HC Deb 05 December 1967 vol 755 cc1114-6
5. Sir J. Rodgers

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs if he is yet in a position to make a further statement on the relationship between Anguilla and St. Kitts.

6. Mr. Marten

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the latest situation in St. Kitts.

Mr. George Thomson

Anguilla is part of the unitary State of St. Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla. Responsibility for the internal government of this associated State, including the arrangements for the administration of its constituent parts, lies with the State authorities and not with Her Majesty's Government.

Sir J. Rodgers

Is the Secretary of State aware that five men were acquitted on a trumped-up charge of trying to overthrow the Government, that Mr. Bradshaw rushed through an emergency meeting of the Assembly and passed a resolution of no confidence in the island's administration of justice? Is he further aware that the Chief Justice of the Caribbean Association of States accused the St. Kitts Government of contempt of court, prejudicing fair trial, and impeaching the trial judge? Is it any wonder that Anguilla does not wish to be associated with St. Kitts at this moment?

Mr. Thomson

Yes, I am aware of all the very serious matters the hon. Member has just described. They do not, however, come within the responsibility of Her Majesty's Government. What we are seeking to do to assist in this matter is sending out a small all-party Parliamentary delegation which I think owes something to the hon. Members encouragement and inspiration. That small delegation has now reached the Caribbean and the right thing to do at the moment is to give it a chance of getting down to work.

Mr. Marten

Nevertheless, as St. Kitts is an associated State, have the Government made a statement on this really disgusting treatment of the judges—a moral protest even—to the Government of St. Kitts? When the mission returns, will the Government consider the question of associating, perhaps in some temporary way, Anguilla with the British Virgin Islands?

Mr. Thomson

I think the right thing to do is to allow the Parliamentary delegation to get there and to see what it can do on the ground and then to come back to report to the House.

Mr. Turton

As a British subject was released by order of the Government and then rearrested and deported, surely the right hon. Gentleman has a responsibility? Could not the Parliamentary delegation going into Anguilla discuss with the Prime Minister of St. Kitts matters affecting this country and British subjects?

Mr. Thomson

I am sure the right hon. Gentleman can rely on the Parliamentary delegation to discuss all these matters, including matters which are causing concern in this country. In regard to the personal case of the gentleman who has just been mentioned, I understand that he has started legal proceedings so it would be improper for me to comment on the merits of that.

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