Please update your browser

You're using a version of Internet Explorer that isn't supported by Questia.
To get a better experience, go to one of these sites and get the latest
version of your preferred browser:

The Caribbean Community

By Nicholls, Colin | UNESCO Courier, October 1986 | Go to article overview

The Caribbean Community

Nicholls, Colin, UNESCO Courier

The Caribbean community THE quest for economic integration in the English-speaking Caribbean started in the 1960s after the collapse of the ill-fated Federation of the British West Indies in 1962. After a vain attempt to revive the federalist idea of political unity, leaders turned increasingly to the concept of economic integration as a means fo preserving ties between the islands and the mainland territories of British Honduras (Belize) and British Guiana (Guyana). The federalist venture, which was singularly encouraged by the colonial power, foundered on the rock of personality clashes, conflicting notions of weak federalism versus strong central federalism, freedom of movement between territories and insular notions of nationalism.

According to Dr. Eric Williams, noted historian and late Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, writing in 1970, "the Federal experience as well as the post-independence situation in the Commonwealth Caribbean showed that the quest for identity and solidarity among the ex-British possessions in the Caribbean had to be pursued by other means--namely, the method of regional economic collaboration and the working out of complementary rather than competitive strategies of economic development."

It was self-evident in the early 1960s that Caribbean countries were linked economically more closely to the metropolitan countries (in particular the former colonial power) than to each other. This factor in itself produced and perpetuated vertical, bi-lateral trading relations between each country on the one hand and countries outside the region on the other hand. As a result, intra-regional, horizontal economic relations, the development of multilateral commerce and the reationalization of fiscal and excise policies were non-existent, thereby contributing to the continued economic isolation of individual countries.

In 1965, then, the leaders of Antigua, Barbados and British Guiana concluded an agreement to establish a Free Trade Area. By 1967, other territories had accepted the principle of such an association and at the Heads of Government Conference in Barbados in October 1967 adopted a number of resolutions aimed at establishing a Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA); creating a Caribbean regional development bank; and furthering the integration process. The CARIFTA Agreement, ratified by the three founding members at St. John's, Antigua, entered into force on 1 May 1968. At the same time, other territories signed a Protocol of Interest and pledged to become members.

It may be useful at this point to place this initial integration effort in perspective. One cannot underestimate the economic legacy of three centuries of colonialism which assigned to the Caribbean territories the role of producers of primary commodities and suppliers of cheap labour for metropolitan consumption. The pattern of single-crop industries led to the neglect of diversification and accentuated dependence on favoured treatment by the colonial power. Agricultural production for the domestic market and the gradual expansion of the industrial base received scant attention, resulting in the increased vulnerability of national economies of the Caribbean.

Nor can one underestimate the considerable prestige and influence of Sir Arthur Lewis on West Indian economic thinking in the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1950s the future Nobel Prize-winner in Economics, a citizen of Saint Lucia, produced two seminal works which left their impact on economic policy in the region for some time. In an article published in 1950, Sir Arthur argued that: "A poor people spends a very high proportion of its income on food and shelter, and only a small proportion on manufactures. At their present low standard of living, the number of persons for whom West Indians can provide employment in manufacturing by their own purchases is extremely small."

The apparent anti-industrialization slant was later to be echoed in a classic article in which Lewis shows that in a dualistic economy the sector offering higher wages will attract labour without necessarily depressing those of the rival sector when the labour supply is precisely "unlimited".

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)


1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited article

The Caribbean Community


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.