Caribbean Community Day — also known as CARICOM Day — is celebrated on July 1 this year. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) consists of 20 states throughout the Caribbean, of which 15 are member states and five associate members. Georgetown, Guyana, is home to the CARICOM secretariat headquarters. The day was chosen to commemorate the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas, which established CARICOM on July 4, 1973. It is recognized as an official public holiday in Guyana, and the governments of Antigua and Barbuda have declared it a holiday as well. The day is celebrated with parades, pageants, and campaigns to educate people about CARICOM.
History of Caribbean Community Day
The four founding members who established CARICOM by signing the Treaty of Chaguaramas were Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago. The signatories were Prime Ministers Errol Barrow for Barbados, Forbes Burnham for Guyana, Michael Manley for Jamaica, and Eric Williams for Trinidad and Tobago. Their united goal was to strengthen the ties between the islands and the mainland.
The West Indies Federation and the Caribbean Free Trade Association were the first organizations that provided economic linkages between the English-speaking countries of the Caribbean. The West Indies Federation was in operation from 1958 to 1962, and the Caribbean Free Trade Association from 1965 to 1972. Then, in 1973, CARICOM superseded the Caribbean Free Trade Association. On July 5, 2001, the CARICOM heads of government signed a revised Treaty of Chaguaramas during the Twenty-Second Meeting of the Conference held in Nassau, The Bahamas. This treaty paved the way to transform the idea of a common market in CARICOM into the CARICOM Single Market and Economy.
From February 29, 2004, to early June 2006, Haiti’s membership in CARICOM was suspended following the 2004 Haitian coup d’état and the removal of Jean-Bertrand Aristide from the presidency. After René Préval was elected president, Haitian officials were readmitted.
In 2013, for CARICOM’s 40th anniversary, a competition to create a song or anthem for CARICOM was launched. The song was to promote unity and inspire CARICOM’s identity and pride. The judges chose “Celebrating CARICOM” by Michele Henderson of Dominica and her first official performance of the song took place on Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
Caribbean Community Day timeline
In July, the first Heads of Government Conference is convened by the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.
The flag of the Caribbean Community is chosen and approved.
On July 4, the flag is first flown in Nassau, the Bahamas, at the fifth meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government.
The Dutch-speaking Republic of Suriname joins CARICOM.
On July 1, the first official performance of "Celebrating CARICOM" by Henderson takes place.
Caribbean Community Day FAQs
How many countries celebrate CARICOM Day?
CARICOM Day is celebrated by 20 states.
Is Canada a CARICOM?
Canada is an engaged partner with CARICOM and has long-standing commercial relationships with CARICOM countries.
Who is the head of CARICOM 2021?
Gaston Browne assumed the Chairmanship of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on July 1, 2021.
How to Observe Caribbean Community Day
Celebrate Caribbean culture
You could cook a local dish, host a party, play local music, or take part in a parade. Whatever you choose, today is the day to celebrate Caribbean culture.
Learn more about the Caribbean
Spend some time looking into the history of the Caribbean. This should be a truly eye-opening experience.
Listen to the official song
Listen to "Celebrating CARICOM" and have a dance party! By doing so, you will be promoting unity and inspiring CARICOM's identity and pride.
5 Amazing Facts About The Caribbean
The Caribbean has over 7,000 islands
Out of these 7,000 islands, only 100 (or so) are inhabited.
It has 23 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
These 23 heritage sites include historical sites like the 17th Century Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park in St. Kitts and Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua.
It has one of the hottest peppers
The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion chili pepper, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, was declared the hottest chili pepper in the world in 2012, with 1.2 million Scoville heat units.
It has the shortest airport runway
Juancho E Yrausquin Airport, located on the Dutch Caribbean island of Saba, is 1,312 ft long.
The region only has two seasons
This tropical region only has two weather patterns — dry and wet.
Why Caribbean Community Day is Important
It is a public holiday
Who doesn't love having a day off from work or school? This day can be enjoyed whether by spending time with family or friends.
There are many festivities
The day is celebrated with many parades, pageants, and festivals. You will not run out of activities to engage in.
It aims to uplift less-developed countries
The holiday is a great way to be part of the change society needs. This day is all about working together to reduce poverty, unemployment, and social exclusion.
Caribbean Community Day dates