Cricket is a boon to the enjoyment of spectator-sport by the British and the Caribbeans like no other game. When you get sport uniting people, it becomes a testament of how people can actually live together.
No greater place has this been manifested than the 15-member Carribean Community (CARICOM), established in 1973, where visas are freely available to CARICOM nationals who belong to the so-called "single domestic space":
Recipients of the visa are entitled to move freely through the 10 Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries comprising the Single Domestic Space which was established to facilitate visitors for Cricket World Cup 2007.
Air and sea passengers travelling between Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago now do so with minimal delays at the immigration counter. The measure remains in place until May 15, 2007.
We learn from the above-article that the space was created to "facilitate" visitors for the Cricket World Cup, which, according to a New Zealand-based website covering the Cricket World Cup
will take place in the Caribbean from 5 March to 28 April 2007. The games, including warm up matches, will be held in nine different countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago
The article maintains:
A CARICOM Special Visa is required for the period 1 February to 15 May 2007 by all New Zealanders travelling to the region, including for the Cricket World Cup.
As to whether this CARICOM visa will now be an established thing is unclear, but what is clear, arguably, is that Cricket has set a precedent for regional integration.
At least, that is the simplistic version.
The other, more complicated version is that because it looks like a provisional measure for the Cricket World Cup, there is, ofcourse, little political discussion on the implications for the region of CARICOM.
stringent screening procedures have ensured that only valid, thoroughly-screened applicants receive visas [and] As a consequence, 732 applications have so far been denied...
suggests that any talk about an institutionalisation of the visa as a permanent feature of how CARICOM nationals and citizens move round is far from being on the table.
It looks like beyond the 15 May deadline, the special space for the CARICOM will no longer be in use. This prompts the question of why not, like ECOWAS, go ahead and make permanent the "single domestic space"?
I'm very happy with the CARICOM website. Other regional organisations could learn quite a bit from them! In all seriousness, when you check the website, you read about "The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), which is facilitating the Special Visa".
The interesting thing about this agency is this:
IMPACS was established as the implementation arm of a new Regional Architecture for the development and management of the CARICOM Regional Action Agenda on Crime and Security issues. IMPACS is headed by an Executive Director and reports to the CARICOM Council of Ministers responsible for National Security and Law and Enforcement.
IMPACS executes a broad portfolio which ranges from project management to research and resource mobilisation. Its overall objective is to enhance the individual and collective capacity of CARICOM member states to control crime and effectively participate in international counter crime and security initiatives
It is a given that any regional integration that takes into account the securing of its nationals and citizens is a region that is serious.