CARICOM Day is a public holiday in Guyana and in many other Caribbean-area nations, specifically those who have joined the economic cooperation organisation known as CARICOM (Caribbean Community).
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In Guyana, it is an off-work day and is celebrated on the first Monday in July.
Guyana became one of the founding members of CARICOM when it signed the Treaty of Chaguaramas on July 4th, 1973, and today, CARICOM headquarters is located in Georgetown, Guyana’s capital city. CARICOM began as a community of English-speaking Caribbean nations only but has since expanded to include Dutch and French speaking countries. It now has 15 member-states and seeks to promote economic advancement for the least-developed nations of the Caribbean in an environmentally responsible way.
Guyana ranks among the poorest nations in South America and is, therefore, a worthy recipient of CARICOM aid. However, its rich mineral wealth and other natural resources have combined with the manufacturing and construction sectors to make Guyana a fast-growing if still somewhat backward economy. Between 2000 and 2007, the economy grew at only two percent annually, but from 2008 on, four percent has been normal. The Guyanese government is committed to improving the plight of the nation’s poor, no less committed than is CARICOM on a Caribbean-wide basis.
If in Guyana for CARICOM day, some activities you might want to engage in include:
- Attend on of the many beach parties on or just prior to CARICOM Day. There are often accompanying music festivals with a wide variety of music styles being represented.
- Watch the Wheat Up CARICOM Day Cycling Classic. This thirty-lap bike race is fun to observe, and the winners walk away with cash prizes, trophies, and year’s supply of “Wheat Up.”
- Visit the Guyana National Museum. There are numerous exhibits that put on display Guyana’s rich biodiversity and cultural diversity.
- Hike on Mount Roraima, a 1,300-foot high plateau with numerous unique plant species, unique animals like the Roraima bush toad, and some of the world’s most elevated waterfalls.
- Walk on the rope bridges of the Iwokrama Forest. You will be touring the depths of an immense rain forest with a 70 to 100 foot high canopy. There are several threatened species that dwell here, including the Giant Anteater. The forest is also home to 420 species of fish, 90 species of bats, and over 500 species of birds.
If in Guyana on CARICOM Day, you will find that many people are off work and out at the beach or another location joining in official festivities. You can join them, but you can also explore Guyana’s vast natural treasures, learn of its unique history, and experience life in a nation so unique it almost seems like a “micro-world” of its own.