Following the independence gained by its member states, the Caribbean Trade Organization has focused its efforts on uniting their economies and providing them with a joint presence on the international scene by increasing, diversifying and liberalizing trade among the member states; ensuring fair competition; promoting industrial development and the development of the coconut industry; rationalizing agricultural production; and facilitating marketing of the selected agricultural products.
In 1972 the Caribbean leaders at the Seventh Heads of Government Conference came to a decision to transform the Caribbean Trade Organization into the Common Market as an integral part of the newly established Caribbean Community. Thus, establishment of the Caribbean Community on July 4, 1973 was a turning point in the history of the Caribbean people and the Commonwealth Caribbean. The Common Market and Caribbean Community were established by the Treaty of Chaguaramas, with the four signatories being Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Jamaica and Barbados.
However, with the introduction of the free-trade area, the Caribbean Trade Organization didn't provide for the free capital and labor movement, as well as coordination of industrial, agricultural and foreign policies. The objectives of the community were identified in the Revised Treaty as following: the improvement of living and work standards; full employment of labor and other factors of production; strengthening of economic and trade relations with third States; organization for increased productivity; enhanced international competitiveness; achievement of greater effectiveness of the Community's member states in dealing with third States.
The Caribbean Community and Common Market replaced the Caribbean Trade Organization that has been organized with the aim of providing continued economic links among the English-speaking countries of the Caribbean.
In July 2001 the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community signed a Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that established the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. With the joining of Dutch-speaking Suriname in 1995 and French-speaking Haiti in 2002, the Caribbean Community has changed gradually to become multilingual in practice. Currently the Community has fifteen full members, including Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Saint Vincent, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Jamaica, Haiti, Guyana, Grenada, Dominica, Belize, Barbados, Bahamas and Antigua and Barbuda, and five associate members, namely Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Anguilla, Turks and Caicos Islands and British Virgin Islands.
After revisal of the Treaty of Chaguaramas, the Caribbean Community reorganized itself into a structure, comprised of the following branches: the legislature, represented by the Community Council and such supporting organs as the Council for Finance and Planning, the Council for Foreign and Community Relations and the Council for Human and Social Development; the executive, consisting of the ministerial Chairmanship of CARICOM, the Headquarters Secretariat and the Secretary General; and the judiciary, represented by the Caribbean Court of Justice.