BRITAIN AND ITS DEPENDDENCIES IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE

Created: 10/29/1965

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BRITAIN AND ITS DEPENDENCIES IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE

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BRITAIN AND ITS DEPENDENCIES IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE

The UKurrently moving ahead In two of its American dependencies- British Guiana and theend or reduce its colonialwberelittle ia it stake for British trade or foreign policy. In constitutional talks .beginningovember ln London, the Wilsonwill try to clear tbe way for fullfor British Guiana. UK officials alao are holding discussions with the leaders of the Vsaall Islands of the Windward and Leewardn an attempt to push them attep toward [independence by linking them ln an "associated status" witb the UK. Barbados is pressing for complete Independence for itself.

Even If it becomes an independent political entity, British Guiana will be dependent oneconomic help for some time. The westIslands are likely to be even more dependent economically unless they unite politically, which their leaders will not agree to do. Thus, despite lis current efforts, the UK will probably beto free itself of responsibilities forpolitical and economic stability in this area for eome time to come.

Constitutional Talks

British Guiana hasolitical headacherain on UK economic and militaryfor many years. Theare therefore anxious to have the London conferenceate6 for tbe colony's The conference will try to lay the foundation forIn the newbe called "Guyana." The absence of an adequate native security force and the lack of economic however, will make Iton outalde assistance-British ormany years to come.

Political leaders ln British Guiana are far froa united ln their views of what thefor Independence should be.esult of the deep and bitter anlaosltlea between the Easthalf of the population and theercent who are wholly or partially Negro, political forcea hav split along racial lines and the colony hasistory of strife and disorder. Although the ten-month-old coalition government of Premier Linden Forbes Sampsonegro with socialist views, and Peterealthy conservative of Portuguese ancestry, has managed to provide relative stability, tbe East

BRITISH GUIANA and BRITISH WEST INDIES >

Indians, led by pro-Communist ex-Premier Cbeddl Jagan, could bring this to an end at any time. Tbe East Indians fear that tbey vould be persecuted inoverned mainly by Negroes. Japan's People's Progressive Party (PPP) has threatened violence to sake con-dltionsso unstable as to deter the British from grantingwhile the present Is in power.

Burnham and bis People's National Congress (PNC) willimmediate Independence at the constitutional conference, Not the least of Burnbam's reasons for doing so Is his reportedthat once free fro* British restraint, he will be able to use tougher Measures to keep the PPP under control tnd to prevent It from regaining power. Burnham's confidence that he can handle tbe problems of Independence may rest somewhat on an assumption that since he Is anti-Communist, the British or the Americans will ball him out If beany serious threat to bis regime.

The PPP, if it drops its present threat to boycott tbe conference, will make everythere to ensure that the present government Is not In power on independence day. It will, therefore, demand that new elections be held beforeis granted. The party will alsohange ln the voting age from 21 tond will ask that proportional representa-

tlon be abandonedimple majoritywhich would

favor the numerically superior

East Indians. The party can seek to delay Independenceost ofsuch as correction of racial In tbe security forces, removal of foreign troops and military bases, "democratization" of Institutions dealing with law and order, and an end to the state ofmet before It will agree to an independence date. If these conditions are not met, the PPP might walk out of tbe conference and thus set the stage for acts of violence which it would rationalize as necessary to prevent independence from being granted under "unjust" conditions set up by the It Is also possible that the PPP will bide its time, wait for the postindependenceof British troops, and then attempt to overthrow the by force.

The Dnlted Forcehe minority party ln the coalition government, may also have some proposals to push at tbe Its leader, Peter D' Agular, distrusts Burnham's Tbe two men haveairly stormy relationship since achieving power. This has been due to both political anddifferences and hason at least one occasion In D'Aguiar's nearly resigning. Therefore, at the conference the OT mayonstitutionalensuring that if one partyoalition government resigns, the remaining party mustew election be held. He may also seek to have procedures for consultation specified In tbe new constitution. To ensure that Burnham does not attempt to rig

the next election so that bis partyajority, d'agular sight suggest that it beand guaranteed by foreign powers.

every effort will be made to convince burnham that be needs tbe uf to maintain bis gov*-ernment, but it is highlythat he or the british will agree either to foreign electoral supervision or to the propositionovernment must resign if it loses one of its coalition members.

economic problems

in addition to political quarrels and racial problems british guiana is also troubled by poor economic conditions. hasnd gnp has declinedto population growth. the present government has been able to attract some investment, the economy still dependsarge extent oo the relatively unfavorable rice and sugar markets. even if political independence is achieved, "guyana" will need sizable amounts of foreignaid if it is to for this reason finance minister d'aguiar wants the country to keep as many ties with the united kingdom as possible, including retention of the queen as its constitutional monarch.

although premier burnham realizes the economic advantages of commonwealth membership, be would prefer for prestige reasons to establish "guyana" as afrom the outset. however,

in tbe interest ofommon position on this at the conference, tbe two men haveagreed to ask that "guyana"onarchyovernor general for at least tbe first three and one-half years of nationhood. changeepublic couldbe accomplished by an act of tbe assembly, but only after the next national election. this would have to be held no later than three years after ln* dependence or five years after the last general election,came earlier.

outlook for independent "guyana**

it now appears that if the ppp goes to london it may walk out of theew sessions,to british guiana, anda trial campaign ofln order to delay so strong is tbe desire of the british to divestof their colonial responsl bllity that they will probably agree to set an independence date at the conference and will assure burnham of military support to put down any ppp-inspired

as long as british troops remain ln tbe colony tbey should be able to quell any foreseeable violence but after independence, when tbe british depart,an present security force would not be equal to tbe task. if large-scaleshould commence, thee the government would have to ask for help from tbe british or the uspossibly from the oas, if

the new country ahould Join that organization.

A call for help would also cone if serious trouble developed over the claim Venezuela has been pressing to the western two tbirds of British Guiana's The possibility ofaggression appears remote, but the territorialhich stems fromecome more heated recently because of the growing interest of several oil companies ln tbe disputed it promises to be tbe Guianese Government's thorniest foreign relations problem.

The West Indies

The political future of tbe Leeward and Windward Islands has been uncertain since theof the former Federation of the West Indies onhen Jamaica and Trinidadto become independent on their own. In addition to Jamaica and Trinidad, thehad been composed of the crown colonies of Barbados. Grenada, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Dominica, llontserratSt. Chris-topher-Nevls-Angullla, andplus some smaller islands.

2 various attempts have been made toew Caribbean federation. In its earlier stages the plan was to settrong centralwith its capital inand with certainamong thecustoms.unity, and sharedandwould make the islands economically

more viable and less vulnerable to outside political influences,

British policy was based on tbe belief that unless awas formed soon, Barbados and possibly Antigua would opt for independence on their own. Tbe British intended to grant the federation independenceptrong central government was established in Barbados, Its natural economic and political leader. However, politicaIwere unwilling to give up any important political andpom^teentralor to undertake thecosts of supporting one. Furthermore, Barbados Premier Barrow was reluctant to agree to any arrangement requiring his Island to contribute to theof the others. Barrow also feared that Barbados* highwould be aggravated by an Influx of unemployed from the other islands, Sucbprevented progress along

this line.

Economic Background

With the exception ofand possibly Antigua, none of the island dependencies is self-supporting economicslly and none has any prospect ofso in the foreseeable future.otentially Important industry, has so far beenextensively only loand Antigua. The islands are over-populated, and there are limited opportunities for either employment or emigration.

Although such an economic set ting is conducive to exploitation

by subversive elements, there has thus far been little of tbls ln the Islands. The potential is there, however, and trade unions and youth groups are especially susceptible. In Antigua tba British adalnlatrator baaconcern thatin the sugar Industry might provoke unrest. Ineftlat-orlented leader has been trying to organize the trade unionsolitical force. Jackonfidant and foraer private secretary to Cheddl Jagan, was expelled from Grenada in4 forpolitical activities.

Although it has been the stated public policy of the UK to remove this area from colonial status, Britain has never given the islands any firm commitment aa to what assistance, beyond5 million in grants-in-aid and developmental assistance now provided then annually, it would be willing to give in the future to assure economicIf they did gettudy carried out at theof the Colonial Office3 estimated that thecould become economically viable if budgetary In the amountere provided during thedecade. Since the report has coae to be regarded lnajor standard by which tbe future economicare to be Judged, most specifically the adequacy of UK or other econoalc assistance following Independence.

InS, tbe UKthat It was settingnit of tbe Ministry ofDevelopment In the Caribbean to advise the UK on th*and economic aspects of Ita aid program to the dependent areas. Theonference ofleaders, and waso encourage thea to think that expanded aid would be forthcoming If they reconciled their differences on the British draft proposals for an Eastern Caribbean federation. If this was th* intention it was not successful and the conference dissolved ln bitter discord.

The British have been about committingto large-scalein the Caribbean for an indefinite time and haveto Involve the US, and particularly Canada, by pushingripartite econoalcof the Eastern Caribbean. The purpose of theIs scheduled to commence Into formulate plans for achievement of economicand technical development and to suggest priorities for the next five years. The study will pay particular attention to available resources, the likely scale of private lnvestaent both local and from abroad, and possibilities for further *co-noraic cooperation among th*

Recent Efforts

During bis visit to the Caribbean territories In February

UK Colonial SecretaryGreenwood reiterated the needtrong centraland appealed for the of differencesthe islands preparatoryonference to be scheduled for tbe lumwr5 to drawederal constitution and arrange for subsequent independence.

Greenwood'5 appeal fell on deaf ears. The chief minister of Antigua, who had long-standing reservations about the proposed constitution, refused to attend tbe April meeting of Island which was to prepare for the conference. The government of St. Lucia agreed to attend butIt wouldtronggovernment only If it were centered ln St. Lucia and If tbe formation resulted ln clearbenefits to St. Lucia. the feud between St. Lucia and Barbados brought themeetingear fiasco, plansonstitutionalln the summer were abandoned.

Premier Barrow, who for three years has publicly stated that he will seek Independence either with or without a hite paper Instating his government'sto press ahead with plans for independence. Inheesolution ln the Barbadian House of Assembly calling for independencearrow is confident that despite evidence of opposition to his plans for independence alone, tbe resolution will be passed. Barrow privatelyS official that while beederatioolat at heart, be waa convinced federationonstarter for the foreseeable future.

Present Brltlah Positing

The British, faced with the collapse of their plansederation, have considered and rejected separate Independence for eachof the economic dependence of the islands on Britain. Instead they have fastened onfor Barbados and aln modified dependency status for the other Islands. Antigua, Honserrat, and St. Lucia would reaain tied to the UK despite the feelers they have put out to various Canadian officialsthe possibility ofassociated ln some way with Canada after achievingand political Independence.

The new British position arises from the pressure from Barbados for independence, aa well as from the antlcolonlallst urglngs of the newly Independent African and Asian nations, and from the United Nations and Its special Committee The UK la seeking arrangements which will ensure responsible behavior by the territories and stillto end the colonial Accordingly, is now visiting the islands, to see If they will agree to London's proposal that they be-cone "states in association with Britain."

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