HC Deb 06 March 1957 vol 566 cc63-4W
75. Sir R. Robinson

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps still remain to be taken before the West Indies Federation becomes effective.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I am happy to be able to report that since the passing of the British Caribbean Federation Act in August, 1956, much progress has been made towards bringing the Federation into being.

2. The Standing Federation Committee set up by the London Conference of February, 1956, has already got through an important amount of business and is continuing to meet as occasion arises. Having decided on Trinidad for the location of the Federal Capital it will, at its next meeting in April, go on to consider the report of a Sub-Committee on the choice of site within the Colony and on plans for temporary accommodation.

A budget for preliminary federal expenditure will also be considered by the Committee at its next meeting. The Committee has decided on the main structure of the Federal Civil Service. A Pre-federal Secretariat was established in Barbados last autumn and a number of key officials are already in post. Further appointments will be made to secure the existence from the outset of machinery for the conduct of Federal business.

3. The Standing Federation Committee has also studied proposals for a draft Order in Council, to be made under Section 1 of the British Caribbean Federation Act, which will embody the Federal constitution and which I expect to be laid in draft before Parliament for affirmative Resolutions in both Houses within the next few months.

4. When the Governor-General has been appointed and has taken up office in the latter part of 1957 the Interim Federal Government will come into being. At this initial stage the Governor-General will be advised by the Standing Federation Committee, but among the first tasks of the Interim Government will be preparation for Federal Elections in the first quarter of 1958. With the opening of the first sessions of the two Houses of the Federal Legislature, and the appointment of a Prime Minister and a Council of State, the Federal Constitution will come fully into operation.