ANGUILLA: THE ANATOMY OF DECOLONIZATION

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 I PERSPECTIVES

(i) 1825, March 10: Address from the inhabitants of Anguilla to Governor Maxwell. (Maxwell to Earl Bathurst, June 18, 1825, dispatch no. 171, Colonial Office Records).

An act had recently been passed reducing the power of the Anguillian local council and transferring certain governmental powers to St. Kitts. The inhabitants protested: “Can we indulge a hope that laws enacted particularly for this community, can or will be made with much regard to its interests, when they are to be passed by a body of men living in a distinct and remote Island, possessing no property of any kind here and having no connexion or relation whatever?”

(ii) 1873, August 23:

Colonial Office 71/192, Public Re-cords Office.

More than 100 Anguillians petitioned the Colonial Office in favour of crown colony government and against being ruled by St. Kitts. Petitioners claimed that Anguillian trade had been curtailed and that duties had become exorbitant under the St. Kitts regime; “The interests of Anguilla, its resources, and capabilities of development are not understood ……. by the Legislative body of St. Christopher who are utter strangers to us, ignorant of the community, careless of their wants, and therefore unequal to discharge the important duties of legislation for us…… This legislative dependence on St. Kitts can in no sense be called a legislative union, has operated, and continues to operate most injuriously against us, and is mutually disliked.”

In 1873 the Leeward Islands had federated for the second time in their history. Anguilla was not even mentioned in the Leeward Islands Federation Act, and had no representative in the Federal Legislature.

(iii) 1905: report on Anguilla by the magistrate, Dr. G. B. Mason, May 6, 1905. (C. C. Knolleys, letter file, Colonial Office Records, Leeward Islands, June 30, 1905).

This report describes the economic situation in Anguilla at some length and characterizes the Anguillians as follows: “They resemble the best Barbadian type in their independence, and hard-working qualities …… They have a great respect for the law, and are very fond of litigation, they will spare their last penny on the satisfaction to be found in law. They have a keen sense of justice.”

(iv) 1967: REPORT OF CONFERENCE ON ANGUILLA

 

  1. Following the consideration of the report of the fact-finding Mission of Commonwealth Caribbean officials which visited St. Kitts and Anguilla from 28th June to 4th July, 1967, Governments of these countries agreed to convene a conference of Ministers to resolve the Anguilla crisis. The Conference began in Bridgetown, Barbados, on 25th July and had plenary sessions on Saturday, 29th and Sunday, 30th July, 1967, at Government Headquarters.
  2. Premier Robert Bradshaw, with Mr. Eugene Walwyn, representing the Government of St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla, arrived on Monday, 24th July, as did a delegation from Anguilla, headed by Mr. Peter Adams, M.P., and including Mr. Walter Hodge, Mr. Claude Richardson and Mr. Emil Gumbs. The Ministers from the four Caribbean Commonwealth Governments assembled in Barbados on Tuesday, 25th July, and were joined on Wednesday, 26th July, by British Minister of State for Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Gordon Shepherd, P.C. The delegations were accompanied by advisers. A full list of participants appear in Appendix IV.
  3. During the week a series of meetings were held aimed at finding acceptable solutions to problems which have arisen in the Associated State of St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla. These meetings took the form of separate discussions between the delegations and included an intensive examination of the constitutional provisions, as well as the possibilities with regard to economic development and economic assistance for St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla from the British Government.
  4. The first formal meeting with all delegations was convened at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, 29th July, at Government Headquarters, under the chairmanship of Mr. Cameron Tudor, Deputy Prime Minister of Barbados and Minister of Education. The meeting adjourned to allow additional members of the Anguillan Committee to attend the conference on Sunday, 30th July. This second meeting however, reconvened on Monday, 31st July. The additional members of the Committee who joined the Conference were Mr. R. Webster and Mr. J. R. Rogers and they were accompanied by Mr. A. Harrigan, Mr. A. Webster and Mr. J. Gumbs.   At this second meeting the conference resumed consideration of agreed proposals presented by Commonwealth Caribbean Members for the removal of the present impasse between the residents of Anguilla and the Government of St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla and the return to constitutional government.
  5. The conference also considered recommendations and plans for the economic development of the territory with particular reference to the needs of Anguilla, which were put forward by United Kingdom. The proposals for economic assistance reflected the recognition by the United Kingdom of the urgent need for assistance to the Associated State and its willingness to contribute to the development of infrastructure. The United Kingdom Government’s offer of economic assistance was made on the condition that there would be an immediate return to normal constitutional relationship between Anguilla and the Government of St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla.
  6. Points of Agreement
    Following the acknowledgement by a majority of the members of the Anguillan delegation that there must be an immediate return to constitutional rule in Anguilla, the arrangements for Local Government, aid and other matters mentioned below were considered and approved by the Conference.
  7. The Council for Anguilla
    The Council for Anguilla is established by the Constitution. The Government of St. Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla will secure enactment of legislation containing detailed provisions for the Council of Anguilla as set out in the draft Bill on Appendix I with the modifications recommended in Appendix II.
  8. This legislation will be enacted and elections held as speedily as possible. Pending the bringing into force of the legislation and the holding of elections to the Council, the following persons will be recommended for appointment as members of the Council for Anguilla under section 109 of the Constitution, i.e.,-  Peter Adams,
    – Walter Hodge,
    – Emile Gumbs,
    – Philip Lloyd,
    – Wallance Richardson
  9. Amendments to the new local Government Legislation
    It is recommended in the note at Appendix II that certain provisions of the law relating to the Council for Anguilla should be entrenched and that a constitutional amendment should be made for this purpose. The Government of the State felt unable to accept this recommendation, but instead gave the firm undertaking that the provisions of the new Local Government legislation relating to the Councils of Anguilla and Nevis would not be altered without the approval of the Council concerned. A statement acknowledging the Government’s assurances in this respect will be contained in a preamble to the legislation.
  10. The Government of St. Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla undertook to give consideration to the recommendation contained in Appendix II that there should be a Minister for Anguillan Affairs. The Government also undertook to give consideration to the recommendation in Appendix II for the participation of the Local Councils in regulatory functions which are essentially of a local character and also the establishment of administrative arrangements for consultation with the Local Government Council in regard to the development of Crown Lands in Anguilla.

    Transitional arrangements for return to constitutional rule
  11. Amnesty: No criminal proceedings will be taken against any person in connection with political action against the State Government or British Government during the period from 30th May until today, but this amnesty will not extend to criminal offences committed outside Anguilla.
  12. Warden: A new Warden will be appointed for Anguilla. The Commonwealth Caribbean Governments undertook to give assistance in the recruitment of a suitable person.
  13. Police: Provided that there is an orderly return to lawful government, the strength of the detachment of the State Police Force stationed in Anguilla during the initial stages of the return to constitutional rule will not be greater than the detachment maintained in Anguilla in recent years.
  14. Peace-Keeping Force: A force consisting of police officers provided by the Commonwealth Caribbean Governments will be stationed in Anguilla during the initial stages of the re-establishment of constitutional government. This force will be under the command of a senior police officer selected by the Commonwealth Caribbean Governments. Its members will have the power of police officers under the law of the State and the State Government will take steps to secure the enactment of legislation for this purpose. The force will not discharge the routine duties of the State Police but will carry out a peace-keeping role. The instructions to this peace-keeping force, the logistic arrangements for its transport and supply and the duration of its stay will be agreed between the Governments concerned.
  15. Finance: ”The Anguillan Committee” will account for funds collected and disbursed in Anguilla during the period commencing 1st June until the Warden assumes his appointment. The Government of the State undertakes to refund to the Committee any sums over and above those collected and proven to have been disbursed towards carrying out the normal functions of Government. Revenue payments shown to have been made by individuals to the Committee will be regarded as having been paid to the Government of the State. The Government will appoint a legal and financial officer to examine matters referred to in this paragraph and the members of the “Anguillan Committee” will give assistance to duly appointed officers to facilitate this work.
  16. State of Emergency: The present State of Emergency will be terminated as soon as possible so far as it relates to Anguilla.
  17. Mail: Delivery of mail addressed to Anguilla and now accumulated in St. Kitts will be resumed.
  18. Surrender of Arms: The arms and ammunition seized from the St. Kitts Police detachment at the end of May will be returned to the State Authorities. The people of Anguilla will co-operate in the surrender of all arms and ammunition held without licence or permission of the Chief of Police.
  19. Economic Aid: A statement on economic and other aid was made by the representative of Her Majesty’s Government and welcomed by the Conference. The statement, which is reproduced in full in Appendix 3, recognised the need to strengthen the economy of the territory, and offered firm proposals directed in particular to the development of tourism. The proposals included the immediate grant of £50,000 to supplement sums already earmarked for spending in Anguilla and Nevis by March, 1968. Implementation of the economic proposals will begin as soon as proper constitutional relationships are resumed in the territory.
  20. General: As recorded above, the conference, after detailed and protracted discussions, has reached an accord which has the support of the Premier of St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla, a majority of the members of the delegation from Anguilla, being members of the Island Council established subsequent to 30th May, the British Minister of State at the Commonwealth Office, Lord Shepherd, and the Ministers from the Commonwealth Caribbean countries of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Barbados. During the course of the various deliberations it became clear that despite the considerable efforts that were being made by all parties attending the Conference to secure a satisfactory solution to the constitutional crisis proceeding on an acknowledgement of the rule of law, there were influences in Anguilla that seemed to be working against such a settlement. Now that agreement has been reached it is the hope of the Conference that the people of Anguilla will lend their support to the arrangements that have been agreed upon on their behalf and will co-operate with duly constituted authority in promoting a smooth and amicable return to Constitutional Government and in implementing the important proposals for economic development and the establishment of local government institutions. The Governments of the countries represented at the Conference will be watching closely the progress made in giving effect to the agreement with a view to ensuring that all necessary action is taken, consistent with the authority of the Government of St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla, the responsivities of Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom and the deep concern and interest of Commonwealth Caribbean Governments, in ensuring a speedy return to Constitutional Government in the State.

COMMONWEALTH CONFERENCE ON ANGUILLA

JULY, 1967 REPORT

Signed at Government Headquarters, Barbados, on Monday, 31st July, 1967

JAMAICA: C. Lightbourne, Minister of Trade

TRINIDAD: Mohammed, Minister of West Indian Affairs

GUYANA : S.S. Ramphal, Attorney General and Minister of State

BARBADOS: Cameron Tudor, Deputy Prime Minister

UNITED KINGDOM : Shepherd, Minister of State for Commonwealth Relations

ST. KITTS-NEVIS-ANGUILLA: L. Bradshaw, Premier; Peter Adams, M.P. for Anguilla; R. Rogers; Emile R. Gumbs; G. Hodge

31st JULY, 1967.