The Caribbean Community – also known as CARICOM – is a collective of Caribbean nations and dependencies who work together to coordinate economic policies, engage in development planning, launching special projects targeted at less-developed countries and handling trade disputes within the region. CARICOM was first established in 1973 through the Treaty of Chaguaramas. This treaty was later revised in 2001. Revisions in this treaty included the implementation of the Caribbean Court of Justice.
There are a total of 15 member nations and dependencies. The countries that are part of CARICOM cover a total area of over 177,000 square miles, and the total population among the 15 countries is more than 18 million. There were four founding members of CARICOM. These countries include Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago. In 1974, several additional countries joined CARICOM. These were Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Other countries rounding out the 15 members include the Bahamas, Haiti, and Suriname.
There are also several associates that do not have full membership. These associate members are British overseas territory. There are no standards as to the role that these members play. The five associates are Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, and Turks and Caicos. In addition, there are eight observers: Aruba, Colombia, Curaco, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Sint Maarten, and Venezuela.