The establishment of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) by the Treaty of Chaguaramas in 1973 was the result of a 15-year effort to fulfil the Caribbean people’s aspirations of regional integration which was born with the establishment of the British West Indies Federation in 1958. The West Indies Federation came to an end in 1962 but its end may be regarded as the real beginning of what is now the Caribbean Community.
The CARICOM Member States are: Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. CARICOM also comprises Associate Members which are: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands.
In 1989, Member States reaffirmed and broadened the Community’s core objectives to include the creation of a CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), setting new strides for the regional integration process, as one aspect of its response to the challenges and opportunities presented by the changes in the global economy. In essence, the CSME was conceived to facilitate economic development in an increasingly globalised environment through the transformation of the Common Market into a single market and economy, in which factors move freely as a basis for internationally competitive production of goods and services. For this transformation to take place, the Treaty had to be revised. This revision was accomplished with the signing in 2001 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas establishing the Caribbean Community, including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. The CSME comprises the CARICOM Member States excluding The Bahamas, Haiti and Montserrat.
The objectives of the Community, identified in Article 6 of the Revised Treaty are: to improve standards of living and work; the full employment of labour and other factors of production; accelerated, coordinated and sustained economic development and convergence; expansion of trade and economic relations with third States; enhanced levels of international competitiveness; organisation for increased production and productivity; achievement of a greater measure of economic leverage and effectiveness of Member States in dealing with third States, groups of States and entities of any description and the enhanced co-ordination of Member States’ foreign and economic policies and enhanced functional co-operation.
The Caribbean Community Secretariat is located in Georgetown, Guyana and functions to service the integration process. Its mission is to provide dynamic leadership and service, in partnership with Community institutions and Groups, toward the attainment of a viable, internationally competitive and sustainable Community, with improved quality of life for all.
Among the programmes of the CARICOM Secretariat is the Regional Statistics Programme that aims to develop a sustainable statistical infrastructure within the CARICOM Secretariat providing accurate, timely and reliable statistical information of a high quality and broad scope, facilitating analysis and dissemination of these data, promoting their use in effective and efficient decision making and simultaneously, fostering a similar enabling environment for statistical development among Member States of the Caribbean Community.
The Regional Statistics Programme compiles statistics on the Member States of CARICOM. These data are submitted to the Secretariat by the Member States themselves, either by the National Statistical Offices or the Central Banks, depending on the nature of the data. Occasionally, in the absence of data from the Member States, third party sources would be utilised.
The Regional Statistics Programme is engaged in a number of projects aimed at building capacity in Member States.
- Harmonisation of Statistics to support the CSME;
- Economic Statistics including National Accounts, International Trade in Services and Merchandise Trade Statistics;
- Social/Gender Statistics – Labour Market Information, Health Statistics etc;
- Support to member states in the conduct of the 2010 Round of Population and Housing Census.
The activities in these projects are supposed to result in improved comparability of the statistics across countries, improved data quality, increased adherence to international statistical standards and greater accessibility of the data to users. Specifically, the activities include the implementation of a common Regional Statistical Work Programme to be implemented by all Member States; development of the Devinfo data dissemination facility; provision of technical assistance to implement the System of National Accounts; enhancing the Merchandise Trade data production through the adherence to a common data submission protocol and the building of an online facility for accessing trade data; strengthening the capacity to collect data on Social Statistics incorporating training in basic statistics and in fertility and mortality data collection; the conduct of analysis on Population and Housing Census data, the building of a facility to enable online access of the census data and ensuring member countries’ readiness for the conduct for the 2010 Round of Census. In pursuing these capacity-building activities the CARICOM Secretariat receives support and collaborates with several international and regional development partners. Member countries also access support on their own initiatives contributing to the improvement of statistics in the Region
Received July 2010