News Releases

CARICOM at 50 Symposium: Shaping the Future of Caribbean Integration

For Release Upon Receipt - May 16, 2023

St. Augustine

Dr. Annita Montoute, Interim Director of the IIR and Senator the Honourable Dr. Amery Browne, Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago at the CARICOM at 50 Symposium

The UWI St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago. Tuesday 16th May, 2023 - As the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) reaches a momentous milestone, commemorating its 50th anniversary, The University of the West Indies (UWI) emerges as a dynamic force shaping the region's development for 75 remarkable years. Against this backdrop, the Institute of International Relations (IIR) at the St. Augustine Campus collaborated with the CARICOM Secretariat to host the ground-breaking "CARICOM at Fifty" events, envisioning a future of seamless integration. 

With its rich history spanning twenty nations and housing approximately sixteen million citizens, CARICOM stands as a powerful alliance, with 60% of its population under the age of 30. The journey began on July 4, 1973, as visionary Prime Ministers Errol Barrow, Forbes Burnham, Michael Manley, and Dr. Eric Williams joined forces in signing the transformative Treaty of Chaguaramas. 

At the heart of the commemorative events lay a thought-provoking symposium held on Friday, April 14, 2023, at The UWI's St. Augustine Campus. Delving into fifty years of CARICOM's history, the symposium becomes a space of reflection, igniting profound discussions on the path traversed and the path that lies ahead. The spirited gathering witnessed the participation of distinguished guests, including Senator the Honourable Dr. Amery Browne, Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago, and Dr. Acolla Lewis Cameron, Dean of UWI's Faculty of Social Sciences. 

In her captivating opening remarks, Dr. Annita Montoute, Interim Director of the IIR, highlighted the transformative impact of such events, fuelling public engagement, knowledge dissemination, and policy advancements. With the global and regional landscape growing increasingly intricate, both Minister Browne and Dr. Lewis Cameron underscored the indispensable role of CARICOM in driving Caribbean integration. Against the backdrop of formidable development challenges, The UWI and the IIR become catalysts of reflection and dialogue, fortifying regional efforts and propelling CARICOM's position as a preeminent regional mechanism. 

Dr. Carla Barnett, CARICOM’s Secretary General, updated participants on CARICOM’s objectives and actions considering the shifting international environment and the evolving development challenges that Caribbean SIDS face - from climate change, economic instability to global hegemonic disputes. 

Participants at a symposium hosted by The UWI Institute of International Relations to commemorate CARICOM’s 50th anniversary

The symposium gathered distinguished Caribbean scholars and representatives in two panels. Chairing Panel One: CARICOM’s Experiences: Achievement and Lessons was Professor Jessica Byron, Former IIR Director. Panellists included Professor Wendy Grenade (St. George’s University), Dr. Terri Ann Gilbert-Roberts (Commonwealth Secretariat) and H.E. Ambassador Ivan Ogando (Dominican Republic, Ambassador to Belgium and Head of Mission to the European Union). Panel Two: Looking Ahead: Prospects and the Way Forward was chaired by Dr. Kai Ann Skeete (Shridath Ramphal Centre for International Trade Law, Policy and Services, UWI Cave Hill Campus). Panellists were Dr. Anthony P. Gonzales (IIR Senior Fellow), Professor Patsy Lewis (Brown University) and Mr. Richard Jones (Caribbean Policy Development Centre). 

They reflected on CARICOM’s achievements as well as challenges in meeting its strategic objective to advance Caribbean development and economic integration. Issues related to the organization’s governance structure, youth participation, foreign policy coordination and functional cooperation were discussed. Interesting proposals were presented to lift CARICOM’s role in the region and reinvigorate its performance after a half century of existence. Read more about the IIR at 


About The University of the West Indies 

The UWI has been and continues to be a pivotal force in every aspect of Caribbean development; residing at the centre of all efforts to improve the well-being of people across the region for the past 75 years. 

From a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948, The UWI is today an internationally respected, global university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and its Open Campus, and global centres in partnership with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe

The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Culture, Creative and Performing Arts, Food and Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities and Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology, Social Sciences, and Sport. As the Caribbean’s leading university, it possesses the largest pool of Caribbean intellect and expertise committed to confronting the critical issues of our region and wider world. 

The UWI has been consistently ranked among the top universities globally by the most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education (THE). The UWI is the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists since its debut in the rankings in 2018. In addition to its leading position in the Caribbean in the World University Rankings, it is also in the top 25 for Latin America and the Caribbean and the top 100 global Golden Age universities (between 50 and 80 years old).  The UWI is also featured among the leading universities on THE’s Impact Rankings for its response to the world’s biggest concerns, outlined in the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Good Health and Wellbeing; Gender Equality and Climate Action. 

2023 marks The UWI’s 75th anniversary. The Diamond jubilee milestone themed “UWI at 75. Rooted. Ready. Rising.” features initiatives purposely designed and aligned to reflect on the past, confront the present, and articulate plans for the future of the regional University. 

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