HC Deb 18 March 1987 vol 112 c918
7. Mr. Pike

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects to be able to set a date for elections for a new administration in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Mr. Eggar

We are studying the report of the Turks and Caicos Islands constitutional commission and its recommendations. On present plans, we hope to publish the report and our response towards the end of April.

Mr. Pike

Does the Minister accept that there is considerable concern over the delay that has followed the announcement of 25 July, that everyone hopes that the timetable that the Minister has now given is adhered to, and that democracy is restored to the islands as soon as possible?

Mr. Eggar

I very much appreciate the hon. Gentleman's point, and I also appreciate the constructive attitude taken by the Labour Front Bench. We are well aware of the pressures referred to by the hon. Gentleman, and we are doing our best to reach a decision and make the necessary publication by the date in question.

Mr. Andrew MacKay

Does the Minister agree that our experience in the Turks and Caicos Islands brings into question the perceived wisdom of automatically allowing independence to small islands and other small dependencies?

Mr. Eggar

As my hon. Friend is aware, a review of our policy on dependent territories is taking place, and we have his point very much in mind.