Drawing Examples from Two or More Caricom Institutions, Discuss the View That ‘Political Disagreements Among Member Countries Overshadow Caricom’s Contribution to Caribbean Development’

Drawing Examples from Two or More Caricom Institutions, Discuss the View That ‘Political Disagreements Among Member Countries Overshadow Caricom’s Contribution to Caribbean Development’

Before there was the Caribbean Common Market (CARICOM), there was the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA). CARIFTA was intended to encourage balanced development of the region by increasing, diversifying and liberating trade, also ensuring fair CARIFTA was limited as the free trade area was not enough to garner the desired economic efficiency. According to Bernal (2007) “… t did not provide for free movement of labour and capital, or for the coordination of agricultural, industrial and foreign policies. ” The internal pressures on CARIFTA to fortify the existing areas of cooperation and to expand into new areas created the need for a deeper process of regional cooperation. These pressures brought with them the need to establish new and more appropriate structures to strengthen our integration.

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At their meeting in Chagaramus in November 1972, Heads of Government therefore took the fundamental decision to do this by creating the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM Secretariat 2005 p. 41). CARICOM was established in 1973 on the basis of a treaty. This treaty was dubbed the Treaty of Chaguramus. In 1989, as a result of the need for a single economic space to facilitate regional trade, production and investment within CARICOM, the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) was born.

Bernal (2007) states that “The CSME was born out of substantive amendments to the Treaty of Chaguaramas … [and] provides a strengthened institutional framework to support and facilitate the enhanced program of regional economic integration and functional co-operation, … The revised treat also removes barriers to the cross-border movement and establishment of businesses, thus promoting investment and the intra-regional movement of goods, services, and capital. ”

The International Oxford dictionary states that, the word overshadow means ‘to appear much more prominent or important than. ’ To say that political disagreements between member countries have overshadowed CARICOM’s contribution to development in the Caribbean would be illogical. For while there have been disagreements within member countries, this does not negate the fact that this entity has lend a hand in the development of the region. One must agree with Thompson (2009) who stated: “sporadic disagreements mong member states of a community do not equate to disunity, but rather, differences of opinion on how best to achieve such unity. ” To describe political disagreements that occur within CARICOM in the interest of development, problem-solving and unity as having an overshadowing effect on contributions is rather narrow-minded. CARICOM is made up of nations-members that each have their own agendas and interest. It is the purpose of CARICOM to sort and amalgamate those individual interests into regional interest, thereby producing outcome that will enhance and develop the region.

However to effectively and efficiently coalesce, concerns must be voiced and disagreement must be declared. For example, in 2009 the twin island state of Trinidad and Tobago was accused of using non-tariff barriers to block the importation of patties from Jamaica. The product was prohibited to enter the Twin island state for sanitary reasons. Trinidad and Tobago required that production facilities be inspected first. However, in the interest of continuous trade among Caribbean nations, the dispute was quickly resolved.

Further Tastee, one of Jamaica’s major patty producers, was given full clearance from CARICOM. Acting upon recommendations of its Sanitary Evaluation Team, which visited the Tastee site in Jamaica and declared its beef and chicken patties were fit for export throughout the region. ” Despite the disagreements member countries have, agreements have been made and have resulted in the creation of institutions by CARICOM that has and continues to significantly contribute to the development of the Caribbean nations.

Two such institutions are the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) and The University of the West Indies. The Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) was established in the 1972 by Commonwealth Caribbean Countries and Territories. With its has its headquarters in Barbados it’s mandated is to provide regionally and internationally recognised secondary school leaving examinations relevant to the needs of the Region also to produce teaching materials, train teachers to use the CXC syllabi and advise regional governments on Education matters.

Carrington (2003) posits that “the mandate of the CXC was to fashion a response to the Human Resource Development needs of the Region”. The Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) has made tremendous contributions to CARICOM by offering first class examinations that are recognized not only in the region but worldwide. Today CXC is synonymous with secondary school leavers and higher level education. Individuals who have sat and attained CXC certification, usually pursue a higher level of education.

Some of these individuals go on to hold key positions at regional and international levels and have made significant contribution in various fields of research. In Jamaica and the region the University of the West Indies is one of the preferred Institutions for higher learning. The University of the West Indies is the region’s premier educational institution and even though it was established before CARICOM, it plays a leading role in the development of the region by producing well rounded human resources and conducting researches that are viable to the needs of the region.

Apart from the fact that the University has produced many of the regions heads of government, it has established the UWI-CARICOM Project. This project geared toward the infusion of the Caribbean Community and the global population with pertinent views on CARICOM and the work of its Secretariat through information gathered by rigorous research and contained in invaluable publications, and radio and television documentaries. (Caricom secretariat website 2011)

When a solution is reached or realized it is due to the fact that an issue or problem was recognized and or voiced. Therefore disagreements should not be seen as having more time in the spotlight that it ought. Although there have been disagreements among members of CARICOM, the distinctive contributions have not been overlooked, rather these conributions has its place behind disagreements as that which is the end result.

Therefore CARICOM”s contribution to the Caribbean has not been overshadowed. What has happened is squabbles among member countries have been sensationalized by the media. References Bernal, R. L. (2007, May). Caricom Single Market and Economy Charts Destiny. Americas, 59(3), 46-52. Caricom Secretariat. (2005). Caricom: Our Caribbean Community An Introduction (pp. 41-50). Caribbean Community Secretariat. (n. d. ). The Caribbean Community. Retrieved April 13, 2011, from http://www. caricom. org


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