Courtesy Reuters

Towards a Caribbean Federation

FOR at least a century the question of federation in the British West Indies has been seriously discussed, but in spite of the advantages, which have always been obvious to farsighted West Indians, there were many difficulties in the way, some of them geographical and others caused by the insular prejudices of the inhabitants and their differing interests. These human difficulties are now being overcome by common sense and good will even though the handicaps imposed by geography remain.

One of the last and most serious of the stumbling blocks on the road to federation has been the question of migration between the different territories. The people of Trinidad, for example, fear a mass movement to their island from those which are less prosperous and have a denser population. Similar fears exist in mainland British Guiana and British Honduras, which have not yet agreed to join in the proposed Federation. So far as the islands are concerned, however, an agreement on this subject was reached at a Conference held in Trinidad in March 1955, and it is hoped that the remaining stages in the establishment of the Federation will be completed by the end of next year. Mr. Albert Gomes, Minister of Labor, Industry and Commerce in the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, has said that this agreement removed "the last obstacles to federation," and added that "we are all looking forward to being a new Dominion in the British Commonwealth of Nations in the near future."

II

The British West Indies (exclusive of the Bahamas, the inhabitants of which, in defiance of geographical fact, deny that they are West Indians) consist of three separate colonies: Jamaica,[i] Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados; and two groups, the Windward and the Leeward Islands. The former group includes Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent, while the Leeward Islands consist of Antigua, Montserrat, St. Christopher (St. Kitts) with Nevis and Anguilla, and the British section of the Virgin Islands.[ii] There are in addition two mainland

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