Front Cover

Group Title: new federation for the Commonwealth Caribbean?
Title: A new federation for the Commonwealth Caribbean?
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00087323/00001
 Material Information
Title: A new federation for the Commonwealth Caribbean?
Physical Description: 15 p. : ports. ; 22 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Williams, Eric Eustace, 1911-1981
Publisher: PNM Pub. Co
Place of Publication: Port-of-Spain Trinidad
Publication Date: 1973?
Subject: Politics and government -- West Indies (Federation)   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Dominica
Trinidad and Tobago
Statement of Responsibility: Eric Williams.
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: Reprinted from Political quarterly, July-Sept. 1973 issue.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00087323
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 40541358

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
        Page 250
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Two public proposals have been made in the Commonwealth
Caribbean within the past year in respect of a new Common-
wealth Caribbean Federation: the first, from representatives of a
number of Governments, meeting in Grenada; and the second, from
certain private citizens of whom the most distinguished was Pro-
fessor Sir Arthur Lewis, one of the most dedicated federationists in
the Caribbean, meeting in Tobago a few months ago.
Both these proposals were stillborn; the view of the Government
of Trinidad and Tobago was that the timing was wrong. The chief
need today is for public agitation of the subject and dispassionate
appraisal of the possibilities and prospects.

Background to the 1958 Federation
The Commonwealth Caribbean territories, varying in size and in
natural resources, but broadly similar in population and historical
development, have basically one thing in common: they have been
nurtured in a climate of isolation one from the other and the
jealousies resulting therefrom.
Britain did little or nothing to encourage inter-island co-opera-
tion. Attempts at rational organisation, even making allowances
for the difficulties of communication, were limited merely to a pro-
posal for a federation of Barbados and the Leeward and Windward
Islands in 1876, and the attachment of Tobago to Trinidad at the
end of the nineteenth century. Britain's historical record on this
matter will throw some light on the problem.
There was total disagreement on the scope of the federation. As
against the federation proposed in'1876, a Royal Commission
appointed in 1882 to consider the finances of the island territories,
opposing any federation whatsoever, stressed the importance of joint
consultative action on the civil service, taxation, customs duties,
reporting of trade statistics, administration of justice, telephone and
postal communications, without infringing on the constitutional
The author is Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.


independence of any one colony ". A commissioner investigating
Dominica in 1893 recommended an administrative union of all the
British Antilles under one Governor-General ", but the Royal Com-
mission of 1897 opposed this and reverted to the 1876 proposal,
while the Administrator of St. Vincent revived the 1893 proposal
for a federation of all the territories excluding British Honduras and
the Bahamas. However, Sir Samuel Hoare, later Foreign Secretary,
who had economic interests in British Honduras, included both
British Honduras and the Bahamas in his proposal for the appoint-
ment of a single High Commissioner for all the West Indian terri-
tories. Major Wood, later Lord Halifax, Foreign Secretary, and
British Ambassador to the United States, was lukewarm in 1921 in
support of federation, merely suggesting that the possibility of a
federation of Trinidad and the Windward Islands should be
This was opposed by the Closer Union Commission of 1932,
which proposed instead a loose federation of the Leeward and
Windward Islands with a single Governor but with no federal legis-
lative or executive councils, and with headquarters in St. Lucia.
The Royal Commission of 1938 endorsed this, while emphasising
that the federation of the entire area was the ideal to which policy
should be directed.
On the West Indian side a conference in Dominica in 1932
recommended a federation of Trinidad, Barbados, the Leeward
Islands and the Windward Islands with headquarters in either
Barbados or Trinidad. In 1938 the Caribbean Labour Congress,
attended by representatives from Trinidad, Barbados and British
Guiana, recommended a federation of the entire British Caribbean
area, including the Bahamas, British Guiana and British Honduras.
SThere was a similar confusion as to the necessity or desirability
of federation. The 1876 proposal was based on the argument that
federation would be more economical and more efficient. The
Royal Commission of 1897 opposed the proposal for a unified West
Indian Civil Service on the ground that-no appreciable evil or incon-
venience necessarily arose from the existing system and that no
substantial economies would be effected by its modification which
would not be equally possible under the system then existing. Major
Wood, however, took the view that separation involved excessive
overhead charges by requiring the full paraphernalia of administra-
tive machinery for communities whose population was so small.
The Closer Union Commission heard evidence that for any federa-


tion or closer union to be acceptable it must achieve economy in
administration, but the Royal Commission of 1938 condemned as
short-sighted policy the rejection of the principle of federation
merely because in its initial stages it would not secure savings on
salaries or other administrative expenses.
On the impediment posed by the difficulties of transportation
there was similar disagreement. In 1860 the Colonial Office con-
sidered that federation was demanded by the "modern facility of
communication ". The 1897 Commission, however, countered that
the Governor-General, apart from the waste of time and the physical
strain involved in the necessary journeys to the different territories
and bringing the Federal Council together, would have to be fur-
nished with a special vessel and establishment. Major Wood in 1921
stressed that the most serious impediment to federation was the
distances separating the colonies and the absence of the necessary
transportation facilities; a British warship had been specially detailed
for his use, while the postal authorities in Jamaica usually sent mails
for Trinidad, Barbados and British Guiana via England, New York
and Halifax. Distance, however, did not prevent Barbados, which
objected in 1876 to Caribbean Federation, from seeking in 1884
admission to the Canadian Federation.
Thirdly, federation was a purely administrative question. The
proposals of 1876 involved: (1) the appointment of the Auditor of
Barbados as Auditor-General of the Windward Islands; (2) the trans-
porting of prisoners between the islands; (3) the admission of luna-
tics from the other islands into a new asylum in Barbados; (4) a
federal leper asylum for all the islands; (5) the centralisation of the
judicial system in Barbados; (6) the creation of a police force for the
Windward Islands.
Federation, to the Colonial Office in 1876, meant freedom of
movement for lunatics and prisoners, and federation of lepers and
policemen. The only hint of economic considerations came from the
Governor of Barbados; that that island's excess population might
find land space in the smaller islands..,
Major Wood admitted the difficulties of isolation, stressing the
fact that the Canadian Government had to arrange mutual prefer-
ences with ten separate West Indian Governments and that the
British Government had to deal about the same things with so many
different parties. The Dominica Conference manifested a similar
concern with the administrative features of federation, and was
silent on the question of economic development.

Federation was opposed by the vested interests. The Barbadian
planters objected to federation with crown colonies and refused to
surrender their ancient constitution with its large measure of self-
government. Later opposition came from Trinidad's Chamber of
Commerce which was described by the Closer Union Commission
of 1932 as being unsympathetic to federation.
The British Government, which had virtually forced Nova Scotia
into Canadian Federation, allowed the ruling class in Barbados and
Trinidad to get away with their opposition to Caribbean Federation.
Major Wood, more impressed with the differences between the
territories than with the similarities, considered that Barbados, with
its uninterrupted and unchanged constitution and its land and
industry almost exclusively in the hands of European large proprie-
tors, was, historically, socially and politically, poles apart from
the crown colonies of St. Vincent and St. Lucia where there was
considerable coloured and black peasant proprietorship. Influenced
by the difficulty of obtaining contributions from some colonies
towards the establishment of what until recently was the Imperial
College of Tropical Agriculture in Trinidad, Major Wood wrote
that federation was "a plant of slow and tender growth which
might be prejudiced if imposed upon reluctant communities from
Britain's federation record reveals no link between federation
and self-government, let alone independence. The Dominica Con-
ference contented itself with the statement that adult franchise is
the ultimate aim of the Federation "; it was satisfied with an elected
majority in the unit legislatures and even approved the presence of
nominated officials in the Federal Legislature. To crown it all, the
Dominica Conference aspired to Dominion Status as expressed in
SLord Durham's Report of 1839 and seemed unaware of the Statute
of Westminster of 1931.
Finally, we may note the popular ignorance on the subject. The
Barbados planters unscrupulously told the workers that federation
would mean the restoration of slavery. The Barbados masses, in
their turn, understood federation to mean that there would be no
need to work any more, and that they would get money or land or
both. One old woman, who had missed seeing the Prince of Wales
when he visited the island, expressed her determination to see
"Federation when he arrived.
By 1947, when the British Government convened a conference of
representatives of all Caribbean territories including the mainland
countries at Montego Bay in Jamaica, three further developments


had taken place of importance for the federation exercise. The first
was the 1941 Agreement by which Britain leased naval bases, the
chief of which was Chaguaramas in Trinidad, for 99 years to the
United States in return for 50 over-age destroyers. The second was
the decision to establish a University of the West Indies in Jamaica
affiliated to London University, and therefore not independent. The
third was the establishment in 1942 of the Anglo-American Carib-
bean Commission whose economic vision did not extend beyond
deep-sea fishing and tourism, suppression of sugar-cane breeding
research in Barbados and its concentration in Puerto Rico; and, as
suggested by an American Secretary of Commerce, the production
of flavours for the ice cream industry of the United States! But
subsequently, the British Government permitted both British
Guiana and British Honduras to secede from the Committee-
thus laying the groundwork for the proposed federation.

The Federal Constitution
The Federal Constitution, as worked out in 1953 under British
influence and supervision by representatives of West Indian Govern-
ments more or less unrepresentative of the West Indian peoples, had
certain basic features which suggested that the political independence
which Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago achieved within a decade
was still several years away. These features were unrelentingly
attacked by the new political party which took over the Government
of Trinidad and Tobago in September 1956, as well as by the
Government of Norman Manley which had just won an election in
Jamaica. Before the birth of the Federal Government in 1958, it
was already the subject of concentrated attack in the two principal
territories of the Federation-Jamaica, with its population majority,
and Trinidad and Tobago with its inequitably high financial
The first of these basic features was the colonialist content of the
Federal Constitution. It passeth all understanding how in 1953, a
mere twenty years ago, a Federal Constitution could include reserve
powers for a Governor-General in respect of defence, foreign rela-
tions, international obligations, currency, constitutional amendment,
imposition of differential duties, measures affecting the credit of the
Federation and involving financial assistance from the British
Government; power in his discretion to prorogue both Houses and
dissolve the Lower House, appointment of two Senators from each
unit; and, most catastrophic of all, appointment in his discretion of

three officials to the Council of State (defined as the principal instru-
ment of Federal policy) and of three members of the Senate, the
remaining eight to consist of the Prime Minister and seven persons
nominated by the Prime Minister.
Trinidad and Tobago, in its emphatic rejection of this colonial-
ism, was supported by the unanimous decision of the House of
Representatives of Jamaica on November 30, 1955, calling for the
removal of official members from the Federal Executive, for the
Prime Minister to have sole discretion in the appointment of
Senators to the Executive, for the reduction of the reserve powers of
the Governor-General, among other basic submissions.
The second feature of the Federal Constitution which both
Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica opposed was the attitude to
grants from Britain and financial control by Britain. Within one
year of the approval of the first report on the Colombo Plan, about
the time when the developed countries, however reluctantly and
inadequately, were preparing to allocate a prescribed percentage of
their Gross National Product to assist developing countries, West
Indian representatives, with a Colonial Governor in the chair,
subscribed to the following philosophy:
"... if they are to be free to control their destiny without political super-
vision on the part of His Majesty's Government, they must be prepared to
conduct their economic and financial affairs in such a way as to reduce to a
minimum the necessity for applying to His Majesty's Government for
financial aid."
Two further problems with the Federal Constitution concerned
West Indians principally: these were freedom of movement and the
Federal Capital.
The issue of freedom of movement involved the large-scale
migration to Trinidad from the smaller islands, frequently illegal.
it was sought to link freedom of movement of persons with freedom
of movement of goods. Britain's approval of the secession of British
Guiana, which was theoretically a refuge for the redundant popula-
tion of the smaller islands, and the suspicion that Britain was begin-
ning to find Caribbean migrants unwelcome, made the issue a very
sensitive one in Trinidad and Tobago. Eventually it was agreed to
defer the subject until five years after the establishment of the
The second problem, the selection of the Federal Capital, was
referred to British experts whose first choice was Barbados, second
Jamaica, and third Trinidad. At a pre-Federal Conference in
Jamaica in 1957, Trinidad was selected by majority vote.


The Federal Government
Thus did the Federal Government come into existence on April 22,
1958, with the pomp and circumstance that do not go with power,
and a Governor-General who had been the chief whip in the British
House of Commons of the ruling party in Britain. The infant
nation was presented to the world m swaddling clothes made in the
United States of America out of the made-in-Britain shroud of
The Federal Government immediately became a battle-ground
for two major issues: independence, with Trinidad and Tobago as
the champion; and the powers of the Federal Government which
involved revision of the Federal Constitution-with Jamaica insisting
on non-interference with its right to its own concept and practice
of economic development, ranged against Trinidad and Tobago
insisting on a strong centralised Federation with extensive powers
especially in the field of economic integration and regional planning.
On the first issue, Trinidad and Tobago placed its emphasis on
the re-negotiation of the 1941 Agreement with the United States and
the restoration of Chaguaramas to the national patrimony. The
Federal Government, weak (its revenue was $9 million or 2
million), was very susceptible to American blandishments. Eventu-
ally Trinidad and Tobago had its way and the Chaguaramas
agreement was re-negotiated in 1960. Trinidad and Tobago also
fought, successfully, for the independence of the University of the
West Indies from London University.
Trinidad and Tobago also took the lead in ensuring that the
Federation was not left out, as it initially was, in British consulta-
tions with the Commonwealth on its accession to the European
Common Market. Trinidad and Tobago was less successful in its
insistence that the Federal Prime Minister should be included in
Commonwealth consultations on the limitation of Commonwealth
migration to Britain, which Prime Minister Welensky of the Central
African Federation attended as of right, because, the British con-
stitutionalists argued, he had been the Prime Minister of self-
governing Southern Rhodesia.
On the question of economic planning, Jamaica, alarmed at indis-
creet Federal statements about incentives to foreign enterprise already
granted under Jamaican law, demanded a loose, relatively impotent
Federation, seeking to ensure this by claims for representation in the
Federal Parliament based on population. Trinidad and Tobago,
deliberately seeking inspiration in other Federal constitutions,
resisted with proposals for a strong Federation, publishing its pro-


posals in The Economics of Nationhood. The smaller territories,
like the Federal Government, wobbled indecisively in this struggle
between the two major territories. The upshot was the referendum
in Jamaica as a result of which the British Government agreed, in
accordance with the potential permit to secede" which it had
given to Jamaica as far back as January 1960, that Jamaica should
secede and proceed unilaterally to independence. Trinidad and
Tobago immediately followed suit. The Federation had lasted only
four years.
The most important common service that was salvaged at the
breakup was the University of the West Indies; others were the
shipping and meteorological services. The University was to continue
as a regional institution on the basis of Government contributions at
the level fixed by the mandatory levy imposed with respect to
Federal revenues. The Federal Defence Force and its limited diplo-
matic establishment were broken up, their members being largely
absorbed by Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

The independence of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago in August
1962 was followed by the independence of Guyana and Barbados a
few years later, when Barbados failed in its attempt to organise a
smaller federation. The Federal territories were back where they
had started before 1947.
Some new formula for co-operation was necessary, especially in
economic matters. The first initiative was taken by Trinidad and
Tobago, which organised the conference of Heads of Governments
of Commonwealth Caribbean countries--eight such conferences
have so far been held. The second was taken by Antigua, Barbados
and Guyana: the establishment of the Caribbean Free Trade Area
to which all the territories sooner or later subscribed. Yet a third
initiative was the provision in increasing quantities, principally by
the larger countries, of technical assistance to the smaller countries.

The Present Position
Major developments have taken place in the decade since the break-
up of the Federation. In the larger countries industrialisation has
proceeded rapidly, and the discovery of substantial off-shore oil
deposits in Trinidad has led to a concern with and a priority for
matters relating to the sea bed and the law of the sea.
The outstanding development has been the progress with


economic integration, leading to a recent decision to establish a
Caribbean Community, with a common external tariff, harmonisa-
tion of fiscal incentives, and an investment corporation for stimu-
lating industrial development in the smaller countries. The treaty
is to be signed in Trinidad at Chaguaramas-the focal point of
Caribbean nationalism-on July 4 (the birthday of Norman Manley)
by the four larger countries: Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trini-
dad and Tobago. Provision is made for the accession of the smaller
countries before May 1, 1974, itself emphasising not only the uneven
economic growth but also a fundamental divergence of opinion on
the mechanics of economic growth.
The independent countries, reflecting Third World policy on
greater national participation in the ownership of natural resources,
have moved towards Government participation in crucial areas of
the economy and in laying down the terms and conditions for
foreign investment. Thus Guyana now owns a substantial part of its
bauxite industry. Trinidad and Tobago's new oil concessions pro-
vide for national participation, including the establishment of a
liquefied natural gas plant.
The smaller countries, by contrast, who have inefficient agricul-
ture, virtually no industries and are attracted to tourism as the
panacea for their ills, show a tenderness to foreign investment and
a predilection for generous incentives. This seems strange in the
light of the reduction by a Commission of Enquiry of hotel conces-
sions in the British Virgin Islands involving leases of substantial
areas for 199 years and exemption from profits, income and capital
taxes during this period. There are current reports about wholesale
alienation in another small island to a European speculator. Study
of the report of the inquiry into casino gambling in the Bahamas a
few years ago, and the more recent report (February 1973) of casino
hotels in Puerto Rico with their unabated negative economic trend
since 1969 ", would probably discourage the small islands from their
eagerness to put all their eggs in the tourist basket. It is this conflict
between foreign policy of the independent countries and the con-
tinued dependence and susceptibility'to foreign blandishments of
the non-independent countries which explains the limitation of the
Caribbean Community Treaty to the four independent countries at
this stage.
The independent countries have been moving towards greater
coordination of their foreign policies. They have established diplo-
matic relations with Cuba and are at the moment of writing pre-
paring to discuss a trade agreement with Cuba. They are all

members of the Organisation of American States, except Guyana-
which is prohibited by the Act of Washington on the ground that
it has a boundary dispute with Venezuela; and the same Act affects
Belize in its progress towards independence, by virtue of its boun-
dary dispute with Guatemala. Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and
Tobago have been emphatic in their support of Guyana and Belize
to admission to such agencies of the Organisation of American
States as the Inter-American Development Bank.
On the very urgent question of their position in the European
Common Market as a result of Britain's accession, with particular
reference to sugar, the independent countries have agreed to present
a common front and to watch very carefully the implications of the
Yaounde Agreement governing the relations of the former French
African countries with the European Community. For this agree-
ment raises the spectre of reverse preferences (and the implications
of these for their trade with the United States), requires the sub-
mission of the development plans of those countries for European
approval, and spells danger to their new industries from competition
from Europe's mass-production. To this end they have begun to
work in collaboration with the Commonwealth African countries.
Two particular difficulties have developed in respect of Carib-
bean integration. There has been no agreement so far on the pro-
posals of Trinidad and Tobago to designate as the regional air
carrier BWIA, a former subsidiary of BOAC, bought more than a
decade ago when BOAC intended to restrict its routes-regardless
of the probable effects on West Indian employment and the exposure
of the West Indian tourist trade to the tender mercies of inter-
national airlines. But negotiations are still continuing. The second
problem is the spectre of secession, dramatised by Anguilla in its
departure from the Associated State of St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla.
.Anguilla is now under direct British control. A flood of speculators,
principally from America, descended on Anguilla after its uni-
lateral declaration of independence ", with rumours of interest by
sinister organizations concerned with casino gambling. The un-
successful attempt at secession in the Rupununi area of Guyana has
aggravated matters. Talk of secession of Tobago from Trinidad,
usually considered as being the expression of a noisy minority, is
further evidence of the strength of the historical tradition to frag-
mentation rather than to integration. Tobago's development has
cost $213 million between 1961 and 1973; the per capital expenditure
of about $5,600 exceeds the figure for Trinidad and Tobago com-
bined, $4,950. The results are seen everywhere in Tobago-


electricity, water, roads, telephones, small farms, houses, above all
The Idea of a New Federation
We can now consider some of the ideas being currently expressed
with respect to a new Federation. The first question is that of
membership. We can count on the participation of Guyana, which
is the headquarters of the Carifta Regional Secretariat (notwith-
standing the old myth of "continental destiny formerly pro-
pounded by ex-Prime Minister Jagan, among others). This brings
us to the question of Jamaica.
Behind all the difficulties posed by Jamaica in the former
Federal association leading to its secession, there lay one crucial
consideration: Jamaica, and Jamaicans generally, were convinced
that they faced nine hostile votes from the Eastern Caribbean mem-
bers of the Federation. Hence Jamaica's insistence on representation
in the Federal Parliament on the basis of population. In the decade
since independence, with Jamaica's practical realisation of the bene-
fits of economic integration, and with the emergence of a new
Government under the leadership of Michael Manley, son of the
late Norman Manley, Jamaica has demonstrated a spirit of practical
and willing co-operation in striking contrast to the fears and hesi-
tancies before 1962. But one has always to reckon with the oppor-
tunities these might provide to an opposition party. Jamaicans
frequently express the hope that the Leeward and Windward Islands
could be persuaded to form one single unit, thus reducing the
number of States" in any new political grouping. So far, how-
ever, all efforts to form such a single unit have been unsuccessful,
but they have formed a common market among themselves. The
regrettable alternatives might therefore be: a Federation similar to
the former in form, with Guyana but without Jamaica (at least to
start with), or even, as some suggest, a Federation of the larger
independent countries to begin with, leaving room for the subse-
quent accession of the smaller islands, preferably as a single unit.
Certain constitutional issues of some importance are being con-
sidered in respect of any new Federal grouping. The first is the
difficult question of dual membership of Federal and State Legis-
latures rejected in 1958. The question now arises whether, in any
new political grouping, dual membership of the first Parliament
only should be permitted except for Federal Ministers-that is, a
State Minister could also be a member of the Federal Parliament.
The second question concerns the relation between the Federal

Government and the Unit Governments. With the example in
recent years of the Federal-Provincial Conferences in Canada and
developments in India, the view is being expressed that in any new
Federal grouping, the Heads of Governments meetings must be con-
tinued as between the Federal Prime Minister and the Heads of Unit
Governments. But two reservations should be noted: the one is
the tendency in recent years (against the objections of Trinidad and
Tobago in particular) to convert them into large meetings including
other Ministers and advisers which is inimical to the intimate dis-
cussions which are essential; and the other is that the Windward and
Leeward Islands, as already suggested above, should be represented
by only one person.
A third constitutional point, prominent in the experience of the
former Federation but somewhat modified by recent movements
towards co-ordination, relates to the question of States rights in
foreign affairs. Always bearing in mind the undesirability of dupli-
cation and the costs involved, the argument runs, the units could
nonetheless well be free, as the Australian States do with their offices
in London, to handle by themselves such matters as their students
abroad, purchases, and industrial promotion under the broad
umbrella of Federal policy regarding foreign investment.
While defence is a Federal matter, within the limits of the
resources available, with internal security essentially a matter of local
concern, it has been suggested that, in these days of international
lawlessness, with riots just around the corner (not infrequently
having some measure of outside intervention), the Federation should
have a highly mobile, well-equipped police unit, to deal also with
organised crime with particular reference to narcotics.
The Indian experience suggests further that the Federal Govern-
ment should have the power to suspend the constitution of a State
Government in such clearly defined cases as the total breakdown of
law and order in the Unit, the illicit assumption of power over a
State Government, or the refusal of a State Government to recognize
the orders of a Federal Court.
In the context of the catastrophic.brain drain of high quality
West Indians in the Public Service, whether in the administrative or
professional branches, the Public Service areas should be federalised
-a logical sequence to a recent agreement regarding the exchange
of public servants between Carifta territories and the protection of
their accrued rights. It has been proposed also that the entire
question of civil liberties should be enshrined in a Federal Constitu-
tion under the protection of Federal Courts.


The question of freedom of movement is not necessarily the
intractable issue that it once was. The Windward Islands have
recently agreed among themselves on freedom of movement. But,
with the British door being steadily closed in their face, the smaller
territories may still be tempted to ignore the large-scale unemploy-
ment now notorious in Trinidad and Tobago and may not be
deterred by the action against squatters or the requirement of Iden-
tification Cards in respect of employment, whether public or private,
and for participation in the compulsory National Insurance Scheme.
Turning to the economic aspect of any new Federal grouping,
the establishment of the Caribbean Community on July 4 removes
most of the controversial issues of the former Federal experience:
for a common external tariff is to be phased in over a period of
years (a longer period for the smaller territories); there is to be
harmonisation of fiscal incentives (more generous for the smaller
territories); and steps are now being taken in the field of double
taxation exemption. Everyone now understands the need for uni-
form company law, and the question of Federal control over central
banking and currency should not be a major problem. The experi-
ence of the past fifteen years, however, suggests that agriculture
should be, unlike the arrangement in the previous Federation, a
matter for the Federal Government, particularly because of its
importance to the smaller territories and the very practical possibility
that, with a common external tariff, they would lose out to the
larger countries. And this is important especially in respect of the
rationalisation of agriculture, and the services required for research,
extension work and plant protection. On the question of exploita-
tion of minerals, there will certainly need to be some reservations
respecting minerals which are already being exploited under the sea
.bed, leaving them to the territories concerned.
The enormous cost of the social services would seem to demon-
strate the unfeasibility of unifying and transferring to the Federal
Government such expensive services as education and health-with
possible exceptions in two major field&of national, as distinct from
State, concern. The first is higher education, including universities,
teacher-training and technical and sub-professional training beyond
" 0 level. The second is responsibility for public health-immu-
nisation against the common communicable diseases, malaria eradi-
cation, elimination of yellow fever-leaving hospitals, clinics, health
centres and individual patient care to the jurisdiction of the States.
There would probably also be general agreement that social security

is a matter for the States, the Federation limiting itself to the
promotion of both uniformity and interchange.
On the important question of revenue, any new Federal group-
ing should begin with the consensus reached in 1961, after much
argument and now reinforced by the agreement on the common
external tariff, that the Federal Government should be responsible
for the collection of all customs revenues, keeping what it needs and
returning the rest to the States on the principle of derivation. There
should be a common income tax law throughout the Federation,
with each State empowered to fix its own rates, on the understand-
ing that the right of the Federation to levy an income tax is written
into the constitution, however this may be hedged around with
temporary prohibitions.

A Categorical Imperative?
In the final analysis the issue of a new Federation is perhaps less a
constitutional than a psychological one. There are two nagging
questions: Is the Caribbean area more than a geographical expres-
sion? Are the Caribbean people ever to be emancipated from the
thraldom to which they have been subjected longer than any other?
Three considerations are decisive.
First, any new Federal grouping of the Commonwealth Carib-
bean must have a powerful impact on the region as a whole and
will be a major step forward in the achievement of the goal to
which the Government of Trinidad and Tobago dedicated itself
when it decided in 1962 to follow Jamaica in secession: economic
integration of the entire Caribbean, irrespective of national origin
or linguistic affiliation. Puerto Rico, since 1898 a part of the United
States Customs Union, remains culturally and psychologically
Spanish, and its great nationalist leader, Munoz Marin, was in his
earlier years a champion of independence. In the recent French
Elections, the Left pledged, if successful, independence for the
Caribbean Overseas Departments. Surinam and the Netherlands
Antilles can apparently have their independence if and when they
want, and, like Haiti and the Dominctan Republic, have indicated
their interest in the Caribbean Free Trade Association. Cuba's links
with the Communist fraternity would appear not to be inconsistent
with increasing trade relations with other parts of the Caribbean.
On the firm basis of the Caribbean Community Agreement to be
signed on July 4, the ultimate goal of a Caribbean Economic
Community would come closer to realisation.
The second consideration is that much hackneyed contemporary


phrase, identity. Who are the Caribbean people? Collaboration
among the various Caribbean Universities to emphasis and promote
Caribbean Studies, with the inevitable repercussions on the secondary
schools, would necessarily have vast implications for fraternisation
through study of the basic languages, English, French and Spanish.
The present absurdity of discussions of Caribbean literature in the
Commonwealth Caribbean which ignore parallel French and
Spanish movements would end. At the present moment, when the
Commonwealth Caribbean countries, whether individually or collec-
tively, seek to present their talent to the world, whether in cricket,
football or athletics, they have to bring back at great cost many of
their leading personalities who are, in newspaper jargon, foreign
based ". The Commonwealth Caribbean literary figures are also
foreign based, living abroad, writing for foreign audiences, the
native springs of inspiration being steadily dried up in the adverse
climatic conditions to which they have exiled themselves. A new
Commonwealth Caribbean Federation will be a positive step in the
direction of the development of a Caribbean personality, whilst its
larger scope and greater economic resources will help so to improve
the quality of life in the area as to make it more possible to keep
within its borders and employ competently the large quantity of
talent which now, like Ruth, sick for home, stands in tears amid
the alien corn ".
The third and perhaps most decisive consideration is the inspira-
tion that any new Federal grouping with its economic perspectives
for the entire Caribbean area will give to the youth of the Caribbean,
restless victims of the international malaise of youth, desperately
seeking sustenance in the achievements of their ancestral lands,
exposed to all the temptations and aberrations of foreign models,
especially the affluent consumer society of North America and the
life styles of black Americans protesting against historic injustices,
wanting affluence but disdaining work, convinced that the world
owes them a living for their former deprivations. In order to
encourage fraternity among the young people of the Caribbean, the
Government of Trinidad and Tobago has agreed to sponsor a rally
of youth from all countries of the Caribbean and to establish a gallery
of Caribbean Emancipators. There is tension in all parts of the
Caribbean today. The successful political integration of a large part
of a region traditionally fragmented will go a long way towards the
achievement of the aspiration contained in the motto of one of the
independent Commonwealth Caribbean States: One people, one
nation, one destiny ".

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