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CARICOM, the Caribbean Community Organization

Many countries located in the Caribbean Sea are members of the Caribbean Community, or CARICOM, an organization founded in 1973 to make these several small countries more cooperative, economically competitive, and influential in global politics. Headquartered in Georgetown, Guyana, CARICOM has achieved some success, but it has also been criticized as being ineffective.

The Caribbean Community is composed of 15 full members.

Most member countries are islands or island chains located in the Caribbean Sea, although some members are located on the mainland of Central America or South America. Members of CARICOM are:

There are also five associate members of CARICOM. These are all territories of the United Kingdom:

The official languages of CARICOM are English, French (the language of Haiti), and Dutch (the language of Suriname.)

Most members of CARICOM gained their independence from the United Kingdom beginning in the 1960s. CARICOMs origins are rooted in the West Indies Federation (1958-1962) and the Caribbean Free Trade Association (1965-1972), two attempts at regional integration that failed after disagreements about financial and administrative matters.

CARICOM, initially known as the Caribbean Community and Common Market, was created in 1973 by the Treaty of Chaguaramas. This treaty was revised in 2001, primarily to change the organizations focus from a common market to a single market and single economy.

CARICOM is composed of and led by several bodies, such as The Conference of the Heads of Government, The Community Council of Ministers, The Secretariat, and other subdivisions.

These groups meet periodically to discuss the priorities of CARICOM and its financial and legal concerns.

A Caribbean Court of Justice, established in 2001 and based in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, attempts to resolve conflicts between members.

A major goal of CARICOM is to improve the living conditions of the nearly 16 million people that reside in member countries. Education, labor