The Second Conference of Heads of Government of Commonwealth Caribbean Countries took place at Headquarters House, Kingston, Jamaica, from January 13 to 17, 1964, under the Chairmanship of the Hon. Donald Sangster, Deputy Prime Minister of Jamaica and Minister of Finance. The First Conference was held in Trinidad from July 22 to 25, 1963, at the National Museum and Art Gallery, Port-of-Spain, under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.
Attending the Conference in Jamaica were: The Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Rt. Hon. Sir Alexander Bustamante; The Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Eric Williams; The Premier of Barbados, the Hon. Errol Barrow and, The Premier of British Guiana, the Hon. Cheddi Jagan.
Attending these Heads of Government were a number of Ministers and official advisers from the respective Governments.
The official delegation from Trinidad and Tobago comprised: The Rt. Hon. Dr. Eric Williams, Prime Minister and Minister of External Affairs The Hon. Senator W.J. Alexander, Minister without Portfolio and Special Adviser to the Prime Minister; The Hon. A. C. Alexis, Minister without Portfolio and Special Adviser to the Prime Minister; The Hon. Kamaluddin Mohamed, Minister of Public Utilities; and The Hon. Lionel M. Robinson, Minister of Agriculture, Industry and Commerce.
Advisers were: The Hon. Senator Donald Pierre, Minister of Education and Culture; His Excellency Sir Ellis Clarke, Permanent Representative to the United Nations; His Excellency Mr. Matthew Ramcharan, High Commissioner to Jamaica; Mr. Carl Tull, Commissioner in British Guiana; Mr. William Demas, Head of the Economic Planning Unit, Office of the Prime Minister; Sir Patrick Hobson, Chairman of British West Indian Airways; and Mr. Owen C. Mathurin, Public Relations Officer, Office of the Prime Minister.
The Delegations from British Guiana, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago left Piarco International Airport, on Sunday, 12th January for Jamaica in a special B.W.I.A. flight arranged by the Trinidad Government and were greeted at Palisadoes Airport by a Guard-of-Honour drawn from the Jamaican Constabulary, which greeted each head of Government with his national anthem. On the waving gallery at the Airport was a large crowd, among them students from Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and British Guiana.
The Rt. Hon. Sir Alexander Bustamante, leader of the Jamaica delegation welcomed the delegates to the Conference on behalf of the Government and people of Jamaica and replies were made by the prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago and the Premiers of Barbados and British Guiana.
The Text of the address by the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, at the Conference is as follows:
“Prime Ministers, Premiers, Honourable Ministers, Delegates and Advisers, six months ago this conference of Commonwealth Caribbean Countries met for the first time in Trinidad. The meeting was convened in response to a general recognition by the four countries participating in the conference of the urgent necessity for presenting as far as possible, a united front of the Commonwealth Caribbean Countries to the increasing pressures of an increasing confused world.
Since last July the world has become more confused and the pressures threaten to become more intense. The brutal assassination of President Kennedy has introduced an element of uncertainty, not only in the United States itself but also in Venezuela, and the nationalist demonstrations in Panama emphasise the instability in Latin America. The Cuban situation is crying out more than ever for some rational rapprochment which will abate if not eliminate the cold war tensions in the Western Hemisphere. The increasing conflict of interests poses a challenge to the effectiveness of the Organisation of American States. No formula has yet been found by which colonialism can be brought to an end, and independence achieved in British Guiana and the smaller British Territories seeking to federate, whilst a new element of dissatisfaction has emerged in Martinique.
Outside of the Western Hemisphere the problem of India has not been resolved either in relation to China or in relation to Pakistan. New sources of commonwealth unrest have appeared in Cyprus and Zanzibar. The positive achievement of a formal African unity has neither prevented domestic instability nor removed existing tensions between countries.
Whilst the political uncertainties have not abated, the economic pressures that we face have been intensified. The traditional enemy of the Caribbean, the hurricane, struck last year with record savagery. The forthcoming World Trade Conference in Geneva threatens to introduce even more insistently than before a factor of which we have had some experience over the years. The argument that the Caribbean countries enjoy such a high standard of living and such a high per capita national income in relation to Asia and Africa and Latin America that we ought properly to be bracketed, not with the developing countries, but with developed countries like Norway and Italy.
This second meeting of Commonwealth Caribbean Countries convenes in an atmosphere which is even more encouraging than that which prevailed in Port-of-Spain.
On the one hand there is the positive gain from the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty lessening international tension, on the other the Pope’s visit to the Holy Land may be a good augury for the future in the Middle East.
In the Caribbean, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, have been able to get together as never before. The citrus negotiations satisfactorily concluded a few days ago are a tribute to the good sense and to the co-operation of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. At the Cocoa Conference in Geneva, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago also spoke with one voice. Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago worked closely together during the long negotiations at the GATT in Geneva.
The devastation wrought during the last hurricane season has also served to bring us closer together, and I take this opportunity of expressing publicly the appreciation of the Government and people of Trinidad and Tobago and particularly the people of Tobago, for the generous assistance which was so expeditiously provided by our Caribbean neighbours. And never in our ling cricketing history have British Guiana, Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, so well and so successfully as in our recent tour of England under the captaincy of a Senator in Jamaica who was born in Barbados, and who finds Trinidad so congenital that he has played there his greatest innings.
We are very happy to be here in Jamaica. We thank you Prime Minister and your Government for your warm and friendly reception and for the programme of hospitality which you have prepared for us. We look forward within the next few days to establishing contact with the people of Jamaica at various levels.
The Trinidad and Tobago delegation to this conference attach the greatest importance to the deliberations that lie ahead. We are confident that it is on this exchange of views between the governments of the area, and this fraternisation among the peoples of the area that we must at this crucial stage seek to base the foundation of a Caribbean Society superior, not so much in physical resources and economic progress, but rather in the personal discipline of its citizens and the national character to many of the new countries in the world, as well as some of the older countries. Such a Caribbean Society might also, who knows? be influential in its own way in contributing to the achievement of world peace and the reduction of international tension.”
After the opening addresses, the Conference discussed the action taken by each country in implementing the decisions of the first Conference; which resulted from visits by the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago in early 1963 to Jamaica, British Guiana and Barbados where Dr. Williams discussed with Heads of Governments the idea of Caribbean Co-operation.
Among decisions taken by the Conference were:-
(a) Sea Communications:
A sub-committee was appointed, comprised of representatives of the four countries to examine by the sub-committee of the Regional Shipping Conference dealing with the future of the two Federal Ships, the Federal Palm and the Federal Maple, originally donated to the Federation of the West Indies by the Canadian Government, and other related matters.
(b) Air Communications:
The Conference noted the situations which have arisen following the making of regulations by the United Kingdom Minister of Aviation in December 1963, requiring that air services operated into and out of the United Kingdom by United Kingdom companies should be licensed by the United Kingdom Licensing Authority. These regulations have been made without consultation with the territories affected. It was noted that the Governments of Barbados and British Guiana intended to lodge a string objection to the making of these regulations and that other territories affected would support the action taken by the Governments of Barbados and British Guiana.
(c) University of the West Indies:
The Conference noted the representations made by the British Guiana in the decision taken by the Council of the University of the West Indies limiting the number of students from British Guiana who would be admitted to the University and fixing the level of fees which would be charged in respect of such students
(d) Immigration into the United Kingdom:
The Conference noted that the Commonwealth Immigration Act had been extended by the United Kingdom Government for a further year to 31st December 1964, and agreed that joint action would be taken in making recommendations to the United Kingdom Government in relation to the administration of the Voucher System.
(e) Legal Aid Services:
The Conference noted the action taken by the Governments of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago to provide legal assistance to West Indian migrants in the United Kingdom but pointed out that full advantage should be taken by migrants of the extensive legal aid facilities provided by the United Kingdom for Commonwealth citizens. It was also noted that the Government of Jamaica was willing to consider the provision of legal aid to migrants from territories which did not now have such facilities in the United Kingdom, provided that such additional costs were shared by the Governments benefiting from such arrangements. The participating Governments agreed to study the financial implications of these proposals.
(f) Montreal Exposition 1967:
It was agreed that it would be desirable for the four countries to be represented at this International Exposition celebrating the Centenary of the British North American Act of 1867 and that proposals for participation would be prepared by the respective Governments.
(g) Federal Loan and Guarantee Fund:
It was agreed that the United States Government should be requested to re-consider its decision which it had conveyed to the U.K. Government and that Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago should make further representations to the U.S. Government, through their Embassies in Washington, with a view to contribution to the Federal Loan and Guarantee Fund which had already been made by the U.S. Government for the provision of industrial credit in the area remaining in the Fund. It was also agreed that the U.K. Government should be requested to leave in the Fund the contribution from C.D. & W. Funds.
(h) Trade and Development Conference
It was agreed that there should be continuing close collaboration between Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago in their approach to this Conference to be held in Geneva from March 23 to June 15, 1964, as well as in the review of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and in the negotiations on the U.S. Trade Expansion Act (The Kennedy Round), as the interests of both these countries are largely identical in these matters. It was also agreed that the territories of the British Caribbean should submit their views to the Governments of Jamaica and of Trinidad and Tobago, and that a meeting of all the Commonwealth countries of the Caribbean would, if possible, be arranged in advance of the U.N. Conference, to give these countries the opportunity of an exchange of views.
(i) Regional Co-ordination in the setting and marking of Secondary School Examinations:
It was agreed that though these countries as well as others in the Commonwealth had benefited from the system of examinations administered by University syndicates and boards in the United Kingdom, it was time for this system to be replaced by examinations organised within the region, which would pay due regard to economic and sociological factors existing within the region and place greater emphasis on the history and geography of the Caribbean. Conference accepted the proposal that the setting up of a Caribbean Examinations Council is a fit and proper subject for regional co-operation and proposed that a Working Party be set up to work out plans for the necessary change over to School Leaving Examinations under the aegis of such a Council.
Personnel of the Working Party is to be:
Ministers of Education of each of the four Governments represented at the Conference, or the nominees of each.
Advisers to be invited by each Minister
The Working Party should submit to Governments a draft plan, indicating:-
The host territory will provide the Secretariat to the Working Party when necessary. First meeting to be held in Barbados on a date to be fixed.
(j) Civil Aviation:
Conference noted the review of Jamaica activities as regards Air Jamaica and the progress of Jamaica’s talks with the U.S. Government as regards route rights and that Trinidad and Tobago would be having discussions with the U.S. Government at the end of January, 1964.
Conference agreed that in the light of these discussions a meeting on Civil Aviation in the Caribbean should be called in order to achieve a co-ordinated policy in this important field of Air Communication in the Area.
Conference noted the offer of Trinidad and Tobago for territories to participate in ownership of B.W.I.A..
(k) Social Centre in London:
The Conference noted the proposal by Jamaica that a Social Centre for West Indian migrants should be acquired in London.
In the discussion Barbados accepted the proposal in principle, whereas, Trinidad and Tobago while expressing doubts about the principle of the proposal, agreed to refer the matter to their Cabinet.
The Conference noted that the Jamaica Government would in any event be submitting more detailed proposals to the Governments concerned.
The Conference expressed concern about the slow pace at which integration of West Indian migrant into the United Kingdom community was in fact taking place, but it was felt that the whole issue should be approached with greatest caution.
(l) Caribbean Parliamentary Association
The Conference accepted the recommendation by Jamaica that when Commonwealth Parliamentary Association delegates attend the November 1961, meeting in Jamaica, it would be useful and desirable for these delegates to visit other Caribbean Territories in the Eastern Caribbean and authorised the Deputy Prime Minister of Jamaica, who is the 1964 Chairman of the C.P.A., to put the preliminary arrangements in train.
The Conference also accepted recommendations by the Chairman with respect to the June 1964 meeting of the Caribbean parliamentary Association as follows:
All C.P.A. branched should be invited. Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago as the major territories involved should be authorised to send five delegates. The other territories according to their size should send three and two delegates respectively. The Chairman was further authorised to work out the details of the representation of the smaller territories.
(m) Co-operation on Libraries Archives and Museums:
The Conference discussed detailed proposals submitted by Trinidad and Tobago for co-operation and the interchange of information on libraries, museums, archives and archaeology and accepted that the Governments represented should agree to a meeting of archivists of the four countries, to be held in Jamaica under the chairmanship of the Jamaican archivist, to discuss in detail proposals submitted by the Trinidad and Tobago delegation.
(n) Mutual Assistance in Disaster:
The Conference accepted the report of the sub-committee which was set up to report on the Trinidad and Tobago proposals in regard to Mutual Assistance in the event of Disaster. The sub-committee reported as follows:-
There should be two agencies to co-ordinate action in connection with emergency relief measures :-
The Trinidad and Tobago Government should set up its own Emergency Relief Organisation along the lines of the Organisations established in Barbados and Jamaica, and in this connection a representative of the Emergency Relief Organisation established in Barbados and Jamaica, and in this connection a representative of the Emergency Relief Organisations in Barbados and Jamaica should meet in Trinidad within a month to assist in setting up such an Organisation. The Windwards and Leewards should be encouraged to set up individually Emergency Relief Organisations along the lines of that established in Barbados.
The Trinidad and Tobago Government can make arrangements with the United States Authorities at Chaguaramas as to the type and extent of assistance which can be made available in the event of a disaster with respect to the territories named above.
In regard to the creation of a “Disaster Fund” by the United Nations, it was felt that in view of the complications, which are many and varied, i.e., the difficulty in asking for the Caribbean areas as a whole involving such countries as Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, or separating the West Indian Islands from the other territories in the Caribbean; A Fund for disaster relief for the whole Caribbean area may be of such magnitude as to hinder establishment of the Fund. There was also the question as to what agency would allocate such a Fund, and the type of expenditure which should be met from the Fund. For these reasons it was decided that the representatives of Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica at the United Nations should investigate the feasibility of the creation of such a fund, and should advise the Governments concerned as to what future action may be taken.
In regard to the question of stock-piling, it was agreed that this would not be practicable owing to the perishable nature of foodstuffs and deterioration that takes place in respect to clothing, bedding, etc.
It was the considered opinion of the Sub-Committee that in place of physical stick-piling, there should be standing arrangements with private merchants to carry liberal and adequate stocks to meet any emergencies created by disaster. Arrangements should also be worked out with the United States Red Cross Society so as to enable prompt distribution of supplies of preventive medicines, drugs and medicaments which might be sent by air to any disaster area.
The Committee recommends that participating Governments ensure that action is taken immediately so that adequate preparation can be made before the hurricane season.
(o) Regional Police Training College
The Conference considered a proposal from British Guiana for the establishment of a Regional Police Training College. Conference noted these proposals but opinion was divided and no decision was taken as to the necessity to establish such a College at this time. It was noted, however, that this decision would not debar Barbados, the Leeward and Winward Islands and British Guiana from taking joint action on police training.
(p) The British Guiana Question:
Conference discussed fully and frankly the constitutional position of British Guiana and Agreed that the four Heads of Government would meet in private outside the Conference to carry on further discussions on this subject.
Before leaving Jamaica in January 20, the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago issued the following statement:-
“On five occasions in the last few days the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago met with the Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Premier of Barbados and the Premier of British Guiana on the British Guiana question and prepared a statement which was discussed from 10 a.m. to 12.45 p.m. today (Monday 20th January) in the Office of the Prime Minister of Jamaica and from 3.30 p.m. to 4.00 p.m. at Gordon House.
The statement provided the basis for further progress in the development of Caribbean solidarity and was approved by the Cabinet Ministers from Trinidad and Tobago who accompanied the Prime Minister to Jamaica.
It was not possible to reach agreement on this statement. It was not accepted by the Premier of British Guiana.”
(q) Sea Communication
It was agreed that :-
(i) The Working Party set up by the Heads of Government at its meeting in Port-of-Spain in July 1963, should have a deadline to submit its report, and that this should be the 31st March, 1964;
(ii) Representatives of the Council present at this Conference should seek an early meeting of the Regional Shipping Council, prior to the 31st March, 1964, to consider as a matter of urgency, the future of the present shipping service, and to seek concurrence of the proposals.
(iii) A Committee of Ministers of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and British Guiana, should be appointed to consider the proposed Working Party’s report after the 31st March, 1964, so that the replacement of the existing shipping arrangements could be facilitated expeditiously.
(r) Marketing of Sugar:
Certain aspects of the marketing policies for West Indian Sugar were discussed and it was agreed that if any important issues arose in connection with sugar before the next meeting of Heads of Governments, the four Governments would confer and that Jamaica would take steps to convene the meeting.
The following statement made by the Jamaica delegation was noted by the Conference:-
“The Jamaica Government has taken note of the statement issued by the Right Honourable Dr. Eric Williams, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, on his Government’s policy with respect to sugar. The Jamaica Government is in full agreement that no attempt shall be made to change to Commonwealth Sugar Agreement and is fully in accord with his expression that it is one of the best of the commodity agreements.
While the Jamaica Government would welcome obtaining further funds for economic development with particular emphasis on (a) sugar workers housing; and (b) general housing, the Jamaica Government would however wish it placed on record that in seeking a possible source for such funds, that the proposal suggested by Dr. Williams should be regarded purely as a potential source that may be convenient to the U.K. Government for which to provide such aid and that no attempt should be made to suggest that there be entitled or right of access to this particular source for the purposes mentioned.
With regard to future sugar negotiations, Jamaica Government restates that, while it does not abdicate its responsibilities to ensure obtaining the best possible agreements for its exports, in this particular instance our Government proposes to continue utilising the B.W.I.S.A. as negotiators on its behalf with the proviso that the Jamaica Government must be constantly kept informed and that there shall always be the fullest consultation between the Association and Government prior to and during any negotiations with Government reserving its full rights, responsibilities and powers.”
(s) Trade in Agricultural Products:
Conference accepted the Reports of the Sub-Committee on measures to be taken for the expansion of trade in agricultural products in the area;
The Committee recommended that a team of Exports under the auspices of the United Nations should be commissioned:-
The proposals submitted by British Guiana and Barbados for improving intra-regional trade by the exchange of market information was accepted and it was recommended that:-
Governments put into effect immediately, machinery for the exchange of quantitative information regarding the periods when shortage and/or surpluses of agricultural products exists, or are likely to occur in their respective countries.
DECLARATION OF POLICY IN REGARD TO ECONOMIC AID AT THE CONFERENCE OF HEADS OF GOVERNMENT OF COMMONWEALTH CARIBBEAN COUNTRIES HELD AT KINGSTON, JAMAICA, JANUARY 1964
The Conference considered the difficulties which the Caribbean countries have encountered in obtaining economic aid, as follows:-
- The criteria used by agencies involved in financial aid, both bilateral and multilateral, such as per capita income, recent economic growth rates and balance of payments situation, did not take in to account any of the important factors bearing on the development of the economies
- Aid was available for projects of certain minimum size, which minimum ruled out the smaller projects for improvement which we needed by these territories
- The practice of assisting only to the extent of the foreign exchange requirements of projects results in a large burden for local costs and also ruled out many projects such as those in the agriculture sector
- The limited aid that was made available by the metropolitan countries in the colonial period had been used for social purposes rather than for productive projects
- The projects which were attractive from the point of view of the lenders were often not those accorded the highest priorities in the territories
The Conference took the view that the criteria did not and do not adequately cover the special problems and unique features of the Caribbean economies, with special reference to the following :-
- With the exception of British Guiana, their land area was small and consequently they had little untapped resources to exploit. Their population was small in relation to those of other countries, but in most territories, large in relation to resources
- Their period under foreign domination was long and had imposed deep-rooted colonial economic structure, related to the needs of metropolitan countries. Their communities were the creation of the colonial powers
- Due to the need for taking positive action to attract capital, such as offering tax incentives, they were not reaping the full benefits of such development as was taking place
- The large volume of surplus labour which manifests itself to a large extent in open unemployment particularly in urban areas, as which has been illustrated by the heavy mitigation in recent years
The Conference therefore agreed:-
To establish a permanent agency to keep under continuous study and to analyse the economic problems and economic progress of the Caribbean countries and to ensure comparability of data and the free flow of information between territories. This body should work in close collaboration with the Department of Economics and the Institute of Social and Economic Research of the University of the West Indies and the University of Guyana, as well as with the Planning and Statistical agencies of the Caribbean countries. It should include a permanent Working Committee comprising representatives of the financial, planning and statistical agencies of the Caribbean countries.
There should be collaboration between officials of the Governments or the countries participating in the Conference on work initiated by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago aimed at providing a better index of the need of a country for aid and special trade treatment than the simple per capita national income figure.
That the Governments of the United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada and such other countries as may be agreed to, as well as representatives of international agencies, should be invited to meet with the Governments of the Commonwealth Caribbean Countries and formulate concrete proposals for economic aid from the developed countries.
These proposals for economic aid from the developed countries should emphasize:-
Aid for general programmes rather than aid for specific projects;
Aid not limited to the direct foreign exchange component of projects or programmes
Finally, the Conference expressed grave concern at the increasing gap between the richer and poorer countries, and between the developed and developing nations and agreed to give support to every effort aimed at ensuring co-operation among developing nations to promote their development and to every effort aimed at persuading the developed countries to give adequate assistance to the developing nations free of strings and of restrictive conditions.
DECLARATION ON FOREIGN POLICY AT THE CONFERENCE OF HEADS OF GOVERNMENTS
OF COMMONWEALTH CARIBBEAN COUNTRIES HELD AT KINGSTON, JAMAICA, JANUARY 1964.
The Heads of Government of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and British Guiana reviewed the principles underlying the foreign policies of the two independent countries, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, those likely to be adopted by an independent British Guiana and those by which the Barbados Government would like the Foreign policy of Barbados to be determined upon independence within or outside of a Federation.
The Principles include the following :-
1. United Nations:
Support for the United Nations Organisation, its aims and objectives.
2. Disarmament, Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and Lasting Peace
- The outlawing of war as a means of resolving disputes and to that end the vigorous pursuit of a continuous and orderly process of complete disarmament begun with the partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
- Support of all moves designed to further the economic and social development of the developing countries, thus lessening dangerous tensions and improving the prospects of world peace
3. Friendship with all States:
- Friendship towards all peace loving nations
- The right of all nations, small as well as large, to respect for their territorial integrity and their sovereign status
- The corresponding duty imposed on all Nations, small as well as large, to refrain from acts of terrorism or aggression against other countries or from any other action aimed at the subversion or overthrow of Governments of other countries
4. Hemispheric Friendship
Support of efforts to foster and maintain hemispheric friendship.
5. Latin American and Afro-Asian Countries:
The closest possible collaboration with the Latin American and Afro-Asian Groups:
- (a) In their efforts to bring to an end the pernicious system of colonialism
- (b) In their uncompromising struggle against the abhorrent doctrine and practice of apartheid and against racial discrimination in any form or by any name
- (c) In their struggle to achieve for all peoples everywhere the fullest measure of Human Rights
The value of Commonwealth ties and associations extending as they do over so many and such diverse countries, races and systems of Government.
7. Caribbean Co-operation:
The necessity for the closest possible collaboration among the Commonwealth Caribbean countries on matters of common interest particularly in gaining recognition for the separate identity of the region, its unique history and background and its potential contribution to world peace and stability.
8. International Trade:
The need for the establishment of a new pattern of world trade which would recognise the urgent needs and rights of developing countries, and recognition of the view that differences between the economic and social systems of countries should not prevent developing countries from taking advantage of expanding markets for trade.