Regional and International Integration and Modes of Governance: The Caribbean Case


  • Vaughn Lewis Professor, Institute of International Relations, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine


In the concluding section of a recent paper the author observed that "it is obvious that the economic welfare of citizens of small countries such as those of the Caribbean is not determined simply by domestic governance arrrangements but by regimes in their regional and international environments. This is especially important in the case of the Caribbean whose small economies do not have a natural hinterland, and whose integration into a specific framework of mercantilist arrangements is disintegrating. The subject of future regional structures of governance and the mode of their relations with new, developing international regimes is a significant one which also requires academic treatment."

This paper is concerned with an exploration of these themes. It first seeks to examine the functioning of the regional integration structures of the Caribbean Community and Common Market as they have evolved from their establishment to the present time. It further seeks to demonstrate how Governments involved in the integration exercise tried to adapt to changing domestic and external circumstances. Shows that, in some measure, the process of deepening of the integration system has been a halting one. At the same time Governments have sensed the necessity for a widenting of the boundaries of the system. In that context, examines the options placed before them in the recent past, and possible options for consideration in the present as they respond dynamically to changing regional and international environments.