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Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community and their advisers concluded three days of intensive deliberations this afternoon in Basseterre, St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla, against the background of the global and regional economic situation, in the course of which the Conference took decisions on a wide range of matters aimed at improving the quality of life in all CARICOM countries.

This second meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government since the transition of CARIFTA to CARICOM, was formally opened by His Excellency Mr. Probyn Innisss, Governor of St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla at the House of Assembly Chambers on Monday, 8th December, and chaired by the Hon. R.L. Bradshaw, Premier

The Conference appointed two committees to examine respectively economic matters and matters of a general nature. Other subjects were deliberated on by Heads of Governments themselves. The reports of these two committees were adopted by the Conference in plenary session.

Developments in External Relations

After reviewing the impact of current international developments on the Community, the Conference considered a number of proposals for improving coordination of foreign policy among Member States, and towards the achievement of joint approaches to a number of urgent international issues and decided that these matters should be considered at a meeting of Foreign Ministers scheduled to be held in the early part of 1976.

In this context the Conference gave particular attention to the role of a number of recently established Latin American/Caribbean institutions including Latin American Economic System (SELA), Caribbean Multinational Maritime Transportation Enterprise (NAMUCAR) and Caribbean Development Corporation Committee (CDCC) and to the position of the CARICOM countries at forthcoming international conferences including the Group of 77 in Nairobi and the Non-Aligned Summit in Colombo.

** With regard to any external trade and economic agreements which could adversely affect intra-regional trade and the complementary development of key sectors of the economies of the Caribbean Common Market, the Conference decided that the practice should be introduced that any Member State entering into such an agreement should consult, wherever possible in advance, with other Member States either directly or through the Secretary-General himself.

Aspects of the Current Economic Situation in the Region

The Conference thoroughly reviewed the effects of the current economic situation in the Region, and agreed on the adoption of a package of measures to counteract the adverse effects of continuing inflation, including the approval, in principle, of the establishment of an expanded Intra-Regional Clearing Scheme and a Regional “Financial Safety Net.”

To this end, the Conference decided to set up a Working Party comprising Officials from Central Banks/Monetary Authorities and Ministries of Finance to prepare detailed proposals for submission to the Standing Committee of Ministers of Finance with a view of bringing approved schemes into operation not later than 30th April, 1976.

The Conference also agreed on the adoption of a number of other measures to reduce the impact of increasing costs of living.

Regional Food Plan

The Conference gave further impetus to the implementation of plans for greater regional self-sufficiency in food production by agreeing in principle, to the formation of the Caribbean Food Corporation, and to its very early establishment – not later than September, 1976. The Conference adopted proposals for a preliminary work programme for the Corporation including the development of a proposed livestock complex relating to milk and dairy products, mutton and lamb, pork, poultry, and hatching eggs.

Regional Transportation

The Conference endorsed a five-year investment programme of the West Indies Shipping Corporation for improvement of the Regional Shipping Service. It agreed to the inclusion of Belize in the Service and directed the Standing Committee of Ministers responsible for Transportation to give priority to the development of small vessel shipping in the Community’s programme of work on maritime transportation.

The Conference further requested the Secretariat to carry out a study on the shipbuilding and repairing industry in the Caribbean and to make recommendations to the Standing Committee of Ministers Responsible for Transportation on ways and means of further developing this industry.

The Conference also approved the terms of reference of the Standing Committee of Ministers Responsible for Transportation in respect of civil aviation.

Review of Special Programme of Measures for the LDCs

The Conference gave close consideration to the operation of the special programme of measures for the LDCs.

The Conference was of the view that a combination of national and regional deficiencies had served to limit the effectiveness of the measures which had specifically been designed for the LDCs.

The Conference therefore adopted proposals for a review of the programme of special measures. In the conduct of this review, the Conference directed the Common Market Council to pay particular attention to the fundamental problems of production and trade faced by the LDCs, particularly to strengthening and expanding the operations of the Caribbean Investment Corporation and other Development institutions in the LDCs.

The Conference further reaffirmed the position of the Board of Governors of the Caribbean Development Bank that the bank would continue to ensure preferential access by the LDCs to the Bank’s Special Development Fund.

ACP/EEC Relations

The Conference took note of the continuing unsatisfactory situation of CARICOM Part IV Countries in relation to their share of European Development Fund (EDF) aid and passed a Resolution expressing its concern in this regard, and requesting the U.K. Government to take appropriate steps to ensure that the position of the non-independent countries in CARICOM is safeguarded.

Settlement of French Citizens in Cayenne

The Conference noted with gravest concern, a proposed plan to settle a large number of citizens from Metropolitan France in Cayenne, and adopted the following Resolution:


Having been apprised of the plan to settle in Cayenne a large number of citizens from Metropolitan France;

Aware that the plan involves the exploitation of the natural resources of the territory which belong as of right to the people of Cayenne;

Further aware that the economy of the territory has been hitherto retarded resulting in a low level of employment and wages:

Gravely concerned at the efforts which have been made to undermine the independence movement in Cayenne and to harass its leaders;

Mindful if the fact that a large number of West Indians have already settled in the territory and that additional labour if required can be recruited from Martinique and Guadeloupe:

Emphasising that the influx of settlers from outside the Region will thwart the independence movement and precipitate a situation of instability which will threaten the peace and security of the Region;

Reaffirming its commitment to the principle of self-determination as exemplified in the struggle of Bolivar and the independence movement in the Caribbean.;

Deplores this deliberate effort to recolonise the territory of Cayenne to strengthen the metropolitan presence in the Caribbean thereby frustrating the processes of self-determination and depriving the people of Cayenne of permanent sovereignty over their natural resources:

Agrees to coordinate the efforts of Member States so as to prevent the recolonisation of this sister territory;

Calls on the international community to exercise its influence in bringing to an end a situation which will threaten the peace and stability of the Region.

University of the West Indies

The Conference decided to appoint a Committee with the following terms of reference:

Taking into account current and projected government policies in relation to the entire system of post-secondary education, to examine and make recommendations on the role, character, functions and orientation of University education in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with special reference to:

the role of the Caribbean University in promoting national and regional consciousness and commitment;

the need to integrate as far as possible the world of study with the world of work;

the need for the Caribbean University to be adapted to the changing development perspectives and strategies of the countries which it serves;

the extent to which it is necessary in the interests of national and regional development to change the balance of disciplines within the University with particular reference to the ratio between arts-based and science- based subjects and to providing training programmes at other than professional level;

the desirability of effecting the maximum devolution of authority possible to campuses consistent with the preservation of the regional character of the University;

taking full account of the financial implications, especially the need to avoid duplication of expensive Faculties;

the need for optimum levels of participation in decision making by all sections of the University community consistent with a University Institution of excellence for teaching, training and research for the benefit of the Region;

the need to review the present formula for financing the University in order to facilitate the operation and development of campus and non-campus facilities, bearing in mind the special needs and capabilities of each contributing territory;

the need to provide for greater University involvement and presence in the non-campus territories;

the desirability and feasibility of the University of Guyana being integrated into a West Indian University System.

Plan of Work

It is envisaged that an inter-Governmental Committee will be set up consisting of one representative from each of the MDCs and the Bahamas; two representatives from the ECCM countries; and one representative from Belize. There would be an independent Chairman selected by the Heads of Government.

The Committee will be supported by a full-time ad hoc Secretariat including a group of advisers.

The Committee will required to prepare the Report on items (a) and (b) above in time for consideration by a Special Conference of Heads of Government to be held not later than 15th March, 1976. (The Conference requested the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to host this Special Conference).

Following upon decisions by the Special Meeting of Heads of Government regarding guidelines for University education in the Region, the inter-Governmental Committee will proceed to deal with the remaining items with the assistance of sub-committees which will be set up as follows:

one sub-committee in each of the MDCs and in the Bahamas;

one sub-committee in the ECCM countries;

one sub-committee from Belize, the British Virgin Islands, Turks and Cayman Islands.

These sub-committees will be chaired by appropriate governmental representatives form the inter-Governmental Committee.

Each of the Governments or group of Governments will decide the structure of their respective sub-committees bearing in mind the need to encourage participation of a wide range of interests both within the society and the University.

The inter-Governmental Committee would on the basis of the Reports of the sub-committees prepared a further report to the Heads of Government for consideration of a new and improved structure for the University which could come into effect at the earliest possible date. Every effort would be made to introduce this structure by October, 1977.

The Conference appointed Mr. William Demas, President of the Caribbean Development Bank, as Chairman of the inter-Governmental Committee.

Resolution on the Treatment of Nationals of CARICOM Countries

Travelling to the residing in the U.S. Virgin Islands

The Committee was informed that the visa requirements imposed on Commonwealth Caribbean nationals entering the U.S. Virgin Islands were causing tremendous hardships to those nationals. Many of them who had been living in the U.S. Virgin Islands for years were losing their jobs and being deported. Moreover they were being deprived of benefits under the Social Security Scheme to which they had been making financial contributions over the years. The Committee noted that the imposition of visa requirements would also seriously affect the traffic between the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Eastern Caribbean thereby posing a grave threat to the viability and survival of LIAT.

The Conference adopted the following Resolution:

The Conference of Heads of Government,

Recalling that at a Meeting of representatives of Ministries and Departments of Labour of the English-speaking Caribbean countries held in St. Thomas at the invitation of the Government of the United States Virgin Islands, certain decisions were taken to regularise immigration of nationals of CARICOM Countries to the Virgin Islands by instituting screening procedures;

Noting with concern that the Government of the United States has so far failed to take the necessary measures to implement these decisions;

Taking account of the change of policy of the U.S. government in requiring the possession of visas by nationals of CARICOM countries for travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands;

Noting with concern the grave implications which this change of policy carries for nationals of CARICOM countries who live in and visit the U.S. Virgin Islands and the actual hardship and difficulties being experienced by relatives and friends who, in times of emergencies and at other times, have occasion to visit this country;

Mindful of the fact that large numbers of nationals of CARICOM countries have over a long period of time, and for many years, resided in these territories and contributed significantly to their economy by providing scarce labour in many job categories which were in extremely short supply;

Noting that a significant portion of the earnings of LIAT, the intra-regional air carrier, is generated by traffic between CARICOM countries and these U.S. Territories, and that therefore the imposition of visa requirements would seriously threaten the economic viability of LIAT.

Concerned that great injustice is being done to nationals of the Caribbean Community who have lived and worked for many years in these territories, by being denied the benefits of social security schemes to which they have contributed;

Expresses grave concern at the treatment of nationals of CARICOM countries residing in the U.S. Virgin Islands;

Calls upon the Government of the United States to revise its policy of requiring visas from nationals of CARICOM countries entering the U.S. Virgin Islands and to examine the question of benefits which such nationals ought to enjoy by reason of contributions which they have made to social security schemes in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Granting of Independence to Associated States

The Conference examined the question of the constitutional status of the Associated States in the context of transition of full independence, and the following Resolution adopted by all the Governments of the Associated States:-

WHEREAS the Governments of the Associated States entered into a state of Association with the United Kingdom Government in accordance with the provisions of the West Indies Act of 1967, Section 10:2 enacted by the United Kingdom Government;

AND WHEREAS the Governments of the United Kingdom and or the Associated States have always understood that the Status of Association with the United Kingdom Government was a temporary solution of the constitutional status of the said Associated States

AND WHEREAS in the Constitution of no other Country of the Commonwealth Caribbean was there a provision for a referendum as a prerequisite to independence;

AND WHEREAS the Governments of the Associated States have now discovered that the Status of Association with the United Kingdom can no longer serve the development and constitutional requirements and aspirations of the Government and peoples of the Associated States;

BE IT RESOLVED that the Governments of the Associated States approach the United Kingdom government at the earliest possible date with a view of seeking the termination of the Status of Association with the United Kingdom Government in accordance with the provisions of Section 10 (2) of the West Indies Act 1967 of the United Kingdom

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this resolution and any other supporting resolution or resolutions, be forwarded through the appropriate channels to Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom with a view to its earliest possible implementation.

The Conference affirmed its view that no impediment should be planned in the way of those States proceeding to full independence in the shortest possible time, and accordingly adopted the following supporting Resolution.

Resolution on the Termination of the Status of Association with the United Kingdom moved by the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community

This Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community at its Second Meeting in Basseterre, St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla from 8 – 10 December 1975 strongly supports the desire of the Governments of the West Indies Associated States of terminate the Status of Association with the United Kingdom and to proceed to full independence.

Conference therefore urges Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom to give effect to these wishes and to grant, within the shortest possible time, independence to these Associated States in accordance with Section 10 (2) of the West Indies Act 1967 and subject only to the right of the respective Governments to fix the date for the independence in accordance with their own programme.

Resolution on Belize

The Conference gave serious consideration to the problem arising out of the Guatemalan claim to the territory of Belize.

The Conference reaffirmed its commitment to upholding the rights of the Belizean people and adopted the following Resolution:

On the occasion of the Second Conference of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community in theState of St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla, all participating Governments.

RECALLING the Declaration of the Prime Ministers of Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago on the discriminatory exclusion of certain Caribbean Countries form the Inter-American System made at the seventh Conference of Commonwealth Caribbean Heads of Government at Chaguaramas in Trinidad and Tobago; the Resolution on Mutual Assistance Against External Aggression adopted by the said Governments at the Eighth Conference of Commonwealth Caribbean Heads of Government at Georgetown in Guyana; and the resolution of the Conference of Heads of Government held in St. Lucia 1974 on the independence of Belize;

RECOGNISING the continuing and reaffirmed aspiration of the Belizean people for freedom from colonialism and for the early fulfilment of the right to self-determination which continues to be restrained by the threat of aggression by Guatemala against its territorial integrity and national sovereignty;

NOTING the recent overwhelming support of the General Assembly of the United Nations for the right of the Belizean people to self-determination, territorial integrity and independence;

REAFFIRM their unswerving commitment to support the rights of the people of Belize to self-determination, and the inviolability and territorial integrity of Belize;

DISAPPROVE the imperialistic expansionist pretensions of Guatemala towards Belizean territory based on archaic legalistic fictions;

DENOUNCE the threat or use of force against Belize as an intolerable violation of the peace of the hemisphere;

CONDEMN any defiance or threatened defiance by Guatemala of the unmistakable will of the community of nations as expressed at the Thirtieth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations for the independence of Belize as a free, sovereign nation;

REQUEST the United Nations to uphold and protect the rights of the people of Belize against any wanton and capricious aggression, military or otherwise, and to take such steps of a multinational character as will provide a guarantee of her security recognised within the United Nations System in order to promote the peace and security of the region and the welfare of citizens of Belize.

The Premier of Belize, Hon. George Price, placed on record his deep appreciation for the continuing support of the other Member States in the Community, and the manifestation of solidarity by the Independent CARICOM countries during the recent General Assembly debated on the question of self-determination of the Belizean people and the territorial integrity of that State.

Creation of Post of Regional Officer for the Development of Youth and Sport

The Conference also gave attention to the question of development of sport regionally as part of an overall programme of Youth Development. It accordingly decided that a post of Regional Officer for the Development of Youth and Sport should be created in the Caribbean Community Secretariat.

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