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The Global Consortium of Political Analysts

Caribbean Community, Regional Integration, and Security Issues

Updated: Nov 18, 2023

On July 4, 2023, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) celebrated its 50th anniversary. Formed in 1973, the group of Caribbean states articulated three pillars and priorities: economic integration, human and social development (functional cooperation), and foreign policy coordination. Partly guided by the changing security landscape following the terrorist attacks on the United States in 2001, the group agreed to create the Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) in 2006 and to add security as a fourth pillar in 2007.

Except for Belize, Suriname, and Guyana who maintain ongoing territorial disputes with their neighbors, much of the Caribbean historically had little-to-no concern with traditional security threats such as interstate conflict. However, ongoing regional operations to reduce and eliminate drug and human trafficking and other transnational criminal activities has seen a spillover and the migration of illicit activities deeper into the community. A 2012 United Nations report argues that, as traffickers find Central America increasingly inhospitable, they are shifting their operations to the Caribbean.

Over the last twenty years, a handful of regional security apparatus have emerged or renewed their operations against such threats, including the Police Community of the Americas (AMERIPOL) and the Regional Security System. In fact, in 2004 the United States Southern Command sponsored the first annual Caribbean Nations Security Conference (CANSEC) bringing together security representatives from the region to discuss ongoing and emerging threats. The group met for its 22nd conference on April 2022 with continued discussions and priority around counter-illicit flows operations and counter-terrorism initiatives.

This research aims to trace the evolution of security threat and concerns in the Caribbean, and to map emerging threats in the region.


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