HC Deb 24 March 1964 vol 692 cc234-5
17. Mr. Chapman

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies when further meetings of the territorial Ministers and representatives of Her Majesty's Government are to take place in order to make progress towards the proposed East Caribbean federation.

Mr. Sandys

I have proposed to the Governments of these territories that we should have a meeting in London in April to discuss this matter further. I have not yet received their replies.

Mr. Chapman

If there is to be further delay—and there has already been a great deal of delay—would the right hon. Gentleman, first of all, bear in mind the possibility—indeed, the importance—of consulting the other leaders of the West Indies who all met in summit conference, particularly as Trinidad is involved with the future of Grenada, one of the territories in question? Secondly, will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind the idea of the consortium which has been proposed on this side of the House and which was also proposed at the summit meeting in the West Indies—a consortium of nations—Canada, the United States and ourselves—to help put these islands on their feet economically? Thirdly, if there is to be further delay, would the right hon. Gentleman meet a deputation from all parties, through the British Caribbean Association, including business interests, which are very worried about the delay in bringing this idea to fruition?

Mr. Sandys

I am, of course, happy to meet Members of Parliament who wish to discuss this matter with me. As regards the consortium, naturally economic aid from any quarter would be exceedingly welcome in this area. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that I am keeping in close touch with the Governments of the two independent Caribbean Commonwealth countries.

Mr. Bottomley

Can the right hon. Gentleman say when the invitation to the conference in April was sent to the countries concerned?

Mr. Sandys

I should think about a month ago.

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