; and  contributes to, and shares in, its economic and cultural prosperity; a Community which is a unified and competitive force in the global arena”, rests on the  four pillars of economic integration; functional cooperation; foreign policy coordination; and security.
Guided by our Core Values, we  work to achieve this  vision and  our objectives through our governments and a  decision making structure of:  Organs, Bodies and Institutions. Our  work is further facilitated and expanded through partnerships with Civil Society, international development partners (IDPs) and international financial institutions (IFIs) and Third States.

The CARICOM System

Conference of Heads of Government

The Principal Organs of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) are: The Conference of Heads of Government (commonly called “The Conference”) and The Community Council of Ministers, (commonly called “The Council”).

The Conference of Heads of Government which consists of the Heads of Government of the Member States is the supreme Organ of the Caribbean Community and determines and provides its policy direction. In addition to this function, it is the final authority for the conclusion of Treaties on behalf of the Community and for entering into relationships between the Community and International Organisations and States. The Conference is also responsible for making the financial arrangements to meet the expenses of the Community, but has delegated this function to the Community Council. Decisions of the Conference are generally taken unanimously.

Heads of Government of Member States


Heads of Government of Associate Members

Bureau of the Conference of Heads of Government

The Bureau, established by the Conference of Heads of Government, is an aspect of the supreme decision-making  organ of the Community (the Conference). It comprises the chairperson of the Conference, the outgoing and incoming chairpersons of the Conference and the Secretary-General,  acting in the capacity  of chief executive officer.

This body’s principal responsibilities are:

·     Initiating proposals for development and approval by ministerial councils;

·     Updating the consensus of Member States on issues determined by the Conference. This means undertaking the necessary preparatory consultations among Member States and other stakeholders to assist Heads of Government in arriving at decisions;

·     Facilitating implementation of Community decisions both at the regional and local levels in an expeditious and informed manner; and

·     Providing guidance to the Secretariat on policy issues.

Community Council of Ministers

The Community Council of Ministers, one of two Principal Organs of the Community, is responsible for the development of strategic planning and coordination in the areas of economic integration, functional cooperation and external relations in accordance with the policy directions established by the Conference. The Community Council, among its other four functions, also serves as a preparatory body for the Meetings of the Conference and approves the budget of the CARICOM Secretariat.
Article 13 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (Link to Treaty) identifies the specific responsibilities of the   Community Council, which consists of Ministers responsible for Community Affairs and any other Minister designated by the Member State in their absolute discretion, as:

  • approve the programmes of the Community on the basis, inter alia, of proposals emanating from other Community Organs;

 

  • subject to paragraph 5 of Article 20 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, amend proposals developed by the Ministerial Councils or request them to develop proposals for the achievement of Community objectives, and have responsibility for promoting and monitoring the implementation of Community decisions in the Member States.
  • subject to paragraph 4 of Article 12of the Treaty, examine and approve the Community budget;

 

  • mobilise and allocate resources for the implementation of Community plans and programmes;
  • establish, subject to the provisions of Article 26, a system of regional and national consultations in order to enhance the decision-making and implementation processes of the Community;

 

  • promote, enhance, monitor and evaluate regional and national implementation processes and, to this end, establish a regional technical assistance service;
  • function as a preparatory body for meetings of the Conference;

 

  • ensure the efficient operation and orderly development of the CSME, particularly by seeking to resolve problems arising out of its functioning, taking into account the work and decisions of COTED;
  • receive and consider allegations of breaches of obligations arising under this Treaty, including disputes between Organs of the Community

 

  • on the instructions of the Conference, issue directives to Organs and to the Secretariat aimed at ensuring the timely implementation of Community decisions;
  • undertake any additional functions remitted to it by the Conference, arising under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.

 

The Community Council, like the Conference of Heads of
Government, is assisted by four `organs’, three `bodies’, and by the CARICOM Secretariat - `the Principal Administrative Organ”.

The organs are:

  • The Council for Finance and Planning (COFAP) (Link to write up on COFAP)
  • The Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) (Link to write up on COFCOR)

 

  • The Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) (Link to write up on COHSOD)

The bodies are:

  • The Legal Affairs Committee (Link to write up on Legal Affairs Committee – to be submitted)
  • The Budget Committee: (Link to write up on Budget Committee – to be submitted)
  • The Committee of Central Bank Governors; (Link to write up on Central Bank Governors – to be submitted)

 

The principal administrative organ:

  • The CARICOM Secretariat: (Link to write up on CARICOM  Secretariat – to be submitted)

 

 

Organs

The Council for National Security and Law Enforcement (CONSLE)

The Council for National Security and Law Enforcement (CONSLE) is responsible for the coordination of the multi-dimensional nature of security, to ensure a safe and stable Community.

Article 17a of the Revised Treaty states that the Council, which comprises Ministers designated by the Members of the Community, shall:

  1. Promote the development and implementation of a common regional security strategy to complement the national security strategies of Members of the Community; and
  2. Establish and promote measures designed to –
  • Combat and eliminate threats to national and regional security;
  • Ensure the expeditious and efficient mobilisation and deployment of regional resources in order to manage and defuse national and regional security crises and to combat serious crimes in consultation with the relevant Member States;
  • Preserve the territorial integrity of the Member States; and
  • Gather, share and manage intelligence

3. Establish measures to increase cooperation in mutual legal assistance in criminal matters among Members of the Community;

4. Promote, in conjunction with Ministers responsible for Legal Affairs or Attorneys-General  of Members of the Community or both, national justice systems;

5. Give policy and overall directions concerning the activities and programmes of the Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS)

6. Promote functional cooperation with the Organs of the Community referred to in Article 10 paragraph 2, in the pursuit of the Community’s goal for the prevention and elimination of crime and violence and the promotion of a safe and secure environment within the Members of the Community;

7. Establish strategic partnerships with third States and regional and international agencies in the furtherance of regional security and the Community as a zone of peace with stable democracies; and

8. Undertake any additional functions assigned to it by the Conference arising under this Treaty.

9. The CONSLE was incorporated into the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas by way of a Protocol which was opened for signature in March 2009. 

The Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED)

 

The Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) promotes trade and economic development of the  Caribbean Community (CARICOM)  and oversees the operations of the Single Market and Economy.

Specifically,  Article 15 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas  (Link to Treaty), states  the  Council which  consists of Ministers  designated by the Member States,  will:

  1. Promote the development and oversee the operation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy;
  2. evaluate, promote and establish measures to enhance production, quality control and marketing of industrial and agricultural commodities so as to ensure their international competitiveness; 
  3. establish and promote measures to accelerate structural diversification of industrial and agricultural production on a sustainable and regionally-integrated basis;
  4. determine and promote measures for the accelerated development and marketing of services;
  5. promote and develop policies and programmes to facilitate the transportation of people and goods; 
  6. promote measures for the development of energy and natural resources on a sustainable basis; 
  7. establish and promote measures for the accelerated development of science and technology; 
  8. promote and develop policies for the protection of and preservation of the environment and for sustainable development;
  9. promote and develop, in collaboration with the Council for Foreign and Community Relations, co-ordinated policies for the enhancement of external economic and trade relations of the Community, and
  10.  undertake any additional functions remitted to it by the Conference, arising under this Treaty.

 

Each Member State shall be entitled to designate alternates to represent it on the COTED.

The Council for Finance and Planning (COFAP)

The Council for Finance and Planning (COFAP) is responsible for economic policy coordination, financial and monetary integration of Member States.
Specifically, Article 14 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (Link to Treaty), states the Council which consists of Ministers designated by the Member states, will:

  1. establish and promote measures for the co-ordination and convergence of national macro-economic policies of the Member States and for the execution of a harmonised policy on foreign investment;
  2. promote and facilitate the adoption of measures for fiscal and monetary co-operation among the Member States, including the establishment of mechanisms for payment arrangements;
  3. recommend measures to achieve and maintain fiscal discipline by the Governments of the Member States;
  4. pending the establishment of a monetary union in the Community, recommend arrangements for the free convertibility of the currencies of the Member States on a reciprocal basis;
  5. promote the establishment and integration of capital markets in the Community, and
  6.  undertake any additional functions remitted to it by the Conference arising under this Treaty.
  7. Under the direction of COFAP, the Committee of Central Bank Governors  assists in the performance of the above functions.

 

The Council for Finance and Planning shall consist of Ministers designated by the Member States. Each Member State shall be entitled to designate alternates to represent it on COFAP.

Subject to the relevant provisions of Article 12 (Functions and Powers of the Conference) of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas establishing the Caribbean Community including , COFAP shall have primary responsibility for economic policy co-ordination and financial and monetary integration of Member States and, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, shall:

  1. establish and promote measures for the co-ordination and convergence of national macro-economic policies of the Member States and for the execution of a harmonised policy on foreign investment;
  2. promote and facilitate the adoption of measures for fiscal and monetary co-operation among the Member States, including the establishment of mechanisms for payment arrangements;
  3. recommend measures to achieve and maintain fiscal discipline by the Governments of the Member States;
  4. pending the establishment of a monetary union in the Community, recommend arrangements for the free convertibility of the currencies of the Member States on a reciprocal basis;
  5. promote the establishment and integration of capital markets in the Community, and
  6. undertake any additional functions remitted to it by the Conference arising under this Treaty.
  7. Under the direction of COFAP, the Committee of Central Bank Governors shall assist in the performance of the functions mentioned in paragraph 2 of this Article.

The Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD)

The Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) promotes human and social development.
Specifically, Article 17 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (Link to Treaty), states the Council which consists of Ministers designated by the Member States, will:

  1. Promote the improvement of health, including the development and organisation of efficient and affordable health services in the Community;
  2. bpromote the development of education through the efficient organisation of educational and training facilities in the Community, including elementary and advanced vocational training and technical facilities;
  3. promote and develop co-ordinated policies and programmes to improve the living and working conditions of workers and take appropriate measures to facilitate the organisation and development of harmonious labour and industrial relations in the Community;
  4. establish policies and programmes to promote the development of youth and women in the Community with a view to encouraging and enhancing their participation in social, cultural, political and economic activities;
  5. promote and establish programmes for the development of culture and sports in the Community;
  6. promote the development of special focus programmes supportive of the establishment and maintenance of a healthy human environment in the Community, and
  7. undertake any additional functions remitted to it by the Conference, arising under this Treaty.

Each Member State shall be entitled to designate alternates to represent it on the COHSOD.

The Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR)

The Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) determines relations between the Community and international organizations and third states and promotes the development of friendly and mutually beneficial relations among member states.

Specifically,  Article 16 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas  (Link to Treaty), states  the  Council  shall   consist of  Ministers responsible for the foreign affairs of Member States, who will:

  1. promote the development of friendly and mutually beneficial relations among Member States;
  2. establish measures to co-ordinate the foreign policies of the Member States of the Community, including proposals  for joint representation, and seek to ensure, as far as practicable, the adoption of Community positions on major hemispheric and international issues;
  3. coordinate the positions of the Member States in inter- governmental organizations in whose activities  such states participate;
  4. collaborate with COTED in promoting and developing co-ordinating  policies for the enhancement  of external economic and trade relations of the Community;
  5. coordinate, in close consultation with the Member  States, Community policy on international issues with the policies of States in the wider Caribbean Region in order to arrive at common positions in relation to Third States, groups of States and relevant inter-governmental organizations; and
  6. undertake any additional functions remitted to it by the Conference arising undet [the] Treaty
  7. Each Member State shall be entitiled to designate an alternate to represent it on COFCOR.

Only Member State possessing the necessary competence with respect to the matters under consideration from time to time may take part in the deliberations of COFCOR.

Bodies

Legal Affairs Committee (LAC) (comprising Attorneys- General and Ministers of Legal Affairs) advises the Organs and Bodies. This Committee replaced the Standing Committee responsible for legal affairs.

Budget Committee examines the draft work programme and budget of the Secretariat and makes recommendations to the Community Council.

Committee of Central Bank Governors provides recommendations to the COFAP on monetary and financial matters

CARICOM Secretariat

The CARICOM Secretariat (CCS) is the Principal Administrative Organ of the Caribbean Community and has a mandate to provide a wide range of services to promote regional integration in the Community. These services include research and development; co-ordination of the activities of donor agencies, international regional and national institutes; project development and management; dissemination of information; foreign and community relations; technical cooperation and servicing of meetings of the various Organs of the Community.

The Mission Statement of the Secretariat is: To contribute, in support of Member States, to the improvement of the quality of life of the People of the Community and the development of an innovative and productive society in partnership with institutions and groups working towards attaining a people-centred, sustainable and internationally competitive Community.
The Secretariat is divided into a number of Offices and Directorates:

Offices

  • Secretary-General
  • Deputy Secretary-General
  • General Counsel
  • Office of Trade Negotiations 
     

Directorates

  • Foreign and Community Relations
  • Human and Social Development
  • Trade and Economic Integration
  • Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States 
    (CARIFORUM)

Together these positions comprise the Executive Management of the Organisation and are responsible for the strategic management and direction of the Organisation and for working closely with the Councils and their Chairpersons to promote the implementation of decisions. 

Article 25 “Functions of the Secretariat”-Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas

Learn more about the CARICOM Secretariat here

Members

Member States

There are 15 Member States and they are listed in alphabetical order below:

Antigua and Barbuda

Membership: 04/07/74

Bahamas

Membership: 04/07/83

Barbados

Membership: 01/08/73

Belize

Membership: 01/05/74

Dominica

Membership: 01/05/74

Grenada

Membership: 01/05/74

Guyana

Membership: 01/08/73

Haiti

Membership: 01/07/02

Jamaica

Membership: 01/08/73

Montserrat

Membership: 01/05/74

Saint Lucia

Membership: 01/05/74

St Kitts and Nevis

Membership: 26/07/74

St Vincent and the Grenadines

Membership: 01/05/74

Suriname

Membership: 04/07/95

Trinidad and Tobago

Membership: 01/08/73

Associate Members

There are 5 Associate members and they are listed in alphabetical order below:

Anguilla

Membership: 04/07/99

Bermuda

Membership: 02/07/03

British Virgin Islands

Membership: 02/07/91

Cayman Islands

Membership: 12/05/02

Turks and Caicos Islands

Membership: 02/07/91

Quasi Cabinet

About the Quasi-Cabinet

A quasi-cabinet of individual Heads of Government has been constituted to spearhead action in sectors critical to the Region's integration and as a vision of development into the Twenty-First Century.

Members of the Quasi cabinet are shown randomly below:

Portfoio

Dr. Hon. Keith Rowley

Portfoio

Hon. Dean Oliver Barrow

Portfoio

Rt. Hon. Freundel Stuart

Portfoio

Rt. Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis

Portfoio

Dr. Hon. Ralph E. Gonsalves

Portfoio

Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit

Portfoio

H.E. David Arthur Granger

Portfoio

The Most Hon. Andrew Holness

Current Chair

Portfoio

Dr. Hon. Keith Mitchell

Portfoio

Dr. Hon. Timothy Harris

Portfoio

H.E. Desiré Delano Bouterse

There are currently 66 Community institutions working towards the realization of a shared vision for the Caribbean Community. The following entities established by or under the auspices of the Community are recognised as Institutions of the Community:

International Development Partners

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Regional Frameworks

  • A Framework and Recommendations for Action on Children Affected by Migration in the Caribbean (CARICOM/IOM/UNICEF, 2010)
  • A Harmonized Policy For Teacher Education in the Region
  • Caribbean Community Secretariat Background/Overview
  • Caribbean Cooperation in Health Initiative: Phase II
  • Caribbean Regional Policy Framework for Open and Distance Learning
  • Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework On HIV And AIDS 2008-2012
  • Caribbean Sustainable Energy Road Map and Strategy (C-SERMS)
  • Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) Sports Profile
  • Draft Information and Communication Technology for Development Strategy
  • GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT IN THE CARIBBEAN: Gender Equality at The Crossroads Gender Equality at The Crossroads
  • Gender Equality Data and Statistics
  • Indigenous Peoples of Africa and America Magazine
  • PLAN OF ACTION TO 2005: FRAMEWORK FOR MAINSTREAMING GENDER INTO KEY CARICOM PROGRAMMES
  • Poverty and Equity – Latin America and The Caribbean
  • Preventing HIV Infection, Promoting Reproductive Health
  • Report of the Caribbean Commission on Health and Development
  • Review of Education Plans & Policies in the Eastern Caribbean Area
  • Strengthening the Evidence Base on Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the Eastern Caribbean
  • The World Atlas
  • Theoretical Framework For Addressing Substance Abuse

International Frameworks

  • 3rd INTERNATIONAL FORUM ON SPORT FOR PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT
  • A FRAMEWORK FOR Information and Communications Technology Policy Reviews
  • Declaration on national machineries, gender equality and ICT
  • Raising the Quality of Education: Developing Professional Standards for Teachers and School Leaders
  • Report of the Caribbean Commission on Health and Development
  • Review of Education Plans & Policies in the Eastern Caribbean Area
  • The UN Women Multi Country Office - Caribbean supports regional preparations ahead of the 58th Session of CSW
  • The World Atlas
  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
  • United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1540
  • World Bank estimates based on National Household Consumption or Expenditure Survey Datasets