S T VTNCNT
0 A 0 A R DI N A R Y.)
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PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT ON CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM IN SAINT VINCENT.
The following announcement is published for general information:-
In due course when there has been sufficient opportunity for studying the
contents of the announcement it is intended to introduce a motion into Legislative
Council for a full discussion of the proposals for their acceptance or otherwise.
1. The Secretary of State for the Colonies has approved in principle proposals
for new constitutions in the Colonies of Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent. The
proposals which follow are now published for information and comment before
they are submitted for final approval to the Secretary of State. Thereafter, the
Legislative Councils will be invited to approve in principle the financial provision
needed to give effect to these changes. It is proposed to introduce the Ministerial
system as soon as practicable; but this of course cannot be done until drafts of the
new Constitutional Instruments have been prepared and have been submitted to
and approved by Her Majesty in Council, and until satisfactory arrangements for
staff and accommodation have been made.
2. The proposals follow the lines of the Constitutions already in force in
Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad, and may be summarised as follows :
(1) The Executive Council will be recognized as the principal instrument
of policy ", and the Governor or Administrator will normally accept the
advice of the Council unless he deems it expedient to do otherwise in
the interest of public faith, public order or good government. (in a
grant-aided territory good government" must inevitably involve close
financial control by Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom
-as is indicated in paragraph 3 (a) below). The Governor or
Administrator will in future bh required to obtain the prior approval of
the Secretary of State to act contrary to the advice of the Executive
Council, except in cases of urgent necessity : and in any such cases his
action will forthwith ce reported to the Secretary of State.
j? 2. /7 2/
.508 SAINT VINCENT, WEDNESDAY, 29 DECiEMBER. 195-.-(No. 82).
(2) The Executive Council will include, as at present, the Governor or
Administrator (as President), the Crown Attorrey, the Colonial
Treasurer, one nominated member of the Legislative Council, to be
appointed by the Governor, and in future four Elected Members of the
Legislative Council to be elected by the Unofficial Members of the
Legislative Council. When the Governor is presiding the Administrator
will remain a member of the Executive Council, but he will have no vote.
The President (whe-ther it is the Governor or the Administrator) will
have a casting vote only. The Governor in Council may appoint an
additional Oficial Me-iber to the Executive Council, provided that such
Member shall have .no vote. Elected Memriers will thus have a voting
majority on Executive Council.
(3) There will be thrzc Ministers who will be appointed by the Governor-in-
(4) A Minister shall cease to hold office if, by a majority vote of all its
members, the Legislative Council pray for his removal. If he is an
Elected Member of the Executive Council he will then cease to be a
member of the Execativ,' Council.
(5) In addition, the Governor in Council will be empowered to remove a
Minister from ofiMce and from Executive Council.
(6) Responsibilities will. for the time being, be allocated as follows:-
In addition to being President of the Executive Council in the
absence of the Governor, the Administrator will be responsible for
the following :-
Defence, Security and Police
Establishment and Personnel
External Affairs, including Immigration
The Crown Attorney
The Crown Attorney will continue to exercise his normal
functions in regard to legal matters and will be responsible for the
presentation in Executive Council of such matters. He will, as at
present, act in his discretion in regard to prosecutions and Court
The Colonial Treasurer
Finance and Fiscal Policy
Minister for Trade and Production
Agriculture and Veterinary
Commerce and Industry
Fisheries and Forest
Research (other than Social Science Research)
(Membership of Regional Economic Committee)
Minister for Communication and Works
Public Utility-Telephones. Electricity, Water.
Shipping and Harbour
SAINT VINCENT. WEI;'NESDAY, 29 DECEMBER, 1954.-(No. 82.) 509
Minister for Social Services
(7) The Governor in Council will have the power to vary the allocation of
responsibilities as between the three Ministers.
(8) As each of the Ministers will be concerned with the work of more than
one Department and as it is essential to avoid the expense of the
establishment of separate Ministries, the Ministers will work in a
central Secretariat, which will take the place of the Administrator's
Office. Ministers will deal with departmental work only through the
Heads of Departments concerned; and formal directions to Heads of
Departments will be sent only through the appropriate Administrative
Secretary in the central Secretariat.
(9) Each Minister will be responsible for the subjects dealt with in the
Departments with which he is concerned; but Ministers will accept the
principle of collective responsibility for all decisions of the Executive
Council, and they will be obliged to abide by the policy decisions of the
Executive Council in all matters, or to resign from Executive Council.
(10) If a Head of Department disagrees with his Minister on any question
relating to the administration of the Department, the Head of
Department may submit to the Minister in writing a statement of his
reasons for disagreeing, and of his recommendations on the question.
The Minister concerned will then be obliged to put copies of this
statement before the Executive Council, as well as his own views. The
Governor in Council will consider the statement or statements and
decide the question at issue.
3. The approval in principle of the above proposals has been given by the
Secretary of State on the following conditions :-
(a) That it is clearly understood and accepted that, in a territory in receipt
of a grant-in-aid of administration, full responsibility for financial
matters will remain with the Governor through the Colonial Treasurer.
So long as Her Majesty's Government has to bear the financial
responsibility of maintaining the administration they must retain on
behalf of Parliament .effective control over the amounts and the
expenditure of necessary grants. Her Majesty's Government will
continue therefore to exercise the procedures which may be considered
necessary to maintain Parliamentary control. Grants-in-aid as
heretofore will continue to be in aid of essential administration and wilh
not provide funds for development for which Parliament has provided,
or may provide in future, separate funds e.g. inder Colonial
Development and Welfare Acts;
(b) That the appointment, retirement, dismissal, promotion and discipline
of all members of the Civil Service will be the sole responsibility of the
Administrator and Governor (who will be advised in respect of relevant
appointments and promotions by a Public Service Commission to be
established in each Colony, the membership of which will be entirely
(c) That provision will be made by the Legislature for the creation of such
new posts as are necessary to give administrative effect to these
(d) That, as in other British territories with similar constitutions, the
Governor's reserve legislative powers will be retained.
4. Subject to the concurrence of the Legislatures the Ministers will receive
remuneration at the rate of 1,000 per annum. Ministers will be expected to give
priority to their work as Ministers but may undertake other work if it does not
conflict with their responsibilities as Ministers; and on this basis they will receive
no remuneration from public funds in respect of their service on Boards or
Committees, as Secretary or otherwise, even when existing legislation provides for
payment of such services.
510 SAINT VINCENT, WEDNESDAY, 29 DECEMBER, 1954.--(No. 82).
5. In the case of Dominica, the Secretary of State has agreed, with the
unanimous advice of Executive Council that there proposals should not take effect
in that Colony for the time being. This advice was given on the understanding
that it would in no wise prejudice acceptance of the proposal at any future date.
The Secretary of State has agreed that the proposal may be applied to
Dominica when a request for this is made, provided circumstances obtaining at
the time are favourable to such a step; he will in any case review the matter
towards the end of the life oi the present legislature. In the meanwhile, subject
to approval o' the legislature, steps will be taken immediately to initiate a system
of government under which the three elected members of Executive Council will
take a greater part in the day to day administration of the island. This will be
effected under the present constitution.
A. L. SAMUEL,
Acting Government Secretary.
29th December, 1954.
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