YEAR 2023 No 1

ISSN 2182-9845

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) — Culture

Elina Moustaira


Cultural heritage; Slave trade; Cultural tourism; Languages; Caribbean court of justice; University of the West Indies; Legal cultures.


The role of culture in Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM’s) agenda is claimed to be very important. The CARICOM Secretariat has a culture program, aiming to strengthen the creativity of people. CARICOM annually manages the Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA). A huge issue is that of the cultural restitutions. Most CARICOM Member States have become States Parties to International Conventions related to cultural heritage. Sadly, all international Conventions concerning protection of cultural heritage do not have retroactive effect. There is also a CARICOM commission on reparations for slavery and native genocide against the governments of Britain, France and the Netherlands, the transatlantic slave trade, between the 16th to 19th centuries, being much associated with the Caribbean heritage. Languages are important for the cultural identity of people. It may be stated on CARICOM’s site that “Our languages are part of the legacy of the various civilisations from which our ancestors came”, but it is also stated that “[f]or many member states, the English Language is a major unifying factor”. Indigenous languages should be of more concern to CARICOM. The creation of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in 2005, is considered very important toward the Caribbean integration and thus, also to the protection of the region’s culture and cultural heritage – important part of their identity. However, only 4 Member States so far have accepted the CCJ as their Highest Court of Appeal. CARICOM should be more active in regard to the protection of culture and cultural heritage of its Member States. 

Table of contents

1. Creation of CARICOM
2. Culture – Cultural Heritage – Indigenous Rights
3. Specific Cultural Issues
3.1. Cultural Tourism - Built Heritage
3.2. Cultural Industries
3.3. Slave Trade
4. Language and Names – Their importance for the cultural identity of the people
5. Culture and Law – Legal Cultures
5.1. Caribbean Court of Justice
5.2. University of the West Indies – Caribbean Legal Systems
6. Conclusion