Caricom Day, observed annually on the first Monday in July, is a Guyana national holiday commemorating the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas on July 4, 1973. The treaty established the Caribbean Community and Common Market, later renamed the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Caricom Day recognizes the union of 20 countries, including five associate members and 15 member states. This holiday celebrates the power of unity and togetherness. Read on to learn more about its history.
History of Caricom Day
The Caribbean Community, or CARICOM, is an economic and political union of 15 national governments from all over the Caribbean with the primary goals of coordinating foreign policy and encouraging economic integration and cooperation to promote equal benefits of integration. The union was created in 1973 when its four founding members, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago, signed the Treaty of Chaguaramas. Its main activities are coordinating economic policies and development planning, organizing and implementing special projects for the less-developed countries under its jurisdiction, acting as a single sectoral market for many of its members, and resolving regional trade issues. Its secretariat is based in Georgetown, Guyana. In addition, Caricom is a United Nations Observer Organization beneficiary.
In 2001, the heads of state approved a revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, paving the way for the concept of a CARICOM common market to be transitioned into the Caribbean Single Market and Economy. The Caribbean Court of Justice was established and implemented as part of the new agreement.
English-speaking Caribbean countries founded CARICOM, but the institution now includes all self-governing anglophone island countries and Guyana, Montserrat, and Belize. Other British Caribbean territories and Bermuda have also joined as associate members. Until the 1990s, English was the only language used. The organization became multilingual when Suriname, which primarily uses Dutch, and Haiti, using French and Haitian Creole, joined in 1995 and 2002, respectively. Spanish became the fourth official language in 2003 before CARICOM announced in July 2012 that it was considering promoting French and Dutch as official languages.
Caricom Day timeline
The signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas leads to the establishment of CARICOM.
Haiti is granted provisional membership status in CARICOM.
CARICOM and the Dominican Republic are tied to the European Union (E.U.) through CARIFORUM, an Economic Partnership Agreement.
CARICOM and the Republic of Cuba approve the CARICOM-Cuba Trade and Economic Partnership Deal.
Caricom Day FAQs
What is the largest CARICOM country?
With an area of over 83,000 square miles, Guyana is the organization’s largest member.
Which country joined CARICOM last?
Haiti was the last country to become a full member on July 2, 2002.
Is there a CARICOM passport?
Citizens of CARICOM’s member countries can apply for a CARICOM passport, which may be used for intraregional and international trips.
How to Observe Caricom Day
Take a trip to the Caribbean
Honor this day by visiting the Caribbean. Explore the local culture and ways of life and take advantage of the best the region has to offer.
Discover more about the Caribbean
Spend some time researching the Caribbean’s history. See why the Treaty of Chaguaramas is essential and how it benefited the community.
Play the official song
Have a dance party while listening to ‘Celebrating CARICOM!’ Doing so will encourage unity and promote CARICOM’s pride and identity.
5 Facts About CARICOM
It replaced another organization
CARICOM was founded as an alternative to the Caribbean Free Trade Association, and it’s been going strong ever since!
CARICOM is responsible for 15 states
The organization’s 15 full members are the Bahamas, Belize, Barbados, Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Grenada, Montserrat, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Saint Kitts and Nevis.
It protects its members
CARICOM prioritizes protecting specific areas of interest, including security, health, and education.
It has an official anthem
Michele Henderson wrote a CARICOM promotional song called ‘Celebrating CARICOM.’
It has its own logo
The CARICOM symbol has two broken chain links shaped like the letter ‘C,’ representing unity and the deviation from the region’s colonial history.
Why Caricom Day is Important
We love the Caribbean
The Caribbean has a lot to offer the rest of the world. We can’t get enough of this amazing slice of paradise featuring stunning islands and rich cultural heritage!
It fosters patriotism and national pride
The day provides an opportunity to relive the philosophy that led to the formation of CARICOM. In addition, it cultivates love and responsibility for the region.
It promotes social interaction
CARICOM encourages consultations between governments and workers’ and employers’ organizations. This provides a healthier social dialogue among all parties.
Caricom Day dates