The Caribbean Community (or CARICOM) is a multinational organization originally founded in the 1970's to promote economic integration and cooperation among various nations and dependencies in the Caribbean Sea region.
After Doomsday, the organization became inactive for many years, before finally being reaffirmed in 2020, incorporating the post-Doomsday successors of its original nations, as well as some new members.
CARICOM was founded in 1973 by four Caribbean nations: Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad & Tobago, before eventually growing to include 13 full members by 1983, with the Bahamas being the last nation to join before Doomsday (The Bahamas joined on July 4, 1983). The organization's headquarters was set up in Georgetown, Guyana.
Throughout the 1980's and 90's, the Caribbean was in chaos. While no CARICOM nations were directly hit with nuclear weapons, there were strikes in the region at Cuba and Puerto Rico, and the larger global economic collapse had dire consequences for the region. The CARICOM Chairman--based in Georgetown, Guyana--was unable to make contact with the rest of the region for the first few weeks after Doomsday due to disruptions in communications. By the time he was able to start corresponding with the various heads of state, the region was already falling into chaos, with events such as the collapse of the sugar trade, the Guyana-Venezuela War, and the loss of tourism all throwing the region into disarray. CARICOM was never formally disbanded, but the organization lacked any significant clout for many years, and slid into irrelevance as nations in the region turned inwards
Over the next 20 years, power in the region realigned as several Caribbean nations declared independence from the former European nations that had owned them, and many localities and nations in the region formed new nations such as the East Caribbean Federation, the Guyana Cooperative, and the Netherlands Antilles.
By the 2010s, things had stabilized enough that many academics and politicians in the West Indies began discussing the possibility of the CARICOM members (or, in many cases, their successor states) resuming regional cooperation in the organization. One impetus was the East Caribbean Federation's growing wariness of the rise of the SAC and socialist influence in the region. Furthermore, events such as the Dominican Republic's 1999 intervention in Haiti were also on the minds of many proponents; the intervention had exacerbated tensions between the DR and Haiti, and observers around the Caribbean hoped to provide a peaceful forum for any future disputes. The Guyana Cooperative was also eager to have a regional bloc to help it protect itself; although the Venezuelan invasion of Guyana's western territories had occurred more than 20 years earlier, the Guyana Cooperative was still very wary of Venezuela. The Netherlands Antilles, with its status as a very small group of islands, was also eager to participate in a larger regional grouping that could help it feel more secure.
Finally, on New Year's Day 2020, at a ceremony at the newly-renovated original headquarters in Georgetown, several Caribbean heads of state signed the Treaty of Georgetown, formally reaffirming the Caribbean Community organization.
The Treaty of Georgetown, in addition to reaffirming the Treaty of Chaguaramas which founded CARICOM back in the 1970's, also contained some of the rationales for reassembling the organization:
We, the signatories, recognize the immense changes in our world since Doomsday. It is our goal to promote stability in the greater Caribbean basin, and to protect the ideals of human rights in our territories. We also recognize that many other nearby regions have formed power blocs, such as the South American Confederation. While we do not seek to compete with or oppose these other regional groupings, we do understand the advantage in cooperating to make sure the interests of the Caribbean nations are represented on the world stage. We, the signatories, affirm the belief that by cooperating as a regional group, we can not only form a single market among the nations of the Caribbean to promote economic growth, but also cooperate as a diplomatic coalition to protect our collective interests on the world stage.
Organizers also hoped to avoid a repeat of clashes such as the Dominican Republic's 1999 intervention in Haiti by providing an open forum for the nations of the Caribbean to peacefully resolve any future disputes.
The Caribbean Community is headed by a Chairman. The Chairmanship rotates among the various heads of state of member nations. The first Chairperson of the post-Doomsday version of CARICOM is Queen Juliana II of the Netherlands Antilles.
As Chairwoman, Queen Juliana presided at the opening of the first post-Doomsday meeting of the assembled delegates. She also made it a point to attend various ceremonies across all member states as part of her duties as Chairwoman. Many in the Netherlands Antilles felt that this also helped the interests of their country, by making their monarch and culture more visible across the region and building goodwill. Queen Juliana also often served as a joint envoy from the CARICOM nations to other countries outside the bloc, including a much-lauded speech at the League of Nations at the opening of its 2020 session. By serving in these roles, the Queen is said to have set a precedent for future Chairpersons to follow.
There is also a Secretary-General, whose responsibility is to more directly handle the bloc's diplomacy to the rest of the world. Each Secretary-General, both before Doomsday and in the revamped post-Doomsday organization, has resided at Colgrain House on Camp Street, Georgetown, Guyana.
CARICOM also features various organs, chiefly the Community Council, in which diplomats from all member nations discuss issues facing the Caribbean region as a whole.
Another important organ of CARICOM is the Caribbean Court of Justice, which is based at Port-of-Spain, Trinidad (part of the East Caribbean Federation).
CARICOM also plays a direct role in the governance of five "Associate Institutions": the Caribbean Development Bank, the University of Guyana, the University of the West Indies, the Caribbean Law Institute/Law Centre, and the West Indies Cricket Board.
CARICOM has also eagerly taken a role in promoting Caribbean culture to the world, helping Caribbean artists gain access to radio airplay beyond the immediate region, and hosting various cultural events.
These have included bringing back the pre-Doomsday tradition of CARIFESTA (or Caribbean Festival of the Arts), and Caribana, a general festival of Caribbean culture named after a similar event that had been held annually by the Caribbean diaspora in Toronto, before that city's destruction on Doomsday. The new Caribana takes place in a different member nation each year, and has been noted as a boost to the local economies of host cities.
CARICOM also generally has a presence at each of the local Carnivals that take place at the beginning of every Lenten season.
The new version of CARICOM now includes some nations that weren't part of the original membership.
The membership of the revamped CARICOM includes:
- The Kingdom of Bermuda
- The Dominican Republic
- The Caribbean Federation
- The French Republic of Guyane
- The Guyana Cooperative
- The Netherlands Antilles
- Puerto Rico