HC Deb 18 February 1976 vol 905 cc1264-5
3. Mr. Lane

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement on the progress of British Caribbean territories towards independence.

The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Edward Rowlands)

Constitutional advances have been or are being introduced in Montserrat, Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos. The Premiers of the West Indies Associated States recently agreed amongst themselves that they should seek full independence at an early date. Preliminary discussions on this are now taking place with the Premiers.

Mr. Lane

Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that it may be wise to make haste slowly in giving independence to some of the smaller islands if these territories are to have the best chance of political and economic prosperity after independence?

Mr. Rowlands

We shall proceed at the pace at which the islands themselves wish to proceed.

Mr. Marten

What is the precise position about Anguilla these days?

Mr. Rowlands

The Anguilla constitution is now in force. If there are any further discussions about independence for St. Kitts and Nevis, the question of Anguilla will have to be taken into account and the wishes of the islanders will be respected.

Back to
Forward to