HC Deb 02 November 1966 vol 735 cc522-3

Considered in Committee; reported, without Amendment.

6.45 p.m.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. John Stonehouse)

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

I am very happy to participate in this debate as, unfortunately, I was unable to be here on Friday as I was on my way back from the Seychelles. The Barbados Conference, in June and July, in which I participated, agreed the main outline of the independence constitution and, as the House is aware, there will be a General Election in Barbados tomorrow which will decide which of the various political groups will provide the administration for an independent Barbados. It will be the desire of the House to say to the people of Barbados, what ever decision is reached tomorrow, that we wish them well in their independence.

I want to make it clear that, although when Barbados becomes independent it will not qualify for the usual Colonial Development and Welfare Act grants, it has been agreed that an amount equivalent to the unspent balance of the grants will be made available subject to not more than £150,000 being spent in the financial year 1967–68. It has also been agreed that the aid for the Barbados College of Arts and Science of £250,000 up to July, 1969, will also be made available. We are also willing to continue to provide Barbados with technical assistance under the various programmes that have been agreed. Therefore, although Barbados will become independent at the end of this month, we hope that these economic ties will continue.

I think that it has been generally shown by the good will revealed during the debate on the Bill that it is the desire of the whole House and of the country to wish Barbados well in its independence, which it justly deserves and which it will achieve at the end of this month.

6.47 p.m.

Mr. Richard Wood (Bridlington)

There were moments when some of us were rather nervous whether the Under-Secretary of State would be able to participate in this debate. If he had not been exceptionally quick on his feet he might not have been able to catch your eye, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

I, too, was unable to be present at the debate on Friday, and I should like to join him in wishing the new nation of Barbados a future of stability, prosperity and expansion. Much to my regret, I have never been fortunate enough to visit Barbados, but I have met a number of people from that new nation, as it will be at the end of this month, and I have often been downcast as I have watched the superb brilliance of its cricketers in this country.

I join the Under-Secretary of State in wishing this new nation well and in expressing the hope, which was also expressed on Second Reading, that this new constitutional development, which will be completed at the end of this month, will be the forerunner of wider constitutional development in that part of the world. I therefore sincerely welcome the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.