HC Deb 13 July 1961 vol 644 cc575-6
28. Dame Irene Ward

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in view of the fact that the Customs on the Bahamas are being serviced by personnel of the United States of America, what protection is afforded to British citizens where disagreements arise between United Kingdom nationals and United States officials.

Mr. Iain Macleod

This operates only for passengers going from the Bahamas to the United States, and passengers are perfectly at liberty to defer compliance with American Customs until their arrival in the United States if they wish.

Dame Irene Ward

While thanking my right hon. Friend for that information, will he please answer the question about what happens to British subjects at the Customs? Is he aware that there is a feeling that America has almost absorbed the islands in the Caribbean, and that a little more British would be pleasant for British nationals there?

Mr. Macleod

I think my hon. Friend is, in part, mistaken about this. The Bahamas Customs officials do examine, if they wish, the baggage on arrival or departure in the ordinary way, but, as a convenience—and many other countries, including Canada, for example, do this, too—if people are flying to the United States, they can get pre-clearance of their baggage in the Bahamas, which is a considerable convenience to everyone.

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