Dissertations and Theses

Date of Award


Document Type



International Relations


Sovereignty, Common Firsheries, Caricom


The hypothesis which guides this thesis is that successful integration cannot be achieved so long as member states of a regional grouping are unwilling to subordinate the individual interest to the collective interest. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) – which is the second oldest regional institution in the Western Hemisphere – is the central focus of the work. In order to assess this hypothesis, the study first discusses the relevant integration literature, and then addresses the issue of individual vs. collective interests in CARICOM overall. Next it examines the specific functional area of fisheries which effectively illustrates the complexity of this dilemma. For nine years, member states have tried unsuccessfully to forge a Common Fisheries Policy and Regime to more effectively manage the region’s maritime resources. However, such an arrangement carries implications regarding perceived loss of sovereignty over portions of their Exclusive Economic Zones and this, inter alia, has kept member states from being able to unite on this issue. Boundary delimitation challenges, diverging national positions regarding the right of access to third party vessels and the lack of willingness to grant necessary powers to the implementing agency have also been shown to contribute to the lack of progress. In April 2011, an agreement on a common fisheries policy was finally established. However, given the considerably reduced reach of this agreement, the study concludes that CARICOM has continued to function as a regional group of independent states, in which maintenance of national sovereignty takes precedence over collective interest. Therefore, while committed in principle to deepening integration, the political leadership maintains a state-centric view that has compromised CARICOM’s effectiveness as a regional entity.



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