CARICOM Begins Treaty Revision Process

His Excellency Edwin Carrington

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) – Senior officials of the Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) began the process of revising the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas as the first meeting of the Reconstituted Inter-Governmental Task Force (IGTF) started in Georgetown, Guyana on Wednesday 29 September.

Chairman of the IGTF, His Excellency Edwin Carrington, Secretary-General of CARICOM, in welcoming the delegates to the headquarters of the CARICOM Secretariat, the venue of the meeting, said the Forum’s work would have far reaching implications for the Community and the way in which it conducted its affairs.

“It is a mammoth task to be performed in a short time,” the Secretary-General warned the delegates to the three-day meeting. “Our Heads of Government expect to see progress as soon as early in the new year,” he added.

The decision to reconstitute the forum was taken with a view to making the Treaty “more relevant to the Community’s needs, more responsive to the demands of our stakeholders and more adaptable to the evolution of our regional integration project,” Mr Carrington added.

The Secretary-General thanked the European Union and the Commonwealth Secretariat for providing the resources to make the IGTF meetings possible. The first IGTF was convened in 1993 to revise the original Treaty of Chaguaramas which had been signed in 1973. The Revised Treaty was signed in 2001 following a process which saw the IGTF produce a series of nine protocols which were then incorporated into the Treaty.

The Secretary-General told the delegates that there were a number of subject areas and tasks that readily presented themselves as ripe for consideration by the reconstituted IGTF. “For example, there is need for inclusion within the Revised Treaty, of provisions on security and the regional security architecture,” he pointed out.

“There are other areas which could be considered as lacunae in the Revised Treaty. These include the need for providing for a coherent Community social policy, a key component in the creation of a viable Community For All. Another deals with the implications of “the psychology of integration and development”. This is particularly relevant for example, in a situation where our Member States are, in all but two cases, separated by sea space,” Mr Carrington said.

He advised that this particular challenge could be assisted by, among other things, a comparative analysis of the European model of integration and “exploring that model’s differences from our own arrangements.” Perhaps, the Secretary-General said, what we should be trying to do is to reorient our perspective from one of separated by, to, connected by sea.”

“There is much work to be done, so let us put our shoulders to the wheel so that collectively, we can catalyse changes that are both relevant and positive to our times, for the advancement of regional integration and the greater good of the peoples of our Community, particularly our children,” Mr Carrington ended.

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