Vitblished bp AuthoritD.
VOL. 98.] SAINT VINCENT, THURSDAY, 30 DECEMBER, 1965. [No. 81.
The following Documents on Constitutional Proposals for
Antigua, St. Kitts/Nevis/Anguilla, Dominica, St. Lucia, St.
Vincent, Grenada, are published for general information with
this issue of the Gazette.
HENRY H. WILLIAMS,
30th December, 1965.
PRINTED BY THE GOVERNMENT PRINTER AT THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE,
KINGSTOWN, ST. VINCENT. [Price 30 cents. ]
CONSTITUTIONAL PROPOSALS FOR ANTIGUA,
ST. KITTS/NEVIS/ANGUILLA, DOMINICA, ST. LUCIA, ST. VINCENT
Since the Federation of the West Indies was dissolved in 1962, the possi-
bility of forming a federation between Barbados, Antigua, Montserrat,
St. Kitts/Nevis/Anguilla, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Grenada has
been the subject of extensive but inconclusive discussion. Grenada withdrew
from the talks in 1962 and Antigua in 1965; and in August 1965 the Govern-
ment of Barbados proposed to its Legislature that Barbados should proceed to
separate independence before considering federation further.
2. The British Government still believe that closer association between the
territories offers the best future prospect for the area but they recognize that
this is a matter for local decision. In the meantime, some of the Governments
have asked for early constitutional changes giving them greater control over
their own affairs. The British Government have great sympathy with the
object of these requests, but they also feel that the time has come to replace
the existing colonial relationship by a new form of association. Accordingly
they have made new and comprehensive constitutional proposals to each of the
Governments of Antigua, St. Kitts/Nevis/Anguilla, Dominica, St. Lucia, St.
Vincent and Grenada which, if they are acceptable to the territories and to
Parliament, will, they believe, achieve these two objectives. (The British
Government intend to discuss constitutional changes for the much smaller
territory of Montserrat separately with that Government at a later date).
3. The proposals offer each territory arrangements under which it would
become a state in association with Britain, with control of its internal affairs
and with the right to amend its own constitution, including the power to end
the association with Britain and to declare itself independent. They are set out
in detail in the memorandum in Appendix I which has been sent to the
Administrators of the territories under cover of the despatches in Appendices
4. So long as the territories remain states in association with Britain,
the British Government would accept responsibility for their external affairs
and defence, and the British Parliament and Her Majesty in Council would
have legislative powers for the discharge of this responsibility. Apart from
these powers and responsibilities, and powers concerned with the application
in the territories of the British Nationality Acts, the British Parliament would
have no powers to legislate for the territories without their consent and the
British Government would have no responsibility for the conduct of their
5. A salient feature of the arrangements proposed by the British Govern-
ment would be the entrenchment of safeguards in the constitutions of the territo-
ries for the maintenance of the constitutions, for the preservation of democratic
forms of government and for the protection of fundamental rights. The British
Government propose that a Superior Court for the region should be established
as a means of securing the observance of these safeguards. The Court would
have jurisdiction to determine whether any law or any executive act was
inconsistent with the constitutions and also to settle all questions on the interpre-
taiion of the constitutions; and it would have power to issue and to enforce
orders or directions to ensure compliance with the constitutions. The President
of the Court would be appointed by the Lord Chancellor.
6. The territories would continue to be eligible to receive aid from
Britain under the British Government's aid programme. The British Govern-
ment recognize that some of them will continue to need budgetary aid, and
under the new arrangements it will be possible for such aid to be provided in
much the same way as it is to certain independent Commonwealth countries.
7. Sir Stephen Luke visited the territories in November 1965 as the
Secretary of State's special representative, and discussed these proposals with
the Governments. He met with a general acceptance of them as a basis for
negotiation. After time for public study and discussion of the proposals, now
published in full, the Secretary of State for the Colonies intends to hold
discussions in London in the spring of 1966 with Governments and representa-
tives of the opposition parties in each Legislature.
8. Once the constitutional future of these territories is settled, the British
Government hope that their Governments will have discussions among them-
selves about future regional co-operation.
THE COLONIAL OFFICE,
ST. VINCENT. GREAT SMITH STREET,
No. 467 LONDON, S.W.1.
17th December, 1965.
I have the honour to address you on the subject of constitutional change
in St. Vincent, and the creation of a new relationship between your territory
2. Earlier this year a number of Windward and Leeward Island Govern-
ments made representations to me about the need for constitutional changes.
After considering these representations, I sent you outline proposals which were
discussed with your Ministers by Sir Stephen Luke and Mr. de Winton on my
behalf in St. Vincent on the 25th November. Similar proposals were sent to
the other Governments concerned.
3. I enclose a memorandum prepared in the light of those discussions
setting out proposals which, I understand, would be acceptable to your
Ministers as a basis for negotiations. I propose to publish this despatch and the
enclosure in London on the 30th December and I suggest that your Government
may wish to publish them simultaneously in St. Vincent.
4. The British Government hope it will be possible to enter into negotia-
tions on these new arrangements with your Government some time between
the 14th March and the 10th April in London. At this meeting I would hope
to reach agreement on the new arrangements in sufficient detail for the
draftsmen to prepare the necessary constitutional instruments. I shall address
you further about the exact date of this Conference as soon as I conveniently can.
It is my intention to invite to it not only your Government but also representa-
tives of any opposition parties with seats in the legislature.
5. It would help to expedite the work of the Conference if your Govern-
ment would prepare detailed proposals for new internal constitutional arrange-
ments for St. Vincent, within the framework of the scheme set out in the
attached memorandum and let me have a copy of their proposals if possible by
the 14th February. Your Government's proposals should in particular deal
with the matters referred to in the memorandum in paragraphs 3 and 4 (the
Queen's Representative), 7 (the Legislative Chambers), 16 (the Executive),
20 (the Civil Service), 22 (financial procedure) and 26 (control of criminal
prosecutions and the power of pardon).
6. The British Government intend to enter into similar negotiations with
the other territories of the Leeward and Windward Islands where Sir Stephen
Luke and Mr. de Winton have recently discussed this matter. The British
Government hope that these negotiations can be concluded in the first part of
1966 and that it will by then have been possible to complete similar discussions
with Antigua, St. Kitts/Nevis/Anguilla, Dominica, St. Lucia and Grenada.
The British Government hope that once these negotiations have been concluded,
your Government will be prepared to have talks with the other Governments
concerned about arrangements for regional co-operation.
7. In the opinion of the British Government the arrangements proposed
in this despatch and the attached memorandum afford the best method of ending
the present phase of uncertainty about the constitutional future of St. Vincent.
They would give your Government control over internal affairs while enabling
them to rely upon Britain where defence and external affairs are concerned.
Equally, these arrangements offer a basis on which your Government can con-
sider afresh the best method of co-operation with other Governments in the
8. I should be grateful to receive the views of your Government on the
proposals in this despatch.
I have the honour to be,
Your most obedient,
OUTLINE CONSTITUTION FOR ST. VINCENT
THE QUEEN'S REPRESENTATIVE
The Queen's Representative will be appointed by Her Majesty. In relation
to such appointments it will be understood, although not expressed as law, that
the Secretary of State will be guided by the advice of the Chief Minister of
the territory when submitting advice to Her Majesty; there will be consultation
between the British Government and the Chief Minister before the Chief
Minister makes any recommendation to the Secretary of State. The Queen's
Representative will be required, as a matter of practice, to be a British subject,
but there will be no restriction as to the territory from which he is drawn.
2. The normal term of office of the Queen's Representative will be five
years and he will hold office at Her Majesty's pleasure.
3. It will be necessary to devise a suitable title for the Queen's Represen-
tative. He might be styled "Governor".
4. It will also be necessary to agree upon arrangements for the discharge
of his functions during a vacainy or inability of the Queen's Representative to
carry out his functions.
5. The Queen's RepresLentative will act in all matters on the advice of his
(a) in the exercise of aiy functions conferred on him relating to the
appointment of the Cn;ief Minister or a leader of opposition or the
revocation of such an appointment;
(b) in the exercise of any functions which the Constitution or any other
law requires him to exercise on the advice of other persons or author-
ities (e.g. the Service Commissions);
(c) that he may, if advised by 7?: I.h-r~ to dissolve the legislature, refuse
to act in accordance with tha': a! vice if he considers it in the interests
of the territory to do so.
THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVE
6. There will be a representative of the British Government in the area
who will conduct the relations of the British Government with the territories
which enter into association arrangements on the lines proposed in this memo-
THE LEGISLATIVE CHAMBERS.
7. The Constitution will contain provision for the establishment and
composition of the legislative Chamber or Chambers, the qualifications and dis-
qualifications for membership, the franchise and the method of election of the
members of the popular Chamber and of selection or appointment of the mem-
bers of an Upper Chamber (if any), the life of the legislature, sessions of the
legislature, prorogation, dissolution and other incidental matters.
8. The legislature of the territory will have powers of legislation in respect
of all matters; the present powers to reserve bills or disallow laws passed by the
territorial legislature will be discontinued.
9. Subject to the enactment of the necessary legislation by the British
(a) the Legislature of the territory will have power to alter the Consti-
tution in accordance with the procedures described in paragraphs 10 to
(b) section 2 of the Colonial Laws Validity Act 1865 will not apply to
laws enacted by the Legislature of the territory after the new Consti-
tution comes into force;
(c) Acts of the British Parliament passed after the commencement of
the new Constitution (other than Acts passed in pursuance of the
powers referred to in paragraph 24 below or Acts relating to citizen-
ship referred to in paragraph 27 below) will not extend to the territory
except at the request and with the consent of the territory signified by
resolution of the Chamber or Chambers of the Legislature of the terri-
ALTERATIONS TO CONSTITUTION
10. The Constitution will initially be established by Order of Her Majesty
in Council. Thereafter there will be two methods by which the Constitution
may be altered as follows:-
(a) by the Legislature of the territory in accordance with the procedures
described in paragraphs 11 and 12 below-this will be the normal
(b) by the British Parliament or Her Majesty in Council; subject to what
is said in paragraph 13 about alteration of the relationship between
Britain and the territory, alterations of the Constitution will only be
made by the British Parliament or Her Majesty in Council at the
request and with the consent of the territory, signified by resolution
of the Chamber or Chambers of the Legislature of the territory passed
by simple majority. It will be understood that there will be no obli-
gation on the British Parliament or Her Majesty in Council to comply
with a request from the territory to alter its Constitution.
11. Following practices commonly adopted in independent countries which
have autonomy in matters of constitutional alteration, there will be special
procedures for amendment of the Constitution; for this purpose certain basic
clauses will be distinguished as enshrining the arrangements for democratic
government and for the relationship between Britain and the territory and the
procedure for alteration of those clauses will involve approval of the electorate.
With the exception of the basic clauses, the Legislature of the territory will
be empowered to amend any provision of the Constitution by a law passed by
a majority of not less than two thirds of all the members of the elected Chamber,
and, if there are two Chambers, by a majority of all the members of the
12. The Legislature of the territory will be empowered to alter the basic
clauses referred to above by a law passed in accordance with the procedure
set out above (i.e. by a majority of not less than two-thirds of all the members
of the elected Chamber and, if there are two Chambers, by a majority of all
the members of the Upper Chamber) but this law will have to be approved
in a referendum by not less than two-thirds of the votes cast; the persons
entitled to vote in the referendum will be the electorate for the purposes of
elections to the elected Chamber. There will be a period of three months' delay
between the introduction of a bill to amend any of the basic clauses and the
first debate on the bill in the legislative Chambers. The basic clauses to which
this procedure will apply will include the provisions of the Constitution
(a) the position of Her Majesty and Her Representative;
(b) the establishment of the legislature, its duration, sessions and dissolu-
(c) the franchise, the arrangements in the Constitution relating to the
delimitation of constituencies and the holding and supervision of
elections to the elected Chamber of the Legislature;
(d) the fundamental rights and freedoms; (see paragraph 14 below);
(e) the establishment, jurisdiction and powers of the superior courts, the
appointment and removal of judges and other judicial officers and any
rights of appeal guaranteed by the Constitution; (see paragraphs 17 to
(f) the provisions for the protection of the public service;
(g) control by the legislature over expenditure;
(h) the responsibility and powers of the British authorities (see para-
graphs 10, 23 to 25 and 27);
(i) the procedure for alteration of the Constitution by the legislature of
13. Both the territory and Britain will be able to terminate the association
unilaterally; the Legislature of the territory will have power to do so by
revoking the constitutional provisions relating to the responsibilities and powers
of the British authorities as a whole in accordance with the procedures set out
above and revocation of these provisions may also be effected by the British
Parliament or Her Majesty in Council by a law which will not require the
request and consent of the territory. Apart from making constitutional altera-
tions to terminate the association, neither Britain nor the territory will be able
to change the relationship (e.g. by modifying the responsibilities or powers of
Britain) without the consent of the other party; arrangements will be made
for this purpose and to this extent the powers of constitutional alteration of the
Legislature of the territory set out above will be limited.
FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS
14. The Constitution will include a Chapter which will prescribe the
fundamental rights and freedoms to be enjoyed by the people of the territory.
These rights and freedoms will include the following:-
(a) the right of life;
(b) the right of personal liberty;
(c) protection from slavery and forced labour;
(d) protection from inhuman treatment;
(e) protection from deprivation of property;
(f) protection ag'-inist arbitrary search or entry upon property;
(g) the right to a fair trial in criminal and civil proceedings;
(h) freedom of conscience;
(i) freedom of expression;
(j) freedom of assembly;
(k) freedom of association;
(1) freedom of movement;
(m) protection from discriini:nation on grounds of race, political opinions,
colour or creed.
15. The superior court fo;r the region referred to in paragraphs 17 to
19 below will have special jurisdiction to enforce the Chapter of the Constitu-
tion relating to fundamental rights and freedoms. The Chapter will in gen-
eral follow the pattern of similar provisions made in independent countries
in the Commonwealth.
16. The Constitution will make provision for a Cabinet, the appoint-
ment and tenure of office of Ministers and the assignment of responsibility to
Ministers on the usual lines. The title of "Premier" would in the British
Government's view be an appropriate title for the Chief Minister.
17. There will be a superior court for the region which will have special
jurisdiction and powers to safeguard the Constitution and will also be the
appeal court for the associated territories the court will have, by virtue of the
Constitution, jurisdiction to determine whether any law or any executive
act is inconsistent with the Constitution and also in all other questions on
the interpretation of the Constitution; the court will have power to issue to
any person or authority any orders or directions which it considers necessary
to ensure that the Constitution is complied with and to enforce those orders
and directions. The Representative of the British Government (in addition
to any other person entitled to do so) will have the right to initiate proceed-
ings in the court to determine whether any law or any executive act is in-
consistent with the Constitution. An appeal will lie as of right from final
decisions of the court to the Privy Council; constitutional questions arising
in other courts in the territory will be referred to the court for a decision.
18. The Supreme Court will consist of a President and not less than two
other judges. The President will be appointed by the Lord Chancellor of England:
the other judges will be appointed by a Special Commission, consisting of the
President as Chairman and two other members one of whom will be a retired
19. There will also be a single Supreme Court for the territories enter-
ing into association arrangements and a single Service Commission respon-
sible for the appointment of judges, magistrates and officials of the courts.
The British Government hopes that it will also be possible for legal officers
to continue to be appointed by the same Commission. The tenure of office of
judges of the superior court and the Supreme Court will be protected. The
territory will contribute a proportion of the cost of the superior court and
Supreme Court, the amount of which will be a charge on the revenue of the
territory and will not be subject to appropriation by the Legislature.
THE CIVIL SERVICE
20. The constitutional provisions for this purpose will be consistent with
the general aim that the civil service of the territory should be competent
and politically neutral. The appointment, promotion, discipline and removal
from office of public servants will be the responsibility of a Service Com-
mission or Commissions; these Commissions will be independent of the execu-
tive Government in carrying out their functions in relation to individual
cases. There will be provision for each department of Government placed
under a Minister to be supervised by a Permanent Secretary who will be
a public officer; the Chief Minister will have a voice in any appointments to
the office of Permanent Secretary. The pension rights of public officers will
be protected against unfavorable alteration, and the approval of the appro-
priate Service Commission will be required for the withholding or reduction
of the pension of a public officer.
21. The arrangements for the appointment, promotion, discipline and
removal from office of members of the Police Force will be in accordance with
the principles outlined in paragraph 20 but with such modifications as are
appropriate for a disciplined force.
FINANCIAL PROCEDURE AND AUDIT
22. The Constitution will contain provision to secure that there is no
expenditure from public funds except when there is statutory authority for
such expenditure and unless a prescribed procedure has been complied with
which secures full Parliamentary scrutiny. It will include provisions re-
lating to the procedure for the approval of the annual budget, the authorisa-
tion of supplementary expenditure during a financial year and the provision
of funds to meet contingent expenditure in advance of legislative approval.
The Constitution will also contain provision establishing the office of Director
of Audit with responsibility for auditing all public accounts and reporting
on them to the legislature so that the legislature may satisfy itself that no
expenditure has in fact taken place without proper authority.
THE RESPONSIBILITY RETAINED BY THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT
23. Except as stated below the British authorities will have no powers
of intervention in, and no responsibility for, the government of the territory.
24. Responsibility for external affairs and defence will lie with the
British Government, and for the discharge of this responsibility (which will
include the fulfilment and protection of Britain's Commonwealth and inter-
national obligations and interests) the British Government will have the
necessary executive authority in the territory. Parliament and Her Majesty
in Council will have legislative powers in the interests of Britain's defence
and external affairs responsibilities. These legislative powers will extend
to the making of any provision (including provision relating to any matter
in the field of internal government) which appear to Parliament or Her
Majesty in Council necessary to prevent circumstances arising or continuing
in the territory that may prejudice the discharge of Britain's responsibilities.
Such legislation will prevail over any law in force in the territory, with the
exception of the Constitution, and may confer functions on any officers or
authorities of the Government of the territory as well as upon other persons
or authorities. The power to enact such legislation will not be invoked
unless the Government of the territory has been requested to take the appro-
priate action within a time to be specified in each case and has not done so.
25. In order to enable the British Government and its representative to
carry out their functions in relation to defence and external affairs it will be
necessary for the representative of the British Government to be kept fully
informed on matters relating to or affecting these responsibilities of the
CONTROL OF CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS; THE POWER OF PARDON
26. Arrangements will have to be negotiated which ensure that the
powers of the public prosecutor and the authority responsible for pardons
may be exercised in accordance with principles which are generally accepted
as appropriate to the exercise of such functions and that they are free from
27. Citizenship will continue to be governed by the British Nationality
Acts unless a territory establishes a separate citizenship; since these Acts
provide for a common nationality not only for the territory but also for other
countries including Britain, it will be necessary for the British Parliament to
retain powers of legislation in respect of them. As regards the establishment
of a separate citizenship by a territory the procedures for amendment of the
basic clauses of the Constitution (see paragraph 12 above) will, unless the
territory becomes independent, apply to legislation of the territory to estab-
lish or alter citizenship of the territory. It has been the practice for the
British Government to negotiate with any territory proceeding to indepen-
dence the arrangements for its separate citizenship; in view of the fact that
the territory will have the right to proceed unilaterally to independence at
any time it is the intention of the British Government that an agreement
should be negotiated between the British Government and the Government of
the territory prior to the introduction of the new Constitution, as to the
principal classes of persons who will be entitled to citizenship of the terri-
tory in the event of separate citizenship being established.