Int’l financial slump could bring down Caricom, report warns

The Caribbean Community (Caricom) is at risk of being “brought down quickly” if the international financial situation worsens, according to recent review that also warns of the real possibility that member states could walk away over the movement’s slow progress.

The January 2012 report, ‘Turning Around CARICOM: Proposals to Restructure the Secretariat,’ which has been seen by Stabroek News, says that Caricom is in a fight for survival and its future is in jeopardy unless fundamental changes in operations and structure, including delivering on practical benefits in the short term, are urgently made.

“CARICOM is in crisis… The crisis is sufficiently severe to put CARICOM’s very existence in question,” the 157-page report proclaims, saying that in addition to the danger of a loss of funding, there is evidence that that over the next few years some of its 15 member states, frustrated by the pace of progress, could begin to “vote with their feet” and leave the community. 

“Longstanding frustrations” at Caricom’s progress rate, a “serious weakening” in its structure and operation over the years and “continued economic retrenchment” since the 2008 global financial crisis are blamed for the situation in which the community has found itself. In order for Caricom to survive and eventually prosper, the report identifies the need for full and unequivocal support from member states; a focus on delivering a narrow range of specific, practical and achievable benefits over a reasonably short time span; and a credible reorganisation and strengthening of the movement, including the Secretariat and regional institutions. Once these conditions are successfully met, it recommends “a major relaunch” of Caricom to be aimed at the general public in member states and the international community.

The report was submitted by Landell Mills Ltd, a UK-based consultancy contracted to conduct an organisational review of the Caricom Secretariat. The project, funded by the European Development Fund (EDF) and approved by heads of government, is to assess the effectiveness of the Secretariat’s current organisational structure and identify the constraints to deepen regional integration within Caricom.

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