The Bureau is a Sub-Committee of the Conference comprising the Incoming, Incumbent and Outgoing Chairpersons of the Conference, identified in accordance with the approved Rotation Schedule for the Chairmanship of the Conference.
The Bureau is provided for in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. Its functions are set out in Article 12 entitled Functions and Powers of the Conference, specifically sub-paragraph 11 (page 6). Heads of Government customarily serve on the Bureau in their three capacities over an 18-month period. The Bureau is assisted by the Secretary-General.
The Bureau was established at a Special Meeting of Heads of Government (October 1992, Trinidad and Tobago), which was held to consider the Recommendations of the West Indian Commission (WIC) set out in its Report Time for Action. One of those Recommendations was the establishment of a CARICOM Commission to assist in accelerating the implementation of decisions – identified by the WIC as the Achilles Heel of the integration movement.
In seeking to address the issue of the implementation deficit, Heads of Government agreed instead to establish a Bureau.
The Bureau's principal responsibilities are:
- Initiating proposals for development and approval by the Ministerial Councils;
- Updating the consensus of Member States on issues determined by the Conference. That is,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.