HC Deb 27 November 1962 vol 668 cc39-40W
Mr. Maddan

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will make a statement about financial assistance to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago.

Mr. Fisher

I have been asked to reply.

The British Government offered the following financial assistance to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago in connection with its attainment of independence.

  1. ( a) A loan of £1 million. This, like other loans to independent Members of the Commonwealth, would be provided under Section 3 of the Export Guarantees Act to finance British goods and services required for the economic development of the two islands.
  2. (b) A grant equivalent to the allocations of Colonial Development and Welfare funds to Trinidad and Tobago unspent when that country became independent. It is at present estimated that these would amount to about £250,000.
  3. (c) A gift of four Viscount aircraft which are at present leased from B.O.A.C. to British West Indian Airways, thereby relieving the latter airline of payments which would have amounted to about £800,000 over the next four years.

These offers were made in accordance with our general policy towards the provision of financial assistance to Commonwealth countries on the attainment of independence. This policy must have regard both to the many calls on our resources for financial assistance to under-developed countries, and to the needs of the countries concerned in relation to their size and their financial and economic resources.

Hon. Members may have seen Press reports dated 25th November that this offer was rejected by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. Official confirmation of this rejection was subsequently received. The British Government much regret this decision.

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