HC Deb 25 February 1965 vol 707 cc141-2W
67. Mr. Fisher

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement following his official visit to the Caribbean.

Mr. Greenwood

Between 31st January and 10th February I visited in turn Barbados, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Antigua, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Grenada, returning to Barbados. In each territory I was able to meet Ministers and leading political and other personalities and to hear their views on federation. I also had discussions with the Governor of Barbados and with the Administrators.

The Regional Council of Ministers had decided to release to the public, immediately before my return visit to Barbados, the Draft Federal Scheme which they had themselves prepared, together with the reservations which some Governments still have on a number of points. I had agreed to the publication at the same time of certain correspondence between my predecessor and the Chairman of the Regional Council of Ministers, along with related correspondence between the Chairman and the Governments concerned. Copies of all the documents published have been placed in the Library of the House.

I intend to let the Governments have Her Majesty's Government's views on the Draft Scheme and the reservations at an early date, so that they may be taken into consideration when the Regional Council meets again to discuss the Draft Scheme further. I understand the Council is to meet for this purpose in April. Although there are still substantial differences of view, from the discussions which I have had I do not think that they are irreconcilable. I would hope that enough progress could be made at the next Council meeting to warrant arranging a Conference in London at the earliest date thereafter convenient to all.

I also visited Grenada and heard the views of both the Government and Opposition on the future of that territory.

On my way to British Guiana I paid a courtesy call on Dr. Williams, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.

I have already made a statement on my visit to British Guiana in reply to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Exchange (Mr. Will Griffiths).