he search for Caribbean economic viability through some form of economic integration was initiated in 1965 by the political leaders of Guyana, Barbados, and Antigua. The proposal was modeled on the European custom union, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). By May 1968 all the other English-speaking Caribbean nations had joined in the creation of the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA). The ultimate goals of the union were, first and foremost, to encourage the kind of economic development that would provide the highest rates of employment, and second, to reduce the region’s external economic dependence.
In October 1972 Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Barbados (called the “more developed countries” within CARIFTA) agreed to deepen the integration process, forming the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM), which was formalized by the Treaty of Chaguaramas on July 4, 1973, with the following countries as members: Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago. Haiti and Suriname were later admitted as full members. This agreement called for the establishment of a common external tariff, the harmonization of fiscal incentives for industry, double-taxation agreements, and the formation of a Caribbean Investment Corporation (CIC). The latter was geared toward helping the “less developed countries” (LDGs) of the area.