The future of CARICOM thrown into question
New report puts Caribbean Community in crisis.
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - A comprehensive report now in the possession of Heads of Government of the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has indicated that the regional bloc is in crisis.
Media reports have indicated that the document, submitted by a Project Management Team (PMT), has been circulated to Heads of Government ahead of their forthcoming Inter-Sessional Meeting scheduled for March 8-9 in Suriname.
The executive summary accompanying the report strongly supports the establishment of a new administrative structure and stated that, unaddressed, the situation was “sufficiently severe to put CARICOM’s very existence in question”.
The report identified three areas within CARICOM that were causing the crisis, namely: long standing frustrations with its slow progress have continued to mount; a serious weakening in its structure and operations over a number of years; and continuing economic retrenchment since the 2008 (international) financial crisis and the risk of a further downturn in 2012.
The analysis plainly stated that the Community Secretariat and related CARICOM institutions were “not strong enough” to cope with any shortfall in funding, a precarious situation given the arrears by a number of CARICOM states to the institution.
The warning was given that without a “fundamental change”, CARICOM could expire slowly over the next few years as stakeholders begin to vote with their feet…”.
Nevertheless, the authors of the report felt that CARICOM can yet surmount the prevailing crisis “as long as fundamental changes in its operation and structures are made—and made decisively and speedily”.