§ Mr. Martyn Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what are the criteria used by his Department for assessing whether or not those working in former British dependencies prior to independence were public officers.
§ Mr. Chris Patten
The term "public officer" does not identify a single group of officers who worked in the former British dependencies. In broad terms, it covers those who worked in a territory's central Government service. But each country's law and administrative procedures have their own variations and exceptions: an assessment of whether an individual was a public officer for any particular purpose can only be made in context.