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: VOLUME 18 NO. 2
" I JUNE 1972
OF THE WINDWARD
VOL. 18 NO. 2
Copyright reserved, and reproduction without permission strictly forbidden.
ESSAYS ON CARIBBEAN UNITY
THE CASE FOR INTEGRATION
OF THE WINDWARD
AND LEEWARD ISLANDS
being papers presented at a seminar
St. Kitts, Dominica, Antigua, St. Lucia,
Montserrat, St. Vincent and Grenada.
August 22 September 18, 1971
A Publication of the
DEPARTMENT OF EXTRA MURAL STUDIES
UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES
UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES
R.M. Nettleford, Director of Extra-Mural Studies (Editor)
Lloyd Braithwaite, Pro-Vice Chancellor, U.W.I., St. Augustine, Trinidad
Sidney Martin, Pro-Vice Chancellor, U.W.I. Cave Hill, Barbados.
Roy Augier, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Mona, Jamaica.
J.J. Figueroa, Professor, Faculty of Education, U.W.I., Mona, Jamaica.
Patricia Williams, Department of Extra-Mural Studies, U.W.I., Mona,
Jamaica. (Assoc. Editor).
All correspondence should be addressed to:
Department of Extra-Mural Studies,
University of the West Indies,
Mona, Kingston 7, Jamaica
We invite readers to submit manuscripts or recommended subjects which they
would like to see discussed in CARIBBEAN QUARTERLY Articles of
Caribbean relevancy will be gratefully received.
(b) Eastern Caribbean
U.S.A. and other countries
1 (Sterling) + Postage
$4.00 (U.S.) + Postage
Subscription orders may be forwarded to the Editor or to the Resident
Tutor at University Centre in any West Indian Territory served by this University.
9. Attempts at Windward/Leeward Federation
16. The Advantages of Economic Integration in the Windward and Leeward
28. Political Aspects of Integration of the Windward and Leeward Islands
S. Lestrade & Ralph Gonsalves
36. Small States in the International Society: with Special Reference to the
Vaughan A. Lewis
48. The Grenada Declaration 1971
51. Statement on Grenada Declaration
D. Venner, V.A. Lewis & S. Lestrade
55. Carifta and the New Caribbean
Review by Keith Hunte and Leonard Shorey
58. Biographical Notes
59. Selected Publications of the Department
Bee Island St Eusau
Sr. Eustax us
St. Croix St. Kilts Antigua
The Leeward Islands facing the N.E. Trades curve Nevis
northward from Guadeloupe to Puerto Rico. Mont- ) Montserrat
serrat, St. Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla are all part of
this particular West Indian grouping based on British
The Windward Islands, called Isles du Vent by the Guadeloupe
French, to whom only Martinique remains, curve
northward from Grenada to Dominica in a shallow
arc lying to the west of Barbados. Grenada, St. Lucia,
Dominica and St. Vincent are independent States in (
association with Britain. Each island enjoys self- Dominca
government (including the right to end the association)
and the powers and responsibilities of Britain are
limited to matters of defence and foreign affairs.
St Luc i
Prune Island (Palm) B
THE WINDWARD & LEEWARD ISLANDS
Four members of the Windwards and Leewards Students Association at the
University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, undertook a lecture-study tour of
these islands during the Summer of 1971 under the sponsorship of the
Extra-Mural Department which administers the University Centres in these
islands. Our aim was to discuss the question of integration of the islands with the
people and to see and hear at first-hand their problems, hopes and aspirations.
We met and talked with people at all levels Government ministers, members
of opposition, political parties, trade unionists, youth groups, chambers of
commerce, civil servants and the man in the street.
The tour started in St. Kitts, the northmost island, and by the time the
team arrived in Grenada in the south, the similarity of the problems of this
group of islands was obvious. Some interesting observations include the physical
similarity of the volcanic islands of St. Kitts, Nevis, St. Vincent, St. Lucia,
Dominica, Montserrat and Grenada and the limestone islands of Anguilla,
Antigua and Barbados; the predominance of banana in the Windwards and sugar
in the Leewards St. Kitts being almost solely plantation; the homogeneous
populations of predominantly African stock interspersed with East Indian, and a
sprinkling of whites and trace of Carib. Above all the population is a young one
- 50% being under twenty years old in most islands and with as high a density in
Grenada and St. Vincent of 500 per square mile.
However, despite these similarities, we were conscious of the characteristic
differences between the islands places separated by clear-cut boundaries of
expanses of salt water. These differences must be recognized and accepted in our
quest for unity as they may in fact strengthen rather than weaken this unity.
We noted that the responses and reactions to the question of unification in
the English speaking Caribbean in general, and the Associated States in
particular, are still favourable. The people appear to see implicit in unification
the answer to many of their most pressing problems. In spite of all the
disappointments of the past, the West Indian peoples still have faith in the
concept of West Indian unity. But their expectations of unity to be a panacea
for all their problems to be solved in the very short run suggests a highly
unrealistic view, given the intractable nature of some of the problems and the
highly individualistic character and approach of the major political figures of the
contemporary West Indian scene.
It may be of some interest to examine the responses of four significant groups
in the islands the Chambers of Commerce, Trade Unions, Civil Servants and
Government ministers. The Chamber of Commerce representing the business
sector would go for unity of the Associated States if it provided a subregion
within CARIFTA, where they could take advantage of certain minimum
advantages offered by CARIFTA, develop some industries and be in a stronger
position to bargain for any future advantages. They would also go for unity if it
solved two of their main problems, namely, shipping and expanded market
The Trade Unions could see advantages where they were dealing with a
common industry across the islands, for example, Geest industry or some hotel
chain. Also Trade Unions seem to have a sentimental attachment to unity based
on the role that the Caribbean Congress of Labour played in fostering the last
West Indies Federation. The idea of safeguarding their members' job positions
and benefits makes them want to be an integral part of any type of association
that will have some effect on the economic system and its ability to deliver
goods and services in greater or lesser quantities.
Civil servants who view the situation realistically see in unity the ability to
improve the quality and efficiency of the civil service considerably. They point
to the increased promotional opportunities, more attractive salaries, less
tendency for political intimidation to affect the dispelling of the feeling of
isolation when working in a minute entity and the possibility of having adequate
The Governments' response to our mission could in a sense be judged by their
willingness to talk to us. We did get to see a minister in each territory and their
responses were interesting since all were in favour of unity, but claimed that the
Governments in the other islands were not really serious. One got the impression
that there was a considerable amount of bickering and 'misunderstanding'
between the political leaders of the Associated States. One was also left seriously
wondering when the contradictions between their statements and their actions
were so obvious even to themselves. The very institutions which they set up to
enhance the Associated States' position they would seem to have no interest in,
obvious examples being the W.I.S.A. secretariat and the Common Market
Consciously and unconsciously we got the notion that these politicians
operated on the basis of "the big man in a small place" principle and obviously
in such a context the "man" comes before the "place" It seems true to say
indeed that in every nine out of ten cases, people interviewed cited politicians as
being the main obstacle to any kind of unity political or economic in the
The response by the people in general as recorded at the public sessions,
seminars and cabinet meetings, in the street and at homes was, as pointed out
above, that politicians were the greatest obstacles to unity. Other obstacles
which people mentioned were insularity which they felt could be tackled by
increase of sporting and cultural contact and also by a revamping of a part of the
educational system. Also by improvements in the system of transportation
between the islands. The cost of setting up a superstructure to man the newly
unified entity also seemed to bother some people, and the question was also
posed of the continuation of aid to the islands after unification and
Lack of an external aggressor or stimilus was seen as an obstacle by some
people, but a lot of them felt that CARIFTA would provide a problem around
which the islands will have to rally if they are to survive under the present Free
Trade arrangement. Some people felt that the islands were in a state of political
disintegration, for example, the Anguilla issue, and that this process was not
completed and would have to be completed before integration could truly start.
A very important point which was stressed again and again was that the matter
would have to be fully participated in by the people to sanction any new moves
What all this means is that a certain amount of ambiguity exists in the islands
about the mechanisms for bringing the integration endeavour into actuality. In a
sense, Governments of the islands practice their politics as if there is a
meaningful possibility of continuing to operate within the framework of the
present status quo; and this irrespective of the continuous verbalizing about the
absolute necessity for unity. On the other hand when deeper investigation is
made, it is obvious that the political elites themselves, and the bureaucratic elites
as well, perceive types of problems that make the present status of the islands
paradoxical. These problems seem to present themselves in at least these diverse
Especially at the level of negotiation at both the national and the
international levels, the politicians experience a variety of constraints induced by
the fact that politicians have the residential authority for "foreign affairs" In a
situation in which the matters to be negotiated externally are "internal"
within the islands there is really no distinction between domestic and foreign
affairs. One thinks immediately of the necessity to protect agricultural exports
and other areas of activity such as landing rights for various international airlines
wishing to gain concessions in the Caribbean. The need to continually "refer
back" to Britain is inhibiting in developing general lines of policy.
The necessity for the politicians democratically elected to prove to
their constituency that immediate political benefits are being provided for them,
makes synchronisation of policy concerning regional projects, whose pay-off is in
the longer term, difficult. Concentration on the demands of island politics leaves
little time for systematic attention to regional unity issues. In this lies, at least
partly, the explanation for the continual complaints by governmental leaders
that other governmental leaders are unwilling to cooperate and thereby
constitute the main impediments to the initiation of the integration process.
iii. Then, we perceived a certain degree of pessimism among the technical
intelligentsia as to the viability of the mechanics of integration. The constraint
perceived here is that of limited resources. Certainly, a feeling exists that
integration might merely mean the adding of one island's problems to those of
the others and that this addition cannot make for a solution for the "whole"
This really indicates pessimism about the island's capacity to develop adequate
instruments for making the integration process work, when an immediate
objective of integration is economic development.
If some head-way is to be made in minimising, if not moving, these perceived
constraints, then an immediate requirement is cooperation between the
politicians and the technical intelligentsia in a systematic analysis of the varieties
of possible instruments that could be devised and used to make the integration
process viable. Can the politicians release themselves from concentration in
island political questions for this?
ATTEMPTS AT WINDWARD/LEEWARD FEDERATION
Attempts to group the scattered islands of the West Indies together for the
purposes of government and administration have been made ever since the
beginning of English settlement. During the 16th and 17th centuries it became
an established principle that English colonists who settled on any territory where
there was no established government carried with them the English law and
constitution. In essence the constitution consisted of three entities. There was an
upper house called the Council composed of persons nominated by the King a
Lower House the Assembly, elected by the freeholders of the colony, and at the
head of these bodies was the Governor representing King.
Individual governors and British colonial officials dealing with these islands
always felt that they were too small to be administered as separate entities and
that it would be easier and cheaper if they were as far as possible united into
regional groupings. In addition the islands all possessed similar characteristics
and were faced with similar problems they were all sugar colonies dominated
by the large sugar plantations with slavery as the basis of production, and in the
endemic wars of the 16th and 17th centuries their sovereignty was insecure.
These two last factors stressed the need for co-operation in time of peace for
defence against revolt from below the slaves and in time of war against the
enemy, mainly France. Hence early in the 1680's we see an attempt to group the
islands then comprising the Leewards into constitutional union with one General
Assembly for the whole group for the purposes of defence and economy in
administration. When in 1763 the Windwards, i.e. Dominica, Tobago, St.
Vincent and Grenada are acquired by Britain we see a similar attempt made but
this falls to the ground. The proposed General Assembly never met at all.
Dominica never at all committed and vociferously opposed to the idea kills it
dead by its own achievement of "independence" in 1771, and by 1784 each
island has its own separate establishment of Governor, Council and Assembly.
In 1833 however, there is a change. At this time, the Colonial Office seeing
the need for centralization divided the whole of the Eastern Caribbean with the
exception of Trinidad and St. Lucia into two groups. Dominica was included in
the Leeward group with Antigua, St. Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat; and Grenada,
St. Vincent and Tobago were grouped under a Governor-in-chief of the
Windwards with headquarters in Barbados.
The first real attempt to federate the Windwards and Leewards occurred after
the first World War. In the 17th and 18th centuries the move for federation as is
now obvious generated from London or the Colonial Office with
administrative simplification as the key motive. However in the 20th century,
although British officials were still behind the various moves, the drive came
mainly from West Indians themselves for things such as economic integration,
the widening of the suffrage, more elective representation, and in some cases,
The extension of the franchise and more elective representation were burning
questions to West Indians in the 20th century. In 1865 following the Morant
Bay Rebellion, representative constitution was taken away from Jamaica and the
island was reverted to the status of a Crown Colony. It then became an object of
British policy to take away representative government from the other islands. By
1874 all the British West Indian islands with the exception of Barbados,
Bahamas and Bermuda had reverted to Crown Colonies. The essence of this type
of government was autocratic rule by the Crown. Instead of two chambers there
was a single one the Legislative Council, comprised of official and unofficial
members, but the latter were in the minority, with the Governor having an
overriding and casting vote. The nominated members, the Governor's nominees
were there to see that the Governor's policy was carried. In effect the whole
object of the policy was to stifle local demands, i.e. a policy or measure however
unpopular with the people could still be carried through by the Governor with
his official majority. Closer union was seen as a means of mitigating this
In 1922, following local demands for more representative government, Mr.
Wood, then Lord Halifax, in his capacity as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of
State for the Colonies paid an official visit to the West Indies to investigate the
demand for more responsible government. Besides this, he considered the
question of closer union and on this point he concluded that taking into
consideration the prevailing mood of public opinion on the islands, it was felt
"inopportune and impracticable to attempt any amalgamation of the existing
units of government into anything approaching a general federal system.
But, seven years later the unofficial members of the Executive and Legislative
Councils of Antigua suggested in a letter to the Secretary of State that Trinidad,
the Windward and the Leeward Islands might be combined under a single
governor with one Legislative Council for the whole group, leaving the local
affairs of each island to a Commissioner and Local Council which in matters of
finance would act under the authority of or subject to the approval of the
Governor in the Legislative Council. They also suggested that for the sake of
economy the Commissioners should be qualified to perform judicial duties.
That the proposal emanated from Antigua might have been due to the fact
that in 1924 Mr. Wood, after his investigation, recommended that it was politic
to introduce the elective principle in the constitution of Trinidad and the
Windwards and Dominica only in the Leeward group. These islands were given
elected membership equal to a quarter of the size of the Legislative Council. Of
course, Antigua must have felt slighted being the most prosperous of the
Leeward group and saw in an association with the other islands the possibility of
gaining what or even more than they had got.
But the idea gained currency as a whole because West Indians were not
satisfied with the changes. Even until the extension of the franchise the
electorate ranged only between 2 and 10% of the adult population. The elected
members all middle class since the qualifications for membership were
specially designed to exclude the working class, became angry and frustrated and
began to agitate for more political change. It was felt that this could be more
easily obtained through corporate as opposed to separate action.
The Antigua proposal of 1929 was supported by the Sugar Commission of
1930. This was a non-parliamentary Commission which came out to investigate
the crisis in the sugar industry. The industry at this time was on the verge of
collapse. The average price of raw sugar still the mainstay of the economy of
the islands dropped from 23.10s. per ton in 1923 to as low as 11.5s. in
1929. The need to keep profit margins as high as possible led estate owners to
cut wages. This gave rise to discontent and serious social and economic problems
particularly in the Windwards and St. Lucia. Peasant agriculture was also in a
depressed state, unable to compete with the large plantations. Curiously enough,
the Sugar Commission saw the answer to these problems in federation:
"It appears to us not only that the simplification of the system of
government of the Leeward Islands and St. Lucia is necessary, unless
the existing system is to be maintained continuously at the cost of the
Imperial Exchequer, but that an administrative association of all
these islands with St. Vincent and Grenada would be more
conducive to their agricultural progress and prosperity and to the
maintenance of a continuous instead of an intermittent policy of
land settlement and"
improvement of peasant agriculture and co-operation. We think
that a conjunction of all these islands could not fail to be
advantageous, and we strongly recommend the consideration of
these possibilities to your Lordship"
Report of the Sugar Commission Part IV (1930)
Though a non-parliamentary commission, the views of the Sugar Commission
had sufficient weight with British officials and led to further exploration of the
possibility of the idea, which was also gaining currency with British officials. In
that same year, 1930, the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget Speech in
the House of Commons had spoken gravely of the strain that was placed on the
Imperial Exchequer and the British taxpayer, because of the measures taken to
give some degree of relief to the depressed sugar colonies. It was imperative, he
stressed, that some means be explored towards a reduction of this expenditure.
Like the Sugar Commission, although for different reasons, the answer was seen
in closer union.
Accordingly Lord Passfield, then Secretary of State, suggested in March 1932
to the Governors of Trinidad, the Leewards and the Windwards that a
Commission should be appointed to investigate the possibility of closer union
between those territories or some of them. Leaders in the Eastern Caribbean saw
this as an opportunity to meet and press their claims for self-government. The
Dominica Tax Payers Reform Association took the initiative and summoned a
conference to meet in Roseau in October 1932, consisting of delegates of the
Representative Government Associations formed in the islands before Mr.
Wood's visit in 1922. It was attended by all the leaders from the Windwards and
Leewards and also delegates from Barbados and Trinidad.
While British officials and the Sugar Commission saw federation as a means of
cutting expenditure and improving agriculture, Caribbean leaders saw it as a
means of obtaining self-government. This becomes clear when at the opening of
the Dominica Conference, the leaders passed a resolution deploring the fact that
the terms of reference of the proposed commission did not include
self-government. Among other things a Federal Constitution was drafted
providing for a single Chamber of 33, of whom 27 would be elected. Provision
was also made for a Federal Executive Council, a High Court of Justice, a joint
Federal Fund and a Civil Service. But disagreements occurred mainly between
the smaller islands and Trinidad, whose leader Cipriani was averse to Federation
without self-government, and to self-government without adult suffrage.
No wonder when the Closer Union Commission came out in November 1932
they found that Trinidad did not want any association with the smaller islands
and recommended that she be left alone.' It did recommend however a
federation of the Windwards and Leewards under the constitutional form
prevailing in the former group. The Windwards at this time consisted of three
colonies, Grenada, St. Vincent and St. Lucia, united under one governor with
residence in Grenada. There was no federal government and each had its own
Executive and Legislative Council with full fiscal autonomy. An Administrative
and Colonial Secretary was in charge of St. Vincent and St. Lucia when the
governor was not in residence and communicated directly with the Secretary of
State. The salaries of the governor, his secretary and the accountant were divided
in certain proportion among the three colonies. In effect the Governor was the
sole bond of union between the three colonies which otherwise enjoyed
The Leewards on the other hand, was a federation of five presidencies
Antigua (with Barbados), St. Kitts-Nevis (with Anguilla), Dominica, Montserrat
and the Virgins. Each presidency was autonomous in matters related to finance
and each had its own legislature. There was however, a Federal government with
a Federal Executive and Legislature, the latter meeting once a year in Antigua
the headquarters of the federation (and of the governor), which was empowered
to make laws of general application and also to deal with any matter delegated
to it by all or any of the Presidencies. Federal expenses including the Governor's
salary were met by annual contributions from each Presidency. In charge of each
presidency was an administrator, except for Montserrat and the Virgins where
the chief official earned the status of Commissioner, who in the absence of the
Governor presided over the Executive and Legislative Councils.
In essence, the Commission's recommendations were as follows:
"The islands at present formerly the Colonies of the Leeward Islands
and the Windward Islands should be united into one colony under a
Governor with headquarters at St. Lucia. The present federation of
the Leeward Islands should be dissolved and each Presidency should
be given in general the same independence as is at present possessed
by the three islands of the Windward group each retaining as now its
own Executive and Legislative Council under the Presidency of the
Administrator or Commissioner enacting its own laws and regulating
in general its own finance and local affairs"
"The three islands of the Windward group should similarly remain
autonomous as now. We recommend no unification of services at the
present stage except in the case of the Police Force and of
1932 Closer Union Commission
The Commission also defined their conception of the position and duties of the
Governor of the new colony and laid special emphasis on the need for him to
maintain by frequent tours the closest possible touch with the constitutional
organs of the several islands. They also made the laughable suggestion that he
should take no direct part in their proceedings.
In effect what the Commission recommended was not really a federation. It
could not be. Instead they opted for an association of eight colonies under one
governor who would merely be a figurehead. The colonies would be independent
and autonomous in every other respect. The only bond of union if union it
can be called was a Governor who would be non-functional. No wonder the
Commission itself regarded its recommendation as "a retrograde step" 2 For the
Windwards was not a federation at all. In effect the proposals would have
destroyed the existing "federation" of the Leewards.
But the Commissioners hoped that sometime in the future a real federation
would have emerged from the loose association that they were suggesting:
"We desire to make it clear that our proposals do not pretend to be
more than a first step and that a tentative one towards a real
federation. We hope that partly as a result of the Annual
Conferences between the several islands of the group under the
Chairmanship of the Governor the islands may themselves evolve
a much closer union than the very loose one we are now suggesting.
Obviously the next step should be the establishment of Federal
Executive and Legislative Councils, dealing with matters of common
interest to all the islands, as distinguished from those of purely
local concern" ibid
After this report was submitted, the Secretary of State gave it preliminary
consideration and the governments concerned were asked to prepare provisional
estimates of the cost of putting them into effect. It was found that
amalgamation would involve a net increase in annual expenditure of over 6,000
in addition to certain non-recurrent expenditure. When the proposals were
debated in the Executive and Legislative Councils of the two groups a
considerable divergence of opinion was manifested especially on the question of
this additional expense a trait still relevant among Caribbean leaders today.
Consequently, British officials decided that it was not practicable to go ahead
with the scheme put forward.
In the 1940's there was again talk of a Windwards/Leewards Union. The
economic distress starting with the fall of sugar prices in 1923 worsened. By
1934 raw sugar which sold for as low as 11.5s. per ton in 1929 fell to 5. per
ton. There was a further slashing of wages. Discontent was endemic. In 1935
there was a sugar strike in St. Kitts. This spread until by 1938 there were
widespread strikes and disturbances in all the islands. At this time, too, West
Indian leaders were advocating for more political change. It was a time when the
working class was making itself heard labour unions were emerging in the area.
So serious was the situation that in 1938 a Commission was sent out under
the chairmanship of Lord Moyne to investigate conditions. The report was
however not published until 1945. As a panacea for the ills in the Windwards
and Leewards, the Commissioners, now, as those in 1932, recommended
federation. Subject to local opinion and the improvement of communications,
they agreed that the Leewards and the Windwards should be federated, but this
time on the pattern existing in the former group as opposed to the 1932 Com-
mission which opted for the constitutional arrangements in the Windward group.
Provision was made for a Federal Legislature with wide powers, and only
questions of local application should be left to local Commissioners in the
individual islands, acting on the advice of local councils. There should also be
amalgamation of services. The headquarters of the federation should be either
St. Lucia or Grenada.
Probably, prompted by the Commission's recommendations a Conference of
Representatives from the Legislatures of the Leeward and Windward Islands
assembled at St. Kitts on February 1st, 1947. Indeed as early as 1945 proposals
for a Windward/Leeward Federation were accepted by representatives of these
territories at a conference held in Grenada. The 1947 Conference expressed its
dissatisfaction with the stagnating social, economic and political conditions by
stating that improvements particularly in the economic and political field should
be the essential prerequisites of any federal compact. To the desire for political
change was now added for the first time the wish for better economic
conditions. The Conference passed a resolution stating that:
"there should be a federation of the islands of the Windward
Islands and the Leeward Islands with a strong government",
and proceeded to draft detailed proposals. Provision was made for unicameral
legislature with the unofficial members elected on an island basis. The Federal
government was given exclusive powers of taxation in matters relating to
Customs, Income Tax and Post Office, and was also empowered to review the
Budgets of the Island Councils. It was also given sole power over Agriculture,
Marketing and Fisheries, Immigration and Emigration, Federal Loans, Labour
and Trade Unions. But opposition to the proposals came firstly from Montserrat
and later and more vociferously from Grenada,3 but this did not kill the idea.
When the project was overtaken by talk of a larger Federation of the West
Indies, it was suggested that it should still be proceeded with and then the
Federation group would enter the West Indies Federation as a single entity. But
this suggestion was not pursued.
The proposed federation of the 10 West Indian Islands however fell to the
ground after the dropping out of Jamaica in 1961, followed by Trinidad in
January 1962 with the famous statement by Premier Eric Williams that "one from
10 leaves O" It was then that the 'Eight', the Leewards and Windwards plus
Barbados decided to federate. The story of this attempt is familiar to most of
you and in addition has been briefly but ably told by Sir Arthur Lewis in his
The Agony of the Eight. Suffice to say here that this latest attempt fell into
serious difficulties, which stemmed in part from the British Government's
attitude. In so far as responsibility for the failure can be attributed to Caribbean
leaders, the greater onus must rest on Dr. Eric Williams of Trinidad for offering
Grenada, one of the 'Eight' association in a unitary state, and on Mr. Blaize,
Grenada's premier, for accepting. After this, the federal morale deteriorated
until Barbados finally got fed up and opted for independence in 1966.
But the time is not too late for a union of the Windward and Leeward Islands.
Most of these islands have now 'Associated status' with Britain with the option
of declaring independence at any time. But for reasons politic and economic
these islands are too small to achieve independence meaningfully on their own.
In addition, political independence is not enough, as the example of the already
independent islands demonstrates. What we need is economic, social and cultural
independence. The Windwards and Leewards cannot achieve this in isolation.
Trinidad's reluctance was in part due to the fear of her more developed economy
having to bear the greater part of the cost of Federation. Report of Closer Union
3. S.S. Ramphal: "Federation in the West Indies" Caribbean Quarterly Vol. 6 No. 3 & 4
THE ADVANTAGES OF ECONOMIC INTEGRATION IN THE
WINDWARD AND LEEWARD ISLANDS
The Windward and Leeward Islands have long been regarded as the
Cinderellas of the Commonwealth Caribbean both in economic and other terms.
This thinking as regards these islands stems from their extremely small size
and the type of reasoning which assumes that since economic problems in the
larger Caribbean units are so intractable, then those in the smaller islands must
be well nigh impossible. The result has been a noticeable unwillingness to
confront the specific problems which the situation of these territories have
thrown up and a seeming inability or unwillingness to make serious studies
before deciding the future of these territories.
This type of attitude is shown up by the lack of serious statistical data on the
smaller territories and the barely passing references made of them when
discussing the economies of the Caribbean.
Most of the economic thought on these territories stems from two distinct
and in a sense alien sources. Firstly, Colonial Office attitudes which view the
islands as perpetual dependencies and view further the question of their
economic viability not in their ability to achieve self-sustained growth but as
their ability to get out of recurrent grant-in-aid. Secondly, traditional economic
thought which places great emphasis on the size of the economic unit and the
attendant economies of scale which increase with the increase in size, in both the
economic market spheres, and the technical spheres. This line of argument
precludes any type of manufacturing activity and if one adds to this the doctrine
of comparative advantage which states that countries must specialize in the areas
of activity in which they have an advantage and import their other requirements,
then the Windwards and Leewards are very limited in their spheres of economic
The picture takes on further shades of gloom when the inadequate
infrastructure, high population density, and apparent lack of resources are taken
It is against this background that we would like to re-examine the position of
these islands with regard to their positive and dynamic development and in the
process to refute the position of hopelessness that some claim are conferred by
extremely small size.
Before we go further into the discussion it is necessary to set out certain firm
criteria and objectives to inform the subsequent analysis.
The main question is: What should the nationals of the Windwards and
Leewards aspire to? What should be their position in the Caribbean and the
wider world? The answer to their questions range outside of the purely
economic and into the political, social and cultural areas. Not only are the last
three outside the writer's competence but anything but a superficial treatment
of these spheres would make this paper unnecessarily long and cumbersome. We
will have to be satisfied, at least initially, with setting up some simple economic
objectives and suggesting some methods of achieving these objectives. We would
like to point out three objectives which have gained fairly universal acceptance
and which we think are relevant to this situation.
1. The attainment of full employment of resources (including human
2. An equitable distribution of resources and incomes
3. A guaranteed minimum standard of living based on the availability and
use of resources.
The attainment of full employment of resources is of paramount importance
in small and underdeveloped countries which are striving to make ends meet and
also to provide a rising standard of living for its nationals. The identification and
classification of resources is therefore a very high priority for such countries. In
the Windwards and Leewards a careful and elaborate mapping of resources is
important for both present and future utilisation. Land areas in regard to crops,
minerals etc., the sea in terms of fisheries and other marine resources, the
climate for tourism, underutilised capital resources, and most important the full
utilisation of human resources. The combination of these resources in the
optimum fashion for the society is another factor which must be taken into
To ensure the proper utilisation of resources it is necessary that there be an
equitable distribution of resources and incomes, our second objective. Any
economic enterprise or endeavour depends on incentives, whether of a social or
economic type, being given to the participants. In the development of a country
this is equally applicable and nationals should not be discouraged by obvious
disparities in income levels or ownership of resources. There should be some
flexibility in wage rates but not so much that they create disincentives to other
workers and cause bottlenecks in the economic system.
Our final objective, a guaranteed minimum standard of living based on
resource availability and utilisation is an incentive for the society to maximize its
productive capacity in order to meet its social commitments. This is a dynamic
element and a necessary yardstick by which to judge the performance of the
society in the economic sphere. The economy has to produce goods and services
to meet this standard and socially it is committed to meet this and re-distribute
income so that its goals are achieved.
In order to attain these objectives certain factors assume great overall
importance and three in particular can be singled out at this stage.
1. The availability of capital
2. Managerial and technical skills, and
3. A political and social atmosphere conducive to economic development.
Firstly, let me examine capital requirements in the quest for meeting our
stated objectives and also the need for economic viability which is the
underlying thread and thrust on which our argument rests. It is necessary
therefore to spell out more precisely this concept of economic viability which
we have alluded to in passing in the course of our discussion. The reason for
spelling out this concept when discussing the capital requirements of the
territories can be supported on the grounds that the said territories are always
referred to as being capital poor with no hope of becoming economically
self-supporting. Self-sustaining growth, as described by Rostow, is the process of
financing development primarily out of domestic capital and this, with
reservations, can be used as a test of the viability of an economy entity like a
nation state. However, certain other crucial factors should be taken into
consideration, namely, the level of necessary consumption of the economic
entity and the ability to attract resources from external sources on favourable
terms. Finally, in this case, there is the widening of the area by economic
integration and/or political union. Economic viability then by implication, can
be defined to fit the circumstances of particular national entities.
To deal specifically now with the availability of capital this can come from
I. Domestic capital
3. Loans, and
4. Direct foreign investment.
Domestic capital, given our concept of viability, would be the most important
avenue for us. This involves, as we stressed before, the identification of local
resources and their fullest utilisation.
The banking system, for example, is not geared to the fullest mobilisation and
usage of domestic capital. In the first instance, the Monetary Authority is a
Currency Board which does not and cannot, in my opinion, perform the
functions of credit management and manipulation in the direction of the fullest
mobilisation and usage of funds. It does not have the control over the
commercial banks that it ought to have, nor the tools and staff to make a
significant impact on credit conditions.
Banking legislation is not at all up to date and the governments are not
sufficiently interested and have not got the necessary expertise, staff wise, to
look fully into monetary affairs. For example, there are no Bank Inspectors in
The commercial banks have de facto assumed the role of Monetary Authority
and have laid down their own criteria as to the credit needs of the territories. In
addition the commercial banks together with the insurance companies export a
significant amount of the financial resources they mobilise within the islands.
The absence of money and capital markets within the islands inhibit the
raising of investment finance as also does the structure of the Monetary
Authority which precludes the management of local debt issues on any
significant basis and also rules out deficit financing. It could also be considered
that the lack of a serious Monetary Authority also rules out the raising of
significant overseas loans.
The financial and monetary system must therefore be seriously re-organised.
The more general needs would seem to be:
1. Finance for industry, agriculture and infrastructure
2. Housing loans
3. Consumer loans
4. Some form of money and credit markets where issues can be raised
5. Institutions to keep small savings
6. A Central Monetary Authority to regulate the system.
In summary, what is needed is a flexible monetary and credit system which
maximizes the mobilisation of savings reaching down to the small savers in
particular. Institutions are needed to plug the gaping gaps in the system by
providing long-term credit and transferring surpluses from the commercial banks
and insurance companies to agriculture, industry, infrastructure and housing.
The mobility and flexibility of credit must be guaranteed by a strong Monetary
The fiscal system must also be overhauled in order to increase the revenue
which the state can raise to pour into the investment sectors. The tax systems in
the islands have apparently grown up on an ad hoc basis and some serious
attempt at rationalization must definitely be made in the near future. Every
effort must be made to raise additional revenue through an equitable and
progressive tax structure. Company taxes for example ought to be seriously
investigated and an effort should be made to let revenue bear a significant
relationship to expenditure. A relationship which the present system of
grant-in-aid seriously distorts.
The creation of capital through the use of surplus and/or voluntary labour
must be seriously contemplated as labour itself is a seriously underutilised
Next, the question of aid. This must be seriously considered and a committed
and relevant attitude towards it taken by the islands. Aid must fit into a
particular development programme or strategy, must be of minimal cost to the
recipient and of maximum benefit.
The Report of the Commission on International Development under the
Chairmanship of Lester Pearson pointed out some of the gross disadvantages that
aid conferred on the recipient countries, in terms of the cost, timing and
functional importance. Aid in the islands should be as far as possible untied cash
flows and the transmission of relevant technical and managerial skills.
The donor countries on the other hand should have a more flexible approach
to the question of aid and be concerned more with the positive effects of their
contributions than with recouping these in other directions. The level of aid
given should also take into consideration the level of economic development of
the islands and their stated needs.
As far as loans are concerned the islands should only raise loans for ventures
which will be eventually self-supporting and which will realize sufficient returns
to repay the interest charges. In other words due deference must be paid to the
debt bearing capacity of the islands. Collective efforts must be made to tap
regional and extra-regional sources for loan capital at favourable interest charges.
This must be done however on the basis of carefully identified projects whose
effects on the economic structure and its rate of transformation would be of
Finally, direct foreign investment must fit within a generally planned
framework. Certain areas of investment must be drawn up and those areas in
which foreign investment can participate must be carefully delimited and the
necessary legislation enacted to ensure fair returns to both foreign and local
enterprises. The basic rules under which foreign investment operate should be
well defined and suggested regulations would include:
a. Significant local participation
b. A formula as to repatriation of profits
c. Employment effects
d. Linkage with other sectors of the economy
e. Utilisation of local raw materials.
By these methods it ought to be possible to raise a significant amount of
capital with which to meet the stated criteria and yet not compromise the
sovereignty and integrity of the nationals of the islands.
Turning next to managerial and technical skills it is necessary here to embark
on a policy of education in terms of the achievement of economic goals. The
educational structure needs to be seriously revamped in the islands to emphasize
the fact that human resources must be utilised to the full to achieve the stated
objectives. The educational system has been oriented towards the achievement
of intellectual skills more befitting the English middle and upper classes. The
technical skills have been neglected and there has been no industrial revolution
to inspire people with the need to acquire mechanical dexterity. The islands will
have to create an atmosphere conducive to industrialization in advance of the
actual industrialization process which means the creation of institutions to
produce these technicians and also the creation of an 'attitude' in the schools
and the society which supports a mechanical tradition. Mechanical is not used
here in any derogatory sense but rather to transmit a scientific approach.
Scientific in the sense that a rational approach to problems of resource use is the
predominal one. A number of topnotch institutions are therefore needed to be
set up on a Windward/Leewards basis since they can only be fully viable on this
basis. An Agricultural Institute, a high level Technical Institute, a Scientific
Research Centre for Industry and Resource Utilisation, a Management Training
Centre, a Teachers' Training College, a Civil Service Training School, and a
Bureau of Standards.
The notion of maximizing scarce resources should be predominal in societies
of this type.
Finally, the political and social atmosphere must be such that social demands
can be aggregated and transformed into political decisions which remove the
fetters that bind economic development. The returns to labour should be fair
and just whether in material, aesthetic or social terms. The social and political
systems should be flexible and allow for the free flow of ideas and information
which lead to the maximization of scarce resources. The islands are too small for
severe divisions to have anything but a disruptive effect. At the same time the
exercise of democracy is relatively easier due to ease of communications and
consensus should be relatively easy to achieve. In this light the adherence to
stated goals of the nature we stated should make them that much easier to be
reached and maintained.
We would now like to engage in a discussion of small size in relation to the
economic development of nation states in order to arrive at reasonable
conclusions as to how the problem ought to be approached.
Demas defines a small country as one with a population of five million or less
and with a usable land area of between 10 to 20 thousand square miles.
When one then examines the Windward and Leeward Islands one finds that
these are seven small states ranging in area from Dominica (290 square miles) to
Montserrat (39 square miles) and in population from St. Lucia (101,000) to
Montserrat (12,300). We are therefore dealing with countries of extremely small
size. The seven states taken together however have an area of approximately
1,172 square miles and a population of approximately just over 400,000.
Given this situation of extremely small size and therefore, as some would
argue, an extremely untenable position, the people of these states have the
option of either leaving en masse or staying put. If they choose the latter course
of action there must be several clearly defined positions enunciated by the
islanders and the West Indian and international communities. Firstly, the level at
which the islanders must live; secondly, the efforts the islanders should put into
the development of their communities; and thirdly the level of assistance the
West Indian and international communities are committed to giving the islands.
On an individual island basis it would seem that if there were any advantages
to be derived from small size the islands would probably fall below the critical
minimum level to fully exploit these advantages. The position however seems
very much lighter when the seven units are acting as one unit in the economic
sphere. The resource here is considerably widened with respect to a larger
population, a greater variety of soil types and the possibility of creating more
significant developmental institutions.
This can be cited as the most significant approach to the problem of
extremely small size, that is, economic integration. This, at one stroke, makes
the economic unit a much larger one and as a trading area a more significant one.
Before going into the question of economic integration fully however, we would
like to cite certain of the advantages of small size.
First, to cite Demas, it is important to be unimportant. That is, small
countries may be able to take certain measures against big countries, for
example, putting tariffs on the latter's goods without inviting retaliation.
Secondly, small countries may specialize in high quality speciality products
which may only be a small fraction of large countries' import trade but bring in
significant earnings in foreign exchange to the small countries.
Thirdly, given the size of the country and the ease of transportation there
should be a greater sense of cohesion and if the population is fairly
homogeneous as in the Windward and Leeward islands a greater consensus of
opinion is possible.
Fourthly, given an improvement in technological skills there ought to be a
greater flexibility in the productive structure enabling a fairly rapid change in
respect to both internal and external changes in demand.
Fifthly, the impact of marginal changes ought to be more significant than in
larger countries. For instance, several marginal changes in related activities which
lead to greatly improved efficiency in production ought to be quite significant in
Sixthly, the relative application of size is quite significant as a small loan from
the World Bank of say $20,000,000.00 would be quite a significant one for the
Windwards and Leewards.
Finally, the possibility of a unified market and greater intersectoral impacts
are more possible for small countries than for larger ones.
The arguments for the economic integration of the Windward and Leeward
Islands would seem to be quite impressive as a strategy for overcoming some of
the disadvantages of extremely small size and increasing the possibility of
structural transformation of their economies.
First of all, the possibilities of achieving economies of scale in production are
enhanced in an integration framework. Each individual island cannot hope to
sustain industrial efforts on their own given the extremely narrow markets
available. Import substitution on a Windwards/Leewards basis is more flexible
and less costly. External economies of administration, research, finance etc. are
again more readily available on this basis than on an individual island basis.
This leads next to the question of location and specialization: the advantages
of which are available to the islands with proper planning and a regional
investment policy. A number of industries should be designated Integration
Industries and shared out among the islands so that each gets one. The industries
which spring to mind are an industrial plant based on coconuts which are grown
in each island. This plant should fully utilise the coconut and use all its
byproducts commercially. A fishing industry with a fleet of ships, docks, a
cannery etc.; a fertilizer industry; a cement factory; a cotton ginnery; a livestock
industry; an industry based on forest products. Transportation will be essential
to these industries as they involve the transportation of raw materials to the
manufacturing points. However, the advantage of location will be considered and
specialization given the market size will be a rational response to the existing
Another advantage will be the reduction of external vulnerability. At present
the smaller territories are extremely vulnerable to outside influences caused by
their extreme openness as reflected in their external trade relations. They are
very dependent on exports to raise foreign exchange and on imports not only for
capital and intermediate goods but also for consumption goods. Further, they
export to very few sources mainly the United Kingdom while their imports are
from varied sources thus making them vulnerable in their trading relationships.
Integration would not remove this vulnerability completely but through import
substitution could give them some flexibility on the import side, especially
where foodstuffs and some manufactured products are concerned.
Finally, in terms of bargaining power the islands would be in a much better
position vis-a-vis their more developed partners in Carifta. Instead of being
constantly played off against each other if they adopted a united and coherent
position in Carifta they could coax quite a few concessions out of the more
developed territories. Their bargaining positions could also be improved with
respect to several aid donors.
To secure the fullest benefits of integration certain prerequisites are necessary
and among these could be listed, planning, the rationalization and development
of agriculture, an industrial policy, and an administrative and institutional
Planning would seem to be the cornerstone of any integration in the
Windward and Leeward islands. Resources are scarce and the economies are at a
very underdeveloped stage. Planning in these circumstances must be fairly
comprehensive and involve participation not only at the Governmental level but
also at the level of Trade Unions, Agriculturists, Businessmen, and other
organizations. Planning must coordinate and harmonize island plans into a
Windwards/Leewards framework. This will involve the setting up of a
supra-national body with some political legitimacy to supervise the whole
At the island level the Statistical and Planning Departments should be
integrated and improved so that they can feed statistical data and planning
material into the more sophisticated planning body.
This central body should engage in planning at three levels, the economic, the
social and the physical and should be staffed accordingly.
To elaborate on this, at the economic level what is needed are projections of
output and the identification of contributing productive sectors along with the
financial and capital needs of these sectors and the most efficient way of
increasing their output and performance. In the social sphere there is the need to
identify the effects of these economic policies on the society and the social
changes needed to engender further economic growth and development. On the
physical side there is an urgent need for the zoning of economic development.
Hotel sites, housing schemes, industrial sites, etc. must be done according to
some criteria and not haphazardly. Given the small physical size of the islands
this aspect of planning would seem to be of the utmost importance.
The existence of a planning unit of this type takes care of one aspect of
planning, namely, the technical. There are two other aspects of planning, the
policy-making aspect where the economic, social and political goals are spelled
out and a widely representative Planning Committee comprising politicians and
the other groups in society should be set up.
The other aspect is the executive one and this depends on a highly efficient
Civil Service. The unification of the Civil Service will be very important here as
this will mean the ability to pay higher salaries, attract a higher calibre of staff,
offer better promotion possibilities and better training facilities.
The co-ordination and harmonization of fiscal and monetary policies will be
high on the list of priorities as this will make the units more like one unit and
make the planning area a more feasible one. Next, would follow an adequate
infrastructural framework especially as regards transportation and
communications between the islands, the provision of industrial training
facilities, electricity and water, and the rationalization of health, education and
other social services.
Essential to the process of economic integration in the Windward and
Leeward islands is the rationalization and development of the agricultural sector.
Agriculture has been the mainstay of these economies from their discovery,
particularly the export sector. This activity employs more than half of the
labour force in the islands and uses up more than three-quarters of the arable
land. Any start to the development process must therefore take agriculture into
The benefits which the development of agriculture can confer are firstly, to
raise incomes which means that since the greater part of the labour force is
employed in agriculture there will be a significant rise in incomes and purchasing
power in the islands; secondly, agriculture can make a significant contribution to
industrialization by contributing raw materials to the production processes,
feeding industrial workers at a lower cost, providing markets for industrial
products like fertilisers and weedicides, implements etc., higher wages in
agriculture can mean larger markets for consumer goods produced by
manufacturing, and finally agriculture may produce a surplus which can lead to
capital transfers to industry; thirdly, agriculture can play an important part in
import substitution and save scarce foreign exchange; and fourthly, agriculture
can earn foreign exchange through the export sector.
Agriculture in the Windward and Leeward islands has to be put on an efficient
basis and the best approach is probably through the integration process.
Export agriculture has always been of paramount importance and taken on a
Windwards/Leewards basis there are seven crops of substantial importance,
namely, sugar, bananas, coconuts, cotton, cocoa, arrowroot and nutmegs. The
two most important ones are sugar which is grown mainly in Antigua and St.
Kitts, and bananas which are the mainstay of the economies of Dominica, St.
Lucia, St. Vincent and Grenada. All of these export crops face marketing
problems abroad which are compounded at home by inefficiencies in
production. Yields per acre have been low and technology and capital injection
not very significant. Sugar and bananas have been marketed under preferential
arrangements which may or may not have contributed to the poor performance
of the producers. The lack of foresight in the marketing and production of
arrowroot which is grown in St. Vincent has been responsible for the disastrous
position that industry finds itself in.
As far as domestic agriculture is concerned this branch of agriculture has been
seriously neglected with very little research effort, credit or marketing facilities
being available to the producers in this area of agriculture.
Livestock production has also been seriously neglected although demand for
the products of this type of agriculture are highly income elastic as the
increasing imports of these products show.
As pointed out before, the best approach to the stagnant agricultural sector
would seem to be the regional one. A high-powered Agricultural Development
Agency with a planning and executive function and with sufficient funds to
make a significant impact on agriculture must be set up. This agency must tackle
questions of land reform and land tenure which are shackling the development
of agriculture in the islands. Since the islands seem unwilling to tackle this
problem on an insular basis the best guarantee of success is to let a regional
agency tackle the problem. Irrigation, soil conservation, credit, marketing,
research, machinery for loan to farmers, and the provision of infrastructure,
especially roads, must all be seriously tackled by this agency. The agency must
be innovative and must also have a co-ordinating function. The marketing
agencies in each island, for example, must be in close touch so that surpluses
may go to areas where there are deficits. Also, they can make up quotas of
produce to foreign markets. Advantage must also be taken of seasonal
differences in the growing of crops. Market research both internally and
externally must be carried out and also studies to show the best mix of export
and domestic crops given the factors of land availability, revenue gains, costs of
production, marketability, and foreign exchange gains and savings. The
agricultural sector must be a viable, flexible and productive one in any strategy
of development for the Windward and Leeward islands.
The development of an industrial sector which can make a significant
contribution to the raising of incomes and employment in the islands is very
important when the spectre of rising unemployment and the problem of the
marketing of the export crops is taken into consideration.
Industrialisation will help to diversify economies which are very vulnerable to
outside conditions, will help to alleviate the unemployment situation and also
save valuable foreign exchange.
Industrialisation should first of all be based on the import substitution of
food products and light manufactured consumption articles. There seems to be
reasonable scope for this on an integration basis both from the point of view of
the increased size of the market and in the case of foodstuff the contribution
that the enlarged and improved agricultural sector can make.
The other possibilities are exporting first of all to the Carifta market and then
to the rest of the world.
The success of small manufacturing industry in small countries depends on
several factors namely, physical and engineering relationships, products in which
skilled labour or high precision are critical, products made in small lots and short
runs, locational factors and transfer costs, technical excellence in design,
personal relations in the small firm, operating flexibility and lower overheads,
personalized selling services, and a rapid response to growth opportunities. In
short, small factories can concentrate on quality and design and be competitive
with larger ones, other things being equal.
As in agriculture, an Industrial Development Corportion ought to be set up to
identify and project feasible industrial enterprises. This involves research, finance
and managerial functions in the initial stages. Marketing and advertising are also
crucial aspects of the manufacturing process.
A regional investment policy must be laid down which aims at maximising the
effects of industrialization. Among other things it would have to ensure an
equitable distribution of the benefits of industrialization, establish priorities
among industries and their location, and avoiding unnecessary duplication.
Since Tourism has been touted by some sources as almost a panacea for the
island's problems it will be useful to say a few words here about this industry.
This industry may show signs of growth in the economy like the putting up of
massive steel and concrete structures and the influx of many visitors. These
factors are probably counterbalanced by the considerable leakage of foreign
exchange, the tremendous rise in the cost of living, the possible slow down in
other sectors notably agriculture, the rise in real estate values and the grave
The type of Tourism one would advocate was one which was closely
controlled in terms or zoning, the local content of hotel buildings, the type of
tourist attracted, and its possible beneficial linkages on the rest of the economy.
Some serious wage/price control machinery should also be set up to prevent
misallocation of resources and serious disparities between private benefits and
Finally, some dynamic type of trade policy is advocated between the islands
and the rest of Carifta and between the islands and the rest of the world. As
regards the former, the islands collectively must assume a more positive stance
within Carifta. As regards trade they must campaign for reciprocal relations with
the other territories using their combined markets as a bargaining base. They
should also press for the advancement of the Carifta agreement to include more
countries in the Caribbean and also for its advancement to a producing
arrangement where they can bargain for the setting up of selected industries and
compensating arrangements. For example, if an integration industry is set up in
Trinidad they can claim the right to produce inputs for that industry if it is
feasible to do so.
In Agriculture they can claim priorities under the Agricultural Protocol and
force the larger territories to take their position seriously.
As regards the rest of the world there are questions of trade, aid and finance
which can best be tackled collectively. The approach here again needs to be
positive and dynamic. A get-up-and-get instead of a wait-and-see approach.
In conclusion it would seem that economic integration at the highest possible
level and in its most dynamic form is one of the main prerequisites for the
development of the Windward and Leewards islands. It will take a lot of vision,
planning, commitment, involvement and sacrifice but the viable survival of our
nationals demands this and where there is a will there is a way. Let us embark on
this bold venture with vision, purpose and the will to succeed.
POLITICAL ASPECTS OF INTEGRATION OF THE
WINDWARD AND LEEWARD ISLANDS
With the recent Grenada Conference coming out with the ambitious intention
of working towards a political union of the British Caribbean, it is our purpose
here to take this intention a step further by focussing on the necessary and very
feasible integration of the forgotten portion of the West Indies the Windward
and Leeward Islands.
Our primary aim, therefore, is to take a particular, microscopic view of a set
of islands which are usually lost in the more macro attempts at integration of the
entire Caribbean area. We embark on this exercise in the hope that we can help
to emphasize not only the need for the smaller islands of the Caribbean to work
in greater harmony, and unison, but also the real possibilities of doing so.
It is generally accepted that an issue as significant as integration has, in the
past, been a preoccupation of various elite groups to the exclusion of the mass of
the population. Because past attempts at Caribbean integration have fallen far
short of expectations, it is hoped that future attempts will involve the people
not only in the discussion but also in the decision-making stages of the issue,
since their destinies will surely be affected.
This paper is limited to the political aspects of integration and is a companion
work to the other three papers which cover the historical, economic and
international aspects of the integration of the Windward and Leeward Islands.
Thus we shall endeavour not to traverse these other avenues except where it is
The term "integration" is used in preference to "unification" or "federation"
because the latter two tend to evoke strong emotional responses of one sort or
another, which the more neutral term "integration" avoids. We in the Caribbean
where people view "federal" ventures with skepticism because of our recent
experience, must attempt to view efforts towards integration with as
dispassionate perspectives as possible.
"Integration" is essentially of two kinds mechanistic and organic.
Integration of a mechanistic kind refers to physical forms and processes of
association designed primarily to harmonize conflicts between countries with
separate governmental systems. Organic integration on the other hand means
"the diffusion of attributes of strength and weaknesses throughout the integral
parts of a system. This takes place in such a way that the compensatory
balancing of these attributes destroys their localisation and invests each of the
components with a potential greater than that of its pre-integrated state'.' We
agree with Brewster and Thomas when they claim that integration generally
"cannot be defined simply as mechanisms for linking disconnected units,
whether this be by eliminating forms of discrimination or co-operation in
eliminating conflicts of aims Essentially, we interpret the notion as the
consequence of integrating-mechanisms rather than as the mechanisms
This much more dynamic conception of integration as an "organism" as
distinct from a "machine", offers a theoretical framework which encompasses
the notion of economic, social and political transformation. When the integrated
"organism" functions effectively we may deem such integration positive.
Conversely, negative consequences of integration would set in motion processes
of disintegration. In this paper we hold steadfastly to an organic view of
integration. Politically, this conception of integration can begin from a loose
form of political union through various intermediary stages to the highest form
- that of a unitary state.
Having briefly laid the conceptional framework of integration, it is now
necessary to pose the question: Why should the Windward and Leeward Islands
integrate? Briefly, the reasons are:
1. the desire for political independence,
2. the hope of economic advantage,
3. the need for administrative efficiency,
4. improvement in the conduct of external affairs,
5. the need for a community of outlook,
6. geographic proximity,
7. similarities of political and social institutions,
8. functional federalism of recent past.
In K.C. Wheare's3 language, the reasons for integration are either predisposing
or inducing factors. Those which fall in the first category are factors such as a
similarity of political institutions, geographic neighbourhood, and a community
of outlook which "predispose" the island units to come together for the purpose
of achieving the "inducements" such as maximum economic and administrative
benefits from scarce resources. However predisposing factors cannot by
themselves sustain an integration effort, which in the final analysis succeeds to
the extent that it can maximise gains of a political economic and administrative
nature in each of the island units in a way in which individually they themselves
could not conceivably have achieved.
Let us go into a little more detail on both the predisposing and inducing
factors of integration. Nowhere else in the Caribbean is there so much
homogeneity in geographic, social, economic and political terms as in the
Windward and Leeward Islands. Generally the ease of communication between
the various islands of these two groups is perhaps greater than anywhere else in
the region. The movements of people from one island to another is also
remarkable. Existing ventures in integration of a functional nature in these
islands have been more fruitful than elsewhere. One only has to look at
broadcasting, the Associated States Secretariat and the closeness of pressure
groups to come to this conclusion. In addition, the similarity of the
constitutional and governmental forms predisposes the units to further
integration. And perhaps most importantly, their economic systems display a
remarkable degree of homogeneity. Such homogeneity facilitates integration.
The reasons which constitute an unbearable case for the integration of the
islands revolve around the benefits to be derived from economic, administrative
and political activity. We need not document the well established facts of the
low GDP* per capital and the general poverty of the islands to see the necessity
for a higher stage of economic integration above that of a free trade area.
(Dwight Venner will deal with this). Similarly, we do not have to demonstrate
that integration of the islands' administrative structures is necessary when it is
realized that each island spends individually between 35-50% of all internal
revenue on administrative services. Further, the economies of scale to be gained
from, and the political significance of all seven units establishing common
external relations mechanisms are unquestionable. (Vaughan Lewis will deal with
So in terms of the logic of the situation there seems to be no doubt of the
desirability for greater unification. The questions to be answered are why have
we not yet succeeded in a meaningful integration effort and what form should
this effort take?
Before we attempt to make prescriptions for this integration effort of the
Windward and Leeward Islands, it is important to note some of the failings of
the past federal ventures so that we can learn from our experiences. In the first
place, these ventures have been decidedly elitist, with little or no popular
consultation and decision-making. In the main, integration has traditionally been
imposed on people by the British Colonial Office and the local politicians.
Lesson No. 1 to be drawn from this is that the mass of the people themselves in
each island unit must discuss and decide on this question.
Secondly, recent federal attempts have been conceived in essentially dogmatic
terms. In his recent pamphlet, Ramphal, Guyana's Attorney General, correctly
observes that "we must never again mistake forms of unity for its substance,"
and that by the same token, "we must never dogmatise about those forms lest
they become our masters and cease to be situations."4 It is hoped that
Ramphal, who at present plays a leading role in Caribbean Affairs, not only
takes heed of this himself but passes the lesson on to the leading actors in the
political drama in the Windward and Leeward Islands. It has been the case with
previous federal moves, that proponents and opponents alike have made
themselves slaves to formulae such as a weak federation versus a strong one,
federation versus amalgamation and a various set of other doctrinaire
*G.D.P. Gross Domestic Product
formulations. As Gordon Lewis points out: "The whole problem of regional
integration was frequently misunderstood because sterile textbook categories
were slavishly followed usually along English academic lines." Thus it was
unthinkingly assumed that the leading principle of federalism, following the
thesis laid down by an English theoretician like Wheare, was a sort of peaceful
co-existence between two equal tiers of constitutional authority; from which it
was deduced that anything which detracted from the "independence" of unit
territories constituted a violation of the federal "spirit".5 What was not realized
was that Wheare's conception was not universally applicable it was not
intended to be and further, it was born of a different age and experience to
that of the West Indies. Thus the second lesson is to devise integrative
mechanisms and institutions to suit the particular conditions in the Windward
and Leeward Islands.
The third principal lesson to note from recent federal manoeuvres is that
which Braithwaite has aptly commented on in relation to the Leeward Islands
Federation of the 1940's. He argues that "a strong Federal government was
undoubtedly desirable, however the establishment of such a government was not
a purely legal matter but in the last resort, a political one dependent on the
sentiments of the people and their willingness to accept a due allocation of
power to a central government"6 The lesson here is that federations or
integration efforts are not questions of constitutionalism but of hard economic
and political facts. Similarly, the call for flags, anthems etc. are the least of all
issues. A false national consciousness is one based primarily on these peripheral
things with no firm root in material considerations. On that type of
consciousness a union will certainly fail.
Other subsidiary lessons to be learnt apart from those three relating to
structural issues, include:
the need for selfless, honest committed and dedicated leadership, and
an ability to compromise yet remain firm to one's convictions. With
these lessons in mind we can boldly venture to submit our proposals.
Before we begin to make the precise prescriptions we must in a general way
note the needs of the area. Briefly there are:
decision-making by the people;
iii. control of productive resources;
iv. maximisation of returns from resources;
v. trade diversification;
vi. monetary and financial responsibility;
vii. rapid agro-industrialization;
viii. common regional planning;
ix. general administrative and political efficiency; and
x. appropriate political instutions.
A number of these needs are primarily economic and as such are dealt with in
another paper; we are concerned here with the political needs.
To bring about the realisation of these needs, a number of radical changes
must take place not only in the island units but also in the mechanisms of
integration. First of all we must raise the question of the appropriateness of our
political institutions. For instance, do they make adequate provisions for
representation of the people? To what extent are decisions made with the
consent and participation of the people? When these issues are examined we find
that our institutions are found wanting.
In the first place we must question the applicability of the Westminister
model to our small societies. The British Parliamentary Westminister model
developed in a society at the transitional period of feudalism and capitalism, and
contains a built-in mechanism to compromise the interests of the oppressed
groups in favour of the oppressors. It demonstrates an assumption of the unity
of all classes which clashes severely with social reality. Because Britain has built
up a strong party system and a set of intermediary institutions to resolve social
conflict, challenging social crises hardly arise. This has certainly not been the
case not only with the Windwards/Leewards, but with the entire Caribbean. The
question which some people might pose is this: Why not build up those
intermediary institutions and a strong party system? However, this obscures the
real issue, for we ought to question why these types of institutions have not
arisen concurrently with the imposed Westminister model. The answer lies in the
fact that institutions must not be created for a society, but that society must
mould its own particular set of institutions.
Two Party System
Related to the Parliamentary system is its need for a strong two party system
-a situation in which one "governs" and one "opposes" However in societies as
small as ours, party allegiance tend to become fanatically self-centred and there-
fore limited. Instead of being institutions of mobilisation for national goals,
parties become institutions of division in all spheres of human endeavour.
The questioning of our central political institution leads us to propose a govern-
mental frame. However before we proceed, there must be caution. We do not
intend this to be the seminal proposal on political institutions for our societies;
we merely suggest these guidelines as possibilities for creating more meaningful
institutions relevant to our needs. We begin with a model for each territorial unit
and then advance its principles to a regional body of the Windward/Leeward
Islands as a mechanism of integration.
THE NEW STRUCTURE
First of all we suggest a bicameral legislature within the framework of a
republican constitution. This does not involve merely the removal of the
monarch. This last, while meaningful, is not fundamental. The nature of the
bicameral legislature will be different from all British forms. True it will consist
of an Assembly and a Senate but these forms would be new. (See Table I page 35)
Powers of the Assembly
The Assembly the elected body would consist of the same number of
elected members as at present, but with a big difference. The difference lies in
the fact that this new scheme will see the whole of each island as one
constituency. Thus if 26 persons contest in St. Vincent for 13, seats, those 13
persons who get the most votes would be elected to the Assembly. The powers
of this Assembly would be limited not only by the Senate but also by a Regional
Assembly of the Islands.
The Senate in each territory with the exception of Montserrat could consist
of about 50 persons (with Montserrat having about 30). Members of the Senate
would be selected not by the Premier but by various organizations e.g. Village
Councils, trade unions, youth groups, etc. These Senators will not be paid. The
functions of each island Senate would comprise:
Responsibility for Civil Service and appointment of the President of
the Civil Service Commission;
ii. Appointment of the President of the country who will replace the
iii. Acting as a National Conscience;
iv. Having delaying power over all legislative measures except money bills
which it can delay for only one month.
The powers of the local island assemblies will be dealt with when we consider
the Regional Assembly.
Now we must consider the Regional Senate. This body will consist of 20
Senators 3 from each of six territories and 2 from Montserrat. In addition
there will be the President of the Senate who will have a casting vote. These
Regional Senators will be selected by the Local Senators and will also be unpaid
except for a travelling allowance. The Regional Senate will meet once every four
months except when there are emergencies in which case it can have two extra
sittings per year. Its sittings are limited by the cost of transportation. The
Powers of the Regional Senate will be as follows:
a. Responsibility for the Civil Service on a regional level and appointment
of the Regional Civil Service Commission. The Civil Service will become
totally integrated with the local Civil Service Commission being
responsible for normal Civil Service matters. Questions of higher import
would be referred to the regional body;
b. Acting as a Regional Conscience;
c. Delaying legislation except on money matters;
d. Selecting the symbolic Head the Regional President of the new
integrated state of Windward/Leeward Islands.
Now we come to the composition of the Regional Assembly. This will consist
of each of the island Premiers plus one other elected person (except in the case
of Montserrat). This will thus consist of 13 members meeting often in session.
From among the Premiers, a Regional Head of Government (the Prime Minister)
will be selected.
Now we come to the allocation of Powers between the Regional Assembly
and the Local Assemblies. The Regional Assembly will in effect update the
present Associated States' Secretariat and will have the following powers:
1. Regional Planning Budgeting,
2. Agricultural and Industrial Programming,
3. Monetary Policy,
4. Foreign Representation + Diplomacy,
5. Education and Health,
6. Dealing with Regional Units such as Carifta, Regional Development
7. Formation and supervision of a unification agency.
All these powers are to be conducted in concert with the local assemblies. In
the first 5-7 years of such a union the association between, regional and local
government will be loose. After that it will take a firmer political union if
Under the Unification Agency will be a Permanent Secretariat which
constantly promotes unification of the islands.
SWINBURNE LESTRADE & RALPH GONSALVES
1. H. Brewster and C.Y. Thomas Dynamics of West Indian Economic Integration,
(ISER), p. 10.
2. Brewster and Thomas, op. cit., p. 2.
3. K.C. Wheare Federal Government, p. 37.
4. S.S. Ramphal West Indian Nationhood: Myth, Mirage or Mandate? p. 6.
5. (a) G.K. Lewis The Growth of the Modern West Indies, p. 384.
(b) Even after the failure of the last Federal attempt, West Indian leaders did not
learn from their experience as dogmatism and "doctrinairism" again confronted
us with the Little Eight. Barrow, Premier of Barbados countered Compton of St.
Lucia by claiming that the latter's proposals did "considerable violence to the
federal principle of coordinate an independent authority"
6. Lloyd Braithwaite "Progress towards Federation" in SES, Vol. 6, No. 2, June 1957.
Note: The important thing in the first few years is to use the Regional Agencies to foster
integration. A stronger and more central political unit will then follow.
TABLE I: THE POLITICAL INTEGRATION OF THE WINDWARD
& LEEWARD ISLANDS
SUMMARY OF PROPOSALS
Island becomes 1 constituency
ASSEMBLY with a number of represent-
rtAAMUVDAi atives in Assembly.
About 50, non-paid members
from all interest groups in island.
A. Assembly: to work in close concert with Regional
B. Senate: (i) responsibility for Civil Service Com-
(ii) Appointment of"President" from
(iii) Appointment of "Speaker" of Assem-
(iv) Acting as "National Conscience",
(v) Appointment of heads of Statutory
(vi) Having delaying power over non-mone-
REGIONAL Island "premiers" plus one other elected
ASSEMBLY member from each island. Selects P.M.
from among their number.
REGIONAL About 20, 3 from each territory (Mont-
SENATE serrat 2), select regional President from
among their number. Meets quarterly.
A. Assembly: (i) regional planning budgeting,
(ii) agriculture industrial planning,
(iii) foreign representation diplomacy,
(iv) dealing with wider Caribbean agencies,
(v) unification policy.
B. Senate (i) responsibility for Civil Service at re-
(ii) Regional Civil Service Commission,
(iii) Regional "conscience",
(iv) selection of symbolic Head of Region-
(v) dilatory powers on non-money legis-
SMALL STATES IN THE INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY:
WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE ASSOCIATED STATES
This paper is essentially an overview of international developments bearing on
the question of the viability of small territories in the international society -
such as the West Indies Associated States. It attempts to set the problem of
independence in the post-war period in some perspective, and then to propose
some arrangements whereby the Associated States might enter the international
society with full sovereign status.
A number of factors in the international arena, some of which are fairly
obvious to interested observers, have left our Associated States in a situation in
the international society which, to say the least, is somewhat less than
satisfactory. We here indicate and discuss three major ones.
1. First, the post-war push for national self-determination which, at the
level of collective international recognition had its expression in the
so-called 1960 United Nations Resolution on Decolonisation (the
"Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and
Peoples" to give it its full name), has largely passed us by. Given the
name "micro-territories" states like those in the Associated States
system have been considered too small for the maximum institutional
expression of that Resolution national independence and sovereign
statehood. And though the 1960 Resolution and the U.N. Committee of
24 responsible for monitoring the transition of territories from
colonialism to independence, have specifically adumbrated the view that
neither small physical size, nor small populations, nor inadequate
economic resources should be seen as "pretexts" for delaying the grant
of full independence, the international community still does not appear
to be convinced that territories such as ours are entitled to attain the
status of sovereign states.
This can be seen, to take only one example, in the doubts expressed
both by the United States and British Governments and by U Thant, as
to whether states composed of populations of less than one million
should be allowed to become members of the U.N. the institution,
membership of which rightly or wrongly is seen by most people as
the ultimate institutional recognition in the society of nations of a
country's status of independence. Further, the confusions now existing
between the view of the Committee of 24 and those of the independent
Commonwealth Caribbean states as to whether Associated States status
is an effective answer to a people's quest for self-determination, only
reflects the paralysis in the international community as a whole as to
what should be done about the micro-territories to the "specks in the
ocean" as General de Gaulle once pejoratively referred to our sister
islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe.
2. The second factor is the demise in the international community of the
idea of federation as a suitable mechanism for the expression of
self-determination for groups of small territories. The history of the West
Indian Federation and subsequent attempts in the early sixties is well
known. That history is paralleled by failures of federations in other
regions of the globe. The demise of the idea of federation has, also, gone
hand in hand with the demise of the theoretical assumptions on which
the idea was based.
We can see those assumptions most clearly in looking at the
experience of the country with which we are most familiar the British.
Essentially they were two: first, that particular levels of economic
resources, populations and territorial sizes, were necessary for a territory
to be able to make a claim to sovereign status. Up to the late fifties, it
was almost inconceivable to British governments (regardless of which
political party was in office) that a country the size of Trinidad, much
less Barbados, could be a sovereign state. True, the history of Europe
itself is littered with relatively small-sized entities which claimed
independence and were in some way recognized as sovereign states (some
still exist today). But these came to be viewed as exceptions, and in any
case, the European experience in this regard was not seen as relevant by
Britain to her colonies. The fundamental view of the British Government
was that such colonies could never attain to the necessary level of,
particularly economic, development to be viable members of the
That view received a harsh blow with the grudgingly-given
independence of Cyprus in 1959. Soon, Jamaica was granted
independence, and with the failure of efforts to unite her with Senegal,
to the miniscule (in Africa terms) Gambia. From this period, along with
pressure from the U.N., the criteria for the grant of independence
completely broke down. The British Government hardly put any
obstacles in the way of territories, however small, wishing to be
independent. This is the period when Britain herself begins to turn
inward from her imperial role, and to come to the realisation that her
own viability might depend in some degree on cession of her sovereignty
in favour of the experiment of European economic cooperation. There is
at this time a realisation in the U.K. that, perhaps, the "glorious" period
of colonialism had passed; there was a certain loss, in the phrase
attributed to Colonial Secretary Duncan Sandys, of the "will to govern"
Undoubtedly this was tied in with the view that colonies were now an
unnecessary weight on, rather than advantageous to, Britain; and that
whatever commercial advantages were to be gained could just as well be
gained from sovereign states. Thus the inexorable conclusion followed:
let the troublesome colonies do what they will, as long as they do not
affect our own future options.
The second assumption relating to Federation is tied up with the last
half of this conclusion. Federation was also an institutional mechanism
of international, let us say strategic significance. Federation, and this was
a view of interest to the United States also, was seen as a mechanism for
maintaining regional law and order regional security after the
departure of the colonial powers, within the global system as a whole.
The great powers, when they look at a set of islands like those in the
Caribbean, see not so much nations independent or otherwise but a
geographical region. Their approach to these islands tends to be
geographical or geo-strategic; and they tend to apply, as solutions to
problems which one island or another might think specific to itself, a
formula that attempts to cover the region as a whole. Federation was
one such formula: it had an international function within the terms of
the great powers' conceptions of global security.
This view is still of the utmost importance, especially to the United
States. It affects not simply security, but attitudes to the development
process as the recent Canadian action of the sugar rebate question has
again made clear. But the British, in their haste to divest themselves of
"profitless" colonies reneged somewhat even on this. As they had
previously, given their perceptions of their own interests, given up their
security responsibility for the Mediterranean (Greece) and for Palestine,
just after the Second World War, so they began to cede their
responsibility in the Caribbean to the increasing factual dominance
(including economic) of the United States. The difficulty that British
Honduras is having in getting the British to agree to a Security agreement
relative to a possible invasion from Honduras, is a good indication of the
3. The last of the important international factors which we perceive relates
more specifically to ourselves. This is the failure, surely as far as we are
concerned, of the substitute mechanism for both Federation and
independence, that of Associated Statehood (a form based on the Cook
Islands-New Zealand arrangement), which leaves the crucial strategic or
security areas (defence and foreign affairs) constitutionally in the hands
of the United Kingdom. If there were any doubts that this status is an
unsatisfactory one, the recent "re-colonisation" of Anguilla should have
brought the point fully home. Mr. Ramphal of Guyana has (see his
"West Indian Nationhood") recently made the point that Associated
statehood has meant a continued institutionalization of the
"metropolitan presence" in the Caribbean and that this cannot be to our
or the region's good. But this is surely not, for us, the most important of
the disadvantages of the relationship. The substantive point is that the
relationship still allows the British Government, if it so desires, to
unilaterally disrupt and make quite meaningless, the constitutional
arrangements which have been jointly agreed to. There are important
domestic (regional) reasons which have facilitated this; but the latest
episode in the Anguillan saga makes clear the point that the
constitutional arrangements which we presently have are not, even
legally, fully ours. They are not, in the jargon of political scientists,
autochthonous constitutions. On the other hand, the precise nature of
our constitutional arrangements (whether or not they adequately meet
our requirements for self-determination) is no longer of much interest to
the international society.
Where does that leave us? The loss of interest by the international society -
unless we disrupt their conceptions of and arrangements for global security -
throws us once and for all substantially on our own intellectual resources for
planning more adequate arrangements for our part of the Caribbean region. The
objectives of any such arrangements must be at least three:
(i) domestic political arrangements which ensure adequate freedoms for
all classes of the societies:
(ii) economic arrangements which focus on the central problem of mass
(ii) and the attainment of an international status which gives us the
capacity to make and sustain the types of external arrangements and
links which ensure a truly Caribbean conception of regional security,
and attend to the protection and beneficial manipulation of our
external economic connections.
The point that we would make in relation to these objectives is that they have
to be planned in the context of a proper recognition of certain historical factors
which have tended to act as constraints. These can all be subsumed under the
virtual truism that the history of the West Indian region has been a process of
recurring fragmentation and integration sometimes externally forced,
sometimes internally induced. And this process has a real basis in the particular
lives and locations of the islands. This history cannot simply be brushed aside in
planning future arrangements. In fact, the position that we take in this paper is
that inadequate attention to it was in part responsible for the failure of the last
Federation. The generalisation (truism) made above can be clarified in terms of
(a) We are dealing with a set of islands in relative geographical proximity,
but not geographically (physically) contiguous. It is a simple fact that
island peoples tend, perhaps more than others, to develop
characteristics peculiar to themselves; and for each island and its
people, almost a "national" consciousness peculiar to itself. The links
between the islands cannot be as strong, or as easily attained as the
links between peoples of contiguous territories. There is a certain
"self-ishness" induced by a physical immobility of populations. And
this, in spite of the common "cultural experience" that is the
consequence of plantation slavery. But in our historical experience, this
has been reinforced by
(b) The particular constitutional, in effect administrative, formulas under
which we were ruled. In spite of occasional attempts to group islands
for imperial administrative purposes, each island became the object of
separate rule. This has its obvious consequence in the present number
of Premiers, Parliaments, flags and anthems that characterise the region.
More abstractly put, it is now a fact that the tendency, in fact the
claim, to island self-government, is now a part of the national
self-consciousness of each island; it is not simply due, as there is a
tendency to assert, to the desire of "the politicians," each to be Premier
of his own island, or to make his leadership of one island constitute a
claim to leadership of all the others.
Self-determination then, comes to be seen as becoming operational
through the exaltation of the status of the island a conception that led,
incidentally, to the false equation in some quarters of associated status
with "independence", and the celebration of statehood as
"independence celebrations" Yet there has been, and not only among
the so-called elites in the population, some degree of yearning for a
larger stage to play on (among the masses it has taken the form, of
course, of emigration to the metropolitan centres or or some locus
other than a metropolis which promised fairly immediate economic
returns). In a regional context, this has come up against the third
constraining structural element:
(c) An alleged, and to some extent real, deficiency of what can be called
the necessary "integrating resources", within the region. Put simply, the
region has not been seen as possessing those kinds of economic
resources in sufficient quantities to make integration or unification,
promise benefits to the members of the various islands that could not
have been attained through the retention of their separatist status. An
integration process, the theorists tell us, has to arrive at some equation
between losses and benefits, over both the short and the long run,
satisfactory to all constituent parties. Our regional leaders have not
always seen the possibility of arriving at this equation. It is instructive
that both in Trinidad and Jamaica in the early sixties, the leaders of
these countries used the argument about having to "carry" the smaller
islands as a major one in their pro-independence and anti-federation
But even where we have had integrated systems, we have lacked the military
resources (related of course to the economic) by means of which secession might
be prevented. Few federations or integrated systems have been entirely
voluntary. But the West Indian archipelago is not, to take one example, the
Indonesian archipelago state. At its simplest, Mr. Bradshaw was not President
Sukarno who used the military resources available to his administration to hold
the Indonesian state together in its period of fragility. Nor would a United
Nations rescue a disintegrating West Indian Union, as it did in the case of the
The Constraints versus the Tendencies to Integration
The constraints outlined have to be put in a proper context, however, if they
are not to induce defeatism. There are, in fact, some countervailing tendencies to
them. First, it has become obvious that at the level of economic development, a
regional solution promises more satisfactory results than an island one. In this
respect, developments in this region are part of a world-wide trend towards
integration, spearheaded by the former great powers of Europe themselves
(which is not to say that the particular mechanisms of the EEC are simply
tranferable to this region).
Secondly, the major powers are still, in general, inclined to give economic
assistance on a regional basis: or at least where there exists a dynamic regional
institution devoted to the acquisition and dispensation of capital, they will tend
to use it. And thirdly, the international system will continue to refuse to
bargain, negotiate or simply deal with countries the size of our own. (We
distinguish the powers and institutions of the international system from
fly-by-night moneyed individuals willing to make investments in hotels, factories
and gambling houses, for a quick, exploitative return). In this experience we are
again part of an international tendency. It is instructive to note that a set of
islands comparable to our own, in the Pacific, have just agreed to establish
machinery for joint diplomacy and negotiation in international politics,
communications and trade. The largest of these islands is the independent state
of Fiji, with 520,000 people, and the smallest, the again independent state of
Nauru, eight square miles with 3,000 people, but rich in phosphate deposits.
So the tendency to, at least, economic, integration appears inescapable, in
spite of the fact that regional economic integration experiments in the
developing world have not up to now been unqualified successes. What we do
know is that where political integration systems have dissolved as in the case of
the Malaysian Federation, powerful forces have induced the retention of
economic and security integrating mechanisms, and that these, in turn have
required the formation of joint political institutions of one kind or another.
Similarly, where political problems have tended to separate states from each
other, where these states have been involved in economic cooperation, various
kinds of subterfuges have been devised in an attempt to ensure that the political
difficulties do not endanger the economic integration experiments to too great
an extent. This is the case at present in the East African Community where
Tanzania does not even recognize the post-coup Uganda Head of State. Similar
problems have arisen in the Central American Common Market, after the
so-called "football war" between two of the parties to the Treaty. So the
occasional recriminations within the context of the Caribbean regional economic
experiments are in no sense specific to ourselves.
A New Formula for Political Association Required
Undoubtedly, in the case of the Associated States, it seems to be increasingly
recognized that the present cooperative ventures in the sphere of economic
development required a more closely defined and organised political system. The
viability of the ventures requires this. Let us now make the prior assertion that
any new structure must have full capacity to engage in the necessary kinds of
external negotiations, and in the autonomous creation of domestic institutions;
and that this can only be attained if the locus of full constitutional decision rests
within the islands or the grouping. This is only another way of saying that the
new political system must have full constitutional independence full
sovereignty. This can be done in one of two ways:
(a) either through the separate independence of the island territories who
then delegate the power of negotiation, regulation and execution to
some other body, or
(b) through a prior act of political unification through which a completely
new state is created.
Let us get, first, an old argument out of the way. Island independence is not
an impossibility. Mr. Ramphal of Guyana has asserted that "the most ardent
nationalist among us must pause before promoting independence in isolation for
any of the Associated States." True perhaps, but times change. The most ardent
nationalists among us also paused before thinking of promoting independence in
isolation for many of our Commonwealth Caribbean states which are now
independent. Mr. Ramphal has himself correctly located the psychological
imperatives for the transformation of the assertion for self-determination into
the institutional framework of sovereign statehood in the last decade in the
Caribbean. He has also correctly located a certain incapacity for the autonomous
maintenance of internal security as an impediment to the assertion of
What we need to note (as seems in fact implicit in his speech) is that this is
not something peculiar to the Associated States. There is (when notions of what
he calls "the constitutional cover" for a "metropolitan presence" in the
Associated States are removed) a fundamental similarity between the recent
British intervention in the state of St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla, and the virtual
intervention of the United States and Venezuela in Trinidad during the recent
crisis there. Such powers will wish to intervene and assert their "presence"
whether or not there exists a "constitutional cover" for this. That is one of the
realities of this hemisphere; and the prevention of external intervention lies
much more in the creation of the types of domestic political and economic
arrangements that would remove the necessity for internal insurrection on some
massive scale such as occurred in Trinidad.
When we look at the orthodox requirements of the international society for
recognition of state sovereignty, there is not much in them that would inhibit
island independence. These are:
possession of a territory
ii. possession of a population
iii. possession of a government that can maintain order within the
territory and inhibit penetration of its boundaries.
iv. possession of a reasonable capacity to enter into international relations,
and to fulfil the obligations created by membership of the international
It is readily admitted in contemporary discussions that the capacity for
defence of boundaries is not something that is in all circumstances available to
even many medium-sized states. And it is even possible that our island states
could make, separately, the kinds of arrangements that would, for the purposes
of international recognition, satisfy the fourth criterion.
In fact the case against island independence in isolation rests in our own
uncertainty that we could make, in Mr. Ramphal's phrase, "a living reality" of
such formal independence that is, adequately fulfil the objectives which we
have set for ourselves. And this uncertainty applies increasingly to ourselves, as it
does to many of the independent states in the region. In the Associated States
this uncertainty is generally related not to a capacity to maintain internal
security, but to the fact that already so much of the Budget is taken up with
merely sustaining the administrative arrangements of the state (deficient as these
bureaucracies are), thus in some cases maintaining the necessity for the dreaded
grants-in-aid. An independence in isolation could barely keep the state ticking
And this for a reason which constitutes another argument against such a form
of independence. While it is true that there are many states in, for example,
ex-French Africa whose capacity to survive, and therefore formal sovereignty, is
sustained by budgetary assistance from France, it is unlikely in the present
international system that the members of that system, even Britain would look
kindly at having to provide that kind of service for us.
So the case against island independence rests not so much on an incapacity to
fulfil the formal requirements that the international society requires, but that
that kind of independence would not be satisfactory to ourselves certainly not
to the masses of people. The (dubious) prestige which attaches to state
sovereignty cannot be used by us as a criterion for acquiring island
independence. Nor should we allow ourselves to become the victims of the
argument for "independence-by-demonstration-effect", as seemed to be the case
with Trinidad after the Jamaican secession ("Jamaica or Gabon has
independence, why can't we?").
Finally, in the conception presented here, the criterion for state sovereignty
which should perhaps concern us most is the fourth the "capacity to enter
into international relations" As essentially mono-crop, export economies, our
formula for independence must be one that has as its central focus a capacity to
undertake adequately negotiations relating to our trading and financial
arrangements, and arrangements relating to the use of air-routes and the
exploitation of the Caribbean sea-bed. It is admitted on all sides that the islands,
separately, do not have the resources for undertaking these tasks; and even if
they had, it is doubtful whether the, especially large, members of the
international community would wish to deal with us separately, each island
putting forward essentially similar proposals with minor modifications meant to
gain minor advantages over each other.
The Question of Alternative Arrangements
If independence in isolation is rejected as a mechanism for a viable
international existence, the question is immediately posed of alternatives. The
one that first comes to mind is the idea of a federation of the Associated States
which could then claim international recognition as a sovereign state. The model
might presumably be a more tightly structured and coherent version of the
previous Federation. This writer is not in favour of this kind of arrangement, at
least in this present phase of incipient cooperation between the islands. Given
the immediate objective of economic integration and collective organised
economic development that we have set for ourselves, there does not seem to be
a case for the creation of an elected superstructure (a Federal Parliament) to
direct this process. And it is doubtful whether the masses of people would feel
any more involved in the process, simply because they possessed elected
representatives in a Federal Parliament, in addition to their representatives in the
local House of Assembly.
In adopting this position, we have in mind particularly, the historical
constraints on integration that we have discussed above. It is doubtful if a
consensus could presently be arrived at for the abolition of island Parliaments
and political (governmental) leaderships, in favour of a single House spanning all
the islands. We have to recognize the consciousness for island self-rule that has
existed and continues to exist in the region. And there is little evidence that a
single House would be any less expensive to organise and operate than a dual
representative system. Also it seems worthwhile maintaining the power of
initiative as closely as possible to the base of the political system particularly
in a region whose previous administrative arrangements have favoured direction
from the top downwards, and have left little scope for the exercise of initiative
by the masses of the people. Finally, it seems necessary at this stage to reduce as
much as is possible the intensity of competition for high political office which
exists among the already limited number of trained cadres who could be more
usefully employed in manning the bureaucratic arrangements of the states, in a
political system which allowed them to exercise some degree of initiative.
If a unitary system and the.orthodox federal system are ruled out what other
schema might be considered? The argument of this paper is that there now exists
in the present functional arrangements characterising inter-island political
cooperation, the basis for an integrated system apposite to the tasks immediately
at hand. There now exist a Council of Ministers of the Associated States, its
executive arm the Secretariat, and two institutions not specific to the
Associated States, but increasingly involved in their economic planning processes
- the Regional Development Bank, and the Secretariat of Carifta. What now
seems necessary is their further integration into the planning systems of the
islands, and a reasonably clear definition of the relationship of each of these
institutions to the other, and to the representative systems of the islands.
The political theorists tell us that political integration can be defined as the
process whereby linkages between constituent units are increasingly effected
through "joint participation in regularised, ongoing decision-making" If it is
now admitted on all sides that there must be among the islands increasing
integration of economic processes and structures, what we must now ensure is
that the institutions which direct that process are themselves responsive and
responsible to the political desires and systems of the separate islands. A first
step in this direction can be an attempt at definition of specific areas (economic
and political) which the states are interested in organising collectively. Already
this is going to happen through the mechanism of the Regional Development
Bank. As more and more financial resources come to be channelled from the
international society through this institution, it will become clear that the power
of disposition (concerning the validity of projects for which economic assistance
is required), if not the power of initiative, will pass to the Bank. Such
competence as the separate islands now have to execute major projects will
increasingly pass to the Bank, at least insofar as it has the power of financial
disposition and the power to monitor projects which it has approved.
Similarly, there seems no necessity to duplicate studies either of the
feasibility, or the actual planning arrangements of major economic development
projects. The staffs of the Bank and the Carifta Secretariat can be of major
assistance here. But what this means is that the members of the local
bureaucracies (the island civil services) will become increasingly responsive, in
fact if not in law, to these institutions. Governmental elites will not necessarily
like this; after all, we have been socialised into a system in which local
bureaucracies are responsible to local governments, and to no one else. It will
therefore become necessary to devise political machinery that makes both
bureaucracies (local and the regional) or what will increasingly become a set of
interlocking structures in some measure responsible, but more importantly
responsive to, the elected representatives of the people.
How might this be attained?
A Formula for Independence and Association
First, the question of constitutional independence will have to be settled. The
following process is suggested as the basis for discussion. There seems no reason
why the separate islands cannot at the same time declare their individual
independence through the mechanisms outlined in the West Indies Associated
States Act if that is felt necessary. This would be done, and it should be made
quite clear beforehand, as a prelude to an almost simultaneous vesting of
sovereign authority and competence in a Council of Ministers as the highest
constitutional body in an independent West Indies Associated States system (or
Republic), effected through an Act of Association between the independent
The Council of Ministers would be composed of the Premiers of the separate
islands, a rotating Chairman being elected from among themselves for some
specified period. The Secretariat would then be the main bureaucratic arm of
this Council, working in concert with a Minister from each island with specific
responsibility for Associated States' affairs. Such a Minister would be the
Permanent delegate of each island to the Council, the highest constitutional
body; he would, in other words, be responsible for the day-to-day affairs of the
body, with a specific responsibility to report to island Parliaments, and to carry
their decision to various committees of the Council of Ministers.
It must be the case in such a system that the Council of Ministers operate as a
collegial body; the significance of the institutional position of Chairman would
be twofold. First, some particular individual has to have the power of initiative
for organising the business of the Associated States system; this is a normal
bureaucratic function of any organised body of people. But secondly, and
perhaps more important, this institutional position clarifies the locus of
authority for external relations purposes. The chairman of the Council of
Ministers becomes the chief spokesman (constitutionally so) for the system's
relations with the external world. To the international society, he becomes the
Chief Executive of the sovereign body (the Council of Ministers) and himself and
the Secretariat, the media for negotiation and "entry" into the Associated States
Clearly a constitutional formula would have to be worked out, for inducing a
level of bureaucratic responsibility to the Council of Ministers, of the Regional
Development Bank and the Secretariat. This can be done through bilateral
arrangements with the other independent states of the Commonwealth
Caribbean, probably through the medium of a Heads of Governments
conference. It seems to us important that in particular designated functional
areas, a direct link be created between these two institutions and the Council of
Ministers, particularly for easing communication and the development of firm
linkages between them and the island bureaucracies. It is necessary that the Bank
and the Carifta Secretariat increasingly become a part of the planning processes
of the individual islands, including the preparation of the Budgets of the islands.
The central assumption underlying these proposals is that the present level of
cooperation between the islands does not now require extensive bureaucratic or
political paraphernalia beyond what is now implicit in their current institutional
arrangements for cooperation. For the present, the political arrangements of the
system must follow the will to bring the economic mechanisms and processes of
the area more closely together. As economic linkages increase, political and
bureaucratic mechanisms can be created to match them. But we cannot confuse
the existence or non-existence of supranational (federal) institutions with the
problem of the exercise of political initiative by the elected representatives of
the people towards the furtherance of the integration process. Only in the sense
of the exercise of political initiative (the demonstration of the "will" to
integrate) can politics be said to come before economics in the integration
process. And given our peculiar histories, the exercise of that initiative can only
come, and acquire legitimacy, from within the islands.
This brings to a conclusion our discussion or some of the points that we think
might fruitfully be raised in cogitating over the future of the Associated States in
the context of the present international system. No doubt other proposals might
be advanced and discussed. There is, for example, the proposal for unification of
one or more small islands with an already independent Commonwealth
Caribbean state. This is a possible way of advance. But it needs to be examined
from each individual island's point of view in the context of the question as to
whether political initiatives in the "big" states react too much to their own
internal political manoeuvrings to allow for flexible cooperation and consultation
between themselves and the particular island which might form this kind of
linkage. It is not often that the tail wags the dog.
Then there is the question of representation, for what would still be a small
entity if the Associated States were to merge, at international institutions like
the U.N., and the international trading and monetary institutions. The question
of representation at the U.N. is not impossible of resolution. We should not
necessarily wish to sit as full members of the General Assembly, and membership
of its subsidiary organs of interest to us would be open even if the new political
entity did not have full membership of the Organisation.
What however is of prime importance is a definitive clarification of our
international status, so that initiative can be exercised in this or other directions
when we see fit. This is the problem towards a clarification of which this paper
has been addressed.
VAUGHAN A. LEWIS
THE GRENADA DECLARATION, 1971
ACKNOWLEDGING it to be the inescapable destiny of the people of the
West Indies to be bound together in Nationhood;
MINDFUL of the lessons of past efforts in the cause of West Indian Unity;
CONSCIOUS of the urgent need to end all forms of colonialism in the
Caribbean and to secure the effective independence of its peoples;
BELIEVING that the aspirations of the peoples of the West Indies for
political freedom and social and economic justice can best be fulfilled through
the creation of a West Indian Nation;
DESIRING that in the creation of the Nation the peoples of the West Indies
shall be fully involved;
ACCEPTING it to be the responsibility of those who hold these truths to be
fundamental to act now in their fulfilment and in so doing to create a West
Indian Nation of which all the peoples of the West Indies may one day be a part;
The representatives of the people of Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St.
Kitts/Nevis/Anguilla, St. Lucia and St. Vincent assembled at Grenada this 25th
day of July, 1971, hereby declare it to be their intention to seek to establish out
of their Territories a new State in the Caribbean and to this end to proceed as
(a) A Preparatory Commission will be set up by November 30, 1971, to
prepare for the establishment of the new State. The Preparatory
Commission will, if possible, be established within the Commonwealth
Caribbean Regional Secretariat under a budget to be separately
provided by the Participating Territories.
(b) The Preparatory Commission will be headed by a Chairman, to be
selected by agreement between the Heads of Government of the
Participating Territories, who will have responsibility for recruiting all
necessary personnel within the ambit of the Commission's budget.
(c) In addition to the Chairman, the Preparatory Commission will comprise
members drawn from the Participating Territories nominated by the
respective Governments after consultation with the Chairman.
(d) As far as practicable, Members of the Preparatory Commission will
function as technocrats exercising specific responsibilities during the
life of the Commission.
(e) Questions of policy affecting the work of the Preparatory Commission
will be referred by the Commission for decision by a Council of
Ministers of the Participating Territories that will meet periodically for
this purpose. The Council will comprise one Minister from each of the
Participating Territories designated for this purpose by the Government
of that Territory.
(f) A Constituent Assembly will be established by January 1, 1972,
comprising not less than one and not more than three members from
each Participating Territory nominated by the Government of that
Territory. The Constituent Assembly will have a limited existence of
not more than 16 months (ending April 30, 1973) and will be
responsible for drafting the Constitution of the new State.
(g) The Constituent Assembly will be serviced by the Preparatory
Commission and will rotate its sessions throughout all the Participating
Territories holding at least one public session in each Territory. In the
organisation of its work the Constituent Assembly will ensure the
fullest participation of the people of the Region in the formulation of
the National Constitution.
(h) It will be the aim of the Constituent Assembly to complete the draft
Constitution by December 31, 1972. It will be the aim of Participating
Territories to secure the necessary Parliamentary approval for the
establishment of the new State and to take by March 31, 1973, the
necessary constitutional steps (See (i) below) to provide for its
(i) The new Constitution will be promulgated on April 22, 1973, and
elections will be held throughout the State by June 30, 1973
assuming this to be the arrangement for assembling the first
Government of the State provided for in the Constitution.
(j) During the life of the Constituent Assembly the Governments of the
Participating Territories will endeavour to co-ordinate their policies and
programmes over as wide a field as possible, but more especially in
relation to their dealings with the outside world; and it will be a
particular function of the Preparatory Commission to secure such
(k) During the life of the Constituent Assembly, Participating Territories
will determine the nature of such changes as they may wish to make in
their territorial Constitutions taking account of the work of the
(1) If in the light of the Report of the Constituent Assembly Parliamentary
approval is secured for the establishment of the new State, the
Participating Associated States will, by legislation enacted pursuant to
Section 10 and the Second Schedule to the West Indies Act, 1967,
terminate their status of association with the United Kingdom as from
April 22, 1973, and amend their Constitutions to give effect to the
arrangements agreed upon by the Constituent Assembly for their
association with the other Participating Territories in the new State,
and the Independent States, by constitutional amendment, will likewise
provide for their association with the other Participating Territories in
the new State.
(m) Both the legislation to be enacted by the Association States and the
constitutional amendments to be made by the Independent States will
empower the Constitutent Assembly to promulgate the Constitution of
the new State.
(n) With a view to enabling other Members States of the Conference of
Heads of Government of the Commonwealth Caribbean Countries to
participate in this Declaration and in the action to be taken under it,
this Declaration will be published simultaneously in the Capitals of all
Participating Territories on and not before November 1, 1971. Prior to
such publication and at the earliest opportunity the Secretary-General
of the Commonwealth Caribbean Regional Secretariat will bring this
Declaration to the notice of the Heads of Government of such other
Member States and convey to them the sentiment of West Indian
fraternity that underlies the Declaration and the invitation which the
Declaration extends for their participation in it.
MADE AT GRAND ANSE, GRENADA, THIS 25TH DAY OF JULY, 1971, ON
The Government of Dominica
Hon. E.O. Le Blanc
Government of Guyana
Hon. LF Burnham
The Government of St. Lucia
Hon. J.G.M Comptorn
MADE ALSOAT T
The Government of Grenada
Hon. E.M Gairy
The Government of St. Kitts/Nevis/
Hon. P.L. Bradshaw
The Government of St. Vincent
Hon, P.M Cato
V BEHALF OF:
STATEMENT ON GRENADA DECLARATION
The Grenada Declaration is part of the current of political rethinking that has
been recently characterizing the Eastern Caribbean. It expresses the desires of
the smaller countries to take themselves out of their present colonial political
status. It also expresses their feeling, increased since the events of 1970 in
Trinidad, that the formula of single-state independence will not in their part of
the region be a sufficient means of satisfying the objectives of the West Indian
We accept that the architects of the 'Declaration' have acted out of a genuine
willingness to come to grips with the basic economic, social and political
problems of the region, and in this spirit, welcome the Declaration. Complaints
about haste and the imperialist designs of this or that country are not in
themselves substantial enough to constitute arguments for doing nothing. It is
now the business of people concerned with the objectives of the Declaration to
arrive at positions, after wide ranging consultation with the people, and set out
the broad mechanics and operation of an Eastern Caribbean Union, so that the
concerns of that Union do not become the property of particular individuals or
states, and in the process the interests of the West Indian people once more
To set out a particular approach to the question of Eastern Caribbean Union
is what is intended here and such an approach must take as its starting point not
simply a perspective for the future, but a consideration of present events and
political modes of behaviour in the Caribbean.
In the period preceding the creation of any Union extensive political contacts
with the West Indian peoples must be the norm. Meetings of Constituent
Assemblies in halls will not suffice. Democratic procedure in the formation of
the Union must be a central priority. The form of the Union must reflect the
concerns of the people rather than the particular concerns of the West Indian
politicians at this point in time.
We would to emphasize very strongly the four (4) following points in relation
to any Union.
1. Any Eastern Caribbean Union must be a balanced one. It must reflect
the particular concerns and stages of development of the constituent units. We,
therefore, hold the view that a vital prerequisite for the success of any
contemplated Union is the political integration of the Windward and Leeward
Islands before the consummation of any Union with Guyana and/or Trinidad &
Tobago and Barbados.
2. That the form and constitution of the Union should ensure and enlarge
the democratic and human rights and privileges of the people of the Union and
not, as hithertofore certain privileged groups.
Further, that the fullest participation of the people be solicited and
encouraged in the political, social and economic development of the Union. In
short, political institutions should be fully responsive to the aspirations of the
people and also fully accountable to them.
3. That political institutions should be geared to the purpose of
transforming the economic process and economic institutions towards solving
our pressing economic problems, primarily that of mass unemployment.
The political structure must come to terms with -
a. foreign economic domination through the multinational Corporations
and other foreign economic units, i.e. the vanguard of neo-colonisation;
b. the misallocation of scarce resources through excessive political
gerrymandering of the economic system towards short-term personal and
c. the restructuring of the economies through co-ordinated planning and
decision-making facilitated by regional technical cooperation in all fields;
d the fostering and encouragement of a viable indigenous sector through
cooperative enterprise; and
e. effect a more equitable distribution of income and resources.
4. That the social and cultural aspirations of the people of these islands be
unfettered so that they can realise their fullest expression. We feel that the
environment in which we have been forced to live through past and present
colonial and cultural domination has been in large part responsible for our
present state of underdevelopment. We also feel that political and economic
independence would be meaningless without our own self assertion in the social
and cultural spheres.
The position of the Association on the current integration movement is
simply that the most pressing needs of the islands relate to -
1. Their economic development.
2. Their constitutional advancement.
3. The safeguard of the various rights of the individual and the
development and restructuring of the legal system to fully protect and
ensure these and other rights.
The Windward and Leeward Islands have been identified as a sub-region
within the Commonwealth Caribbean as they have common problems, peculiar
circumstances relating to their small physical sizes and populations, their close
proximity, historical association within different groupings at different times in
the past, a similar level of constitutional development and governmental
institutions, and their inter-related and homogeneous populations which are
mainly of African descent.
It is not surprising therefore that there has been a very perceptible movement
at all levels towards the integration of these islands. At the governmental level,
the creation of the Council of Ministers of the Associated States and Montserrat,
the W.I.S.A. Secretariat and the Eastern Caribbean Common Market reflect this
movement. At the business level, the formation of an Associated States
Chambers of Commerce Association or alignment within the wider Caribbean
grouping is significant. At the labour level, a Windwards/Leewards position is
evolving within the Caribbean Congress of Labour. At the sporting level, the
islands field a combined team in the Shell Shield Tournament. At the student
level, this trend has been evident for a long time and was formalized two years
ago with the formation of the Association at the Mona Campus. One also gets
the distinct impression from discussions with people in the islands that they
would welcome such a grouping.
The position of the Windward and Leeward Islands within Carifta is viewed
by us as being highly unsatisfactory despite the provisions of the Agricultural
Protocol, Article 39 of the Carifta Agreement, the establishment of the
Caribbean Development Bank, and the other measures 'discussed' so far for
redressing the limited position of the smaller territories.
It would seem that fundamental changes in the practice and spirit of the
Integration movement are vitally necessary to secure more lasting and beneficial
gains to the participants. This would involve more emphasis being placed on
production and economic development than on the exchange of goods and
maintenance of a constraining economic system. The gains from the present
integration structure, which seeks to operate strictly in the economic sphere will
be very limited and non-reinforcing. This is so because further gains, as pointed
out before, require fundamental changes. These changes will require a large
measure of political commitment. It is therefore unrealistic and erroneous to
talk of operating strictly in the economic sphere and still hoping for major
Along with these fundamental changes in the whole Carifta Agreement should
go a consolidation in the Windwards/Leewards sub-grouping. The activation of
the Eastern Caribbean Common Market could go a long way to achieve this,
although the participants have not met their deadlines. The E.C.C.M. Agreement
was signed on 9th June, 1968, and freedom of movement was promised in three
years, a common Transport policy in three years and a common Agricultural
policy in two years. A common customs tariff on goods from outside the area
was also promised in three years but nothing has been heard about these
objectives except the last mentioned item although this has not yet been
The Association feels very strongly that the present and future development
of the islands depends on their closer association. We feel that the E.C.C.M. must
be fully activated and restructured to play a positive role in the economic
development of the islands as a pre-requisite to, and then as a continuing part of,
any wider economic or political arrangements.
What is said above is hardly intended to negate the movement for wider
Caribbean unity. For we are well aware that any attempt at economic planning
and coordination as well as rationalisation of agricultural and industrial
production, within the Windwards/Leewards sub-region will entail, inevitably,
cooperation and therefore organizations for cooperation with other countries
particularly in the Eastern Caribbean. A similar statement can be made with
respect to tourism if the "dog-eat-dog" philosophy is not to come to prevail.
We stress simply two fundamentals. First, the prior unification and
consolidation of the Windwards/Leewards sub-region. Second, necessity for the
liberation of the minds of planners from the orthodox formulas of federation
and unitary state as modes of cooperation. As we have already argued, a careful
enunciation of economic production possibilities and objectives must be the task
undertaken prior to, and so that they set the parameters for, the delimitation of
new political structures and institutions. In this way, the political structures
created are only those which reflect central economic objectives and democratic
Once this perspective is taken the distinction now being made by some
governments between economic integration on the one hand, and political
integration on the other, can be seen to be demonstrably false a misreading of
past and present developments in the European Economic Community.
It is unfortunate that Trinidad and Antigua have not found it possible to
accept the present initiative, if only from the perspective of amending its present
scope. The Trinidad view illustrates the extent to which that country still
accepts as viable the now patently false option taken in 1962. The winning of
the battle for West Indian democracy and economic production the objects of
the integration process requires our self-liberation from the old formulas and
false options of the past without fear of criticism by political detractors and
Signed: D. VENNER
Carifta and the New Caribbean. by Commonwealth Caribbean Regional
Secretariat (Georgetown, Guyana: 1971).
On the 1st May, 1968, some six years after the collapse of the West Indies
Federation, the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) was formed. To
date, the Association comprises twelve Territories: Antigua, Barbados, British
Honduras, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla, St.
Lucia, Montserrat, St. Vincent, and Trinidad and Tobago. In the same year that
CARIFTA came into being, the Leeward and Windward Islands decided to
establish the East Caribbean Common Market. One year ago, the Caribbean
Development Bank was established with headquarters in Bridgetown, Barbados.
To the man in the street, the business-man, the student, these three events
suggest a deliberate pattern of action. The book CARIFTA and the New
Caribbean, purports of review the background against which the decisions to
create these institutions were taken, and seeks specifically to measure progress
made in regional economic co-operation within the last three years.
The book is no mere digest of statistical information; nor do the authors
succumb to the strong temptation (that seems to beset so many public servants)
of describing literally the legal instruments under which the regional institutions
function. The authors have produced an eminently readable and challenging
statement outlining the historical context in which a strategy for regional
economic integration was born, and faithfully noting the problems which
attended its birth, as well as identifying those urgent problems that still remain
to be tackled.
In dealing with the series of events that led to the establishment of
CARIFTA, the authors note the curious fact that the same year that saw the
break-up of the West Indies Federation witnessed a call from a leading West
Indian government for the creation of a Caribbean Economic Community. The
following sequence of events is significant.
"The defunct Federation (1958 to 1962) was purely a political structure.
Economically, the region remained as fragmented as it had always been. By 1962
there was not even internal free trade, let alone a Customs Union. In recognition
of this, the Trinidad and Tobago Government, on leaving the Federation, called
in 1962 for the creation of a Caribbean Economic Community embracing, but
not limited to, the member countries of the former Federation." (p. 14).
Reference is next made to the Dickenson Bay Agreement (1965) in which the
Heads of Government of Antigua, Barbados and Guyana expressed their
intention to create a Free Trade Association; to the widening of that discussion
to include other Heads of Government held in Barbados in 1967 when that
conference decided to commission certain studies on West Indian economic
integration the studies to be carried out by economists of the University of
the West Indies. In the words of the authors, the U.W.I. economists "while
supporting the principle of liberalising trade within the Region and establishing a
Common External Tariff put in the centre of the integration approach the
co-ordinated planning of the use of resources from the basic resource input to
the disposition of the final output." (p.15). The Heads of Government
Conference meeting in October, 1967, "endorsed the basic framework of the
Dickenson Bay Agreement and accepted a number of positive proposals designed
to carry the regional movement beyond the limited strategy of a free trade area
and to take care of the position of the Less Developed Countries." (p. 15). The
authors summarize the points made in the Chapter entitled "From Federation to
CARIFTA, 1962-68" in this way:
By mid-1968, then, the English-speaking Caribbean countries had decided to
achieve unity through the route of economic co-operation and integration.
Moreover the impetus for economic co-operation and integration this
time* came from within the Caribbean from politicians, businessmen and
intellectuals. (p. 16).
This double observation points to the existence of a strategy aimed at the
attainment of unity among the English-speaking Caribbean countries at least.
The question is, to what end this economic co-operation and integration? To this
the authors reply: "Clearly, the main reason why underdeveloped countries form
economic integration groupings with each other is to accelerate their economic
development and to increase their degree of economic independence vis-a-vis
the dominant developed countries." (p. 17). At the same time the Regional
Secretariat would have us reminded that the general problem may not accurately
be conceived in economic terms only. The book identifies the consciously felt
need "to build, as it were, a regional social infrastructure around which
economic integration could thrive." (p. 55).
It is in their willingness to discuss fairly and frankly the question of an overall
strategy for development that the authors have made what could so easily have
been a dry-as-dust booklet into a very timely progress report on recent efforts
towards Caribbean economic integration, a work that should be compulsory
reading for those who are involved at any level in the making or implementation
of national or regional policy. An instance of the degree of frankness with which
the authors have dealt with the subject is afforded in the section where they
advocate the desirability of a regional Perspective Plan for full employment. In
putting the case for such a plan, the Secretariat argues that "the advantage of
this exercise is that it would put at the centre of concern in development
strategy the creation of employment rather than treat employment creation as a
by-product of overall economic growth." (p. 118). This is a telling point which
affects policy-making at the national as well as the regional level.
* The italics are ours.
We are also given a statement of the agenda that is currently receiving the
attention of Governments in the region. That agenda includes the following:
a. a proposal on the feasibility of adopting a Common External Tariff.
b. the harmonisation of Fiscal Incentives to Industry.
c. ownership and control of regional resources.
d. further measures to improve the position of the Less Developed
Countries within the integration movement.
But, the authors warn, even if all these reports become the basis for
far-sighted decision in all those areas by the Governments of the Caribbean and
the Caribbean Development Bank, while certain economic goals would be
reached (and these are spelled out ) "the Carifta countries would still face
serious social and economic difficulties" (p. 117).
It is not in the least difficult to demonstrate that the authors have maintained
a sense of balance in defining the problems that beset the movement towards
regional co-operation and integration. The book considers in some detail specific
areas in which co-operation under the CARIFTA umbrella was developed or
expanded: Air-Transport, Broadcasting, Information Services, University
Education, Meteorology, Production Standards and Industrial Research,
Tourism, Shipping. They indicate the development and role of bodies like the
Regional Council of Ministers, the governing body of CARIFTA, the
Commonwealth Caribbean Regional Secretariat and the Caribbean Development
Bank. After assessing the progress made toward "meaningful economic
integration in the English-speaking Caribbean", (p. 119) and in view of the many
serious steps that remain to be taken, the Secretariat notes the urgent and
continuing need for a firm commitment to regional integration and regional
The publication of the Grenada Declaration, in which the Heads of
Government of Guyana, Grenada, St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla
and St. Vincent agreed to form a political union by 1973 has come a mere five
months after the book went to press. The relatively cool reception which that
publication has received across the English-speaking Caribbean, and the fact that
two signatories to the agreement have had second thoughts about it, raise the
question of the degree of commitment to regional unity. The authors of
CARIFTA and the New Caribbean refer to the emergence of a consensus in the
region by mid-1968, a consensus to achieve unity through the route of economic
co-operation and integration. Perhaps that consensus has not changed
significantly in the intervening three years. But where that consensus has
deepened or has remained unaltered, it is necessary to continue to ask questions
about the purpose and function of each regional institution and to arrive at
credible and convincing answers. The book, CARIFTA and the New Caribbean,
raises serious questions of that sort and suggests certain solutions to basic
KEITH HUNTE & LEONARD SHOREY
A NOTE ON THE AUTHORS
Born: Colonarie, St. Vincent
Educated St. Vincent Boy's Grammar School.
University of the West Indies, 1966-1971, B.Sc. Government,
1971 Awarded University of the West Indies Overseas Scholarship to
Manchester University towards Ph.D. Now pursuing research on aspects of St.
Vincent's political history.
Born: Roseau, Dominica
Educated St. Mary's Academy, Dominica
University of the West Indies, 1966-1969, B.Sc. (Econ.)
Won Island Scholarship in 1966 to University of the West Indies.
1970 Awarded University of the West Indies Postgraduate Research Fellowship
to pursue M.Sc. (Econ.) with special reference to Manpower and Economic
Development in Dominica.
Born: Castries, St. Lucia
Educated St. Mary's College, St. Lucia
University of Manchester, 1959-1963, M.A. (Econ.) Ph.D. (Govt.)
1963-4 Temporary Lecturer, University College Swansea, Wales
1964-6 Assistant Lecturer, University of Liverpool
1966-8 Research Fellow, University of Manchester
June September 1967 Visiting Fellow at Institute of War & Peace,
September December 1967 Visiting Research Fellow at University of
the West Indies, Mona.
Since 1968 Lecturer in the Department of Government, U.W.I., Mona.
Awarded Ph.D. (Govt.) Manchester University.
1972 Deputy Director designate of Institute of Social and Economic
Research, University of the West Indies, Barbados.
Born: Bequia, St. Vincent
Educated St. Vincent Boys' Grammar School.
University of the West Indies, 1965-1968, B.A. (History)
1968 Awarded University of the West Indies Postgraduate Scholarship for Ph.D.
1971-1972 Teaching Assistant, Department of History, U.W.I.
1972 Completed Research on Slave Society in the Windward Islands 1763.
1972 Awarded Alexander Hamilton Fellowship to do post-doctorial research
at Harvard University on West African History.
Born: Kingstown, St. Vincent
Educated St. Vincent Grammar School; St. Mary's College, St. Lucia;
and Grenada Boys' Secondary School.
University of the West Indies, 1966-71
Scholarship to University of the West Indies 1966-1969, B.Sc. (Econ.)
University of the West Indies Postgraduate award 1969-1971, M.Sc. (Econ.)
1971-72 Research Fellow, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Mona.
Jamaica, writing thesis for Ph.D. on Financial Development in Underdeveloped
Countries. Currently Campus Coordinator, Monetary Studies Programme.
THE DEPARTMENT OF EXTRA MURAL STUDIES
Vol. 6 Nos. 2 & 3 (Special issue) The Federal Principle
Canada's Federal Experience Alexander Brady
Australia Background to Federation F.W. Mahler
The Constitution of Australia S.S. Ramphal
Early Constitutional History of Jamaica G.V. Gocking
The Road Back Jamaica after 1866 R.N. Murray
The Temporary Federal Mace Bruce Procope
The Constitutional History of Trinidad & Tobago M.O.B. Wooding
The Constitutional History of the Leewards Cecil A. Kelsick
Federalism in the West Indies S.S. Ramphal
1959 A Summary of Constitutional Advances
(a) Trinidad & Tobago Harvey daCosta
(b) Jamaica Harvey daCosta
(c) Leeward & Windward Islands F.A. Philips
Vol. 12 No. 3
The Civil Service Strike in British Honduras C.H. Grant
Vol. 12 No. 4
Spain & Dominica Joseph Borome
Vol. 13 No. 1
The Jews of Jamaica: A Historical View Benjamin Schlesinger
Vol. 13 No. 2
The Influence of the Irish in Montserrat John C. Messenger
Vol. 14 No. 3
Puerto Rico and Tourism
Democracy, Stability and Economic Development
Prolegomena to Reform of Jamaican Local
Review of The W.I. in 1837: by Sturge & Harvey
Vol. 15 Nos. 2 & 3
The U.W.I. and the Teaching of West Indian History
Vol. 15 No. 4
The Trinidad Water Riot of 1903
Vol. 16 No. 1
War & Peace with the Maroons 1730-1739
The Riots of 1856 in British Guiana
Vol. 16 No. 2
Patronage in Colonial Society A study of the
former British Guiana
Vol. 16 No. 3
The Yoruba Cult in Gasparillo
Caribs and Arawaks
Vol. 17 No. 1
Anegada Feudal Development in the Twentieth
Robert C. Mings
Wilfred L. David
Norwell Harrigan &
Review of East Indian Indenture in Trinidad -
Judith Ann Weller K.O. Laurence
THE LEEWARDS edited John Brown 1960
REPORT ON THE RASTAFARI MOVEMENT IN KINGSTON, JAMAICA 1962
(4th Edition due Summer 1972) reprinted Caribbean Quarterly Vol. 13 Nos. 3 & 4
APPRENTICESHIP & EMANCIPATION 4 essays by Hall, Paget & Farley:
Reprinted from Caribbean Quarterly
OUR HERITAGE J. Hearne & R. Nettleford
Printed by The Herald Ltd., Kingston, Jamaica.