Grenada: CARIFTA

The featured image is of a stamp from the Grenada 1969 issue commemorating the now defunct Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) Expo event in April 1969. Grenada had joined CARIFTA in July 1968. However, despite the apparent success in improving trade relations between the various Caribbean islands, CARIFTA was wound up in mid-1974. The 60c stamp is one of four in the issue also including denominations of 5c, 15c and 50c.

As countries of the Caribbean were moving towards independence from the United Kingdom in the 1960s discussions began on establishing a free trade agreement modelled on the 1960 European Free Trade Association Agreement. An initial CARIFTA agreement was signed on 15 December 1965 between Antigua (now Antigua & Barbuda), Barbados and British Guiana (now Guyana) – known as the Agreement of Dickenson Bay (Antigua). The free trade area was to be created in May 1967 but was postponed to allow Trinidad and Tobago to be included. The new CARIFTA agreement eventually came into effect on 1 May 1968 with the participation of Antigua, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana. Within a few months Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent, Jamaica and Montserrat had joined. British Honduras (now Belize) joined in May 1971.

Grenada 1969 CARIFTA Expo 69 Commemorative Stamp Issue
Grenada 1969 CARIFTA Expo 69 Commemorative Issue

Intra-CARIFTA imports and exports rose more than four-fold compared to 1966 levels. However, by 1973 CARIFTA was superseded by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), an attempt to establish a Common Market. Grenada officially left CARIFTA in October 1974. CARIFTA left several legacies including several common institutions and youth athletics events such as the CARIFTA Games.

Grenada 1969 60c Surch. of $2 on stamp issue commemorating Mexico '68 Olympics
Grenada 1969 60c Surch. of $2 on issue commemorating Mexico ’68 Olympics

Two of the stamps in the 1969 postal stamp issue feature the portrait of Dame Hilda Bynoe, who was Governor of Grenada at the time of the CARIFTA Expo and the first woman Governor of a Commonwealth of Nations country. The other of 15c denomination, features the portrait of Sir Eric Matthew Gairy, the premier of pre-independence Grenada. Gairy would go on to become the first Prime Minister of Grenada, serving from independence in 1974 until his overthrow in a coup by Maurice Bishop in 1979. As well as the commemoratives issued in May 1969, an earlier issue of stamps commemorating the Mexico Olympics of 1968 were surcharged with overprints including the text ‘VISIT CARIFTA EXPO ’69 April 5-30’.

To view postal issues of Grenada, please visit the M&S Philately HipStamp store.

Published by nigelmandsphilatelycom

Nigel Matthews has been a philatelist for more than 30 years. He has a particular interest in the postal history of the Caribbean including associated British Commonwealth countries (incl. Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Leeward Islands, Monserrat, St Lucia, St Vincent, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos) as well as Cuba, Danish West Indies, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Martinique, Netherlands Antilles and Puerto Rico.

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