Press ReleasesStatements and Declarations


as modified by the Meeting of Heads of Government of Signatory States,
November 8, 1971 in Georgetown, Guyana

Acknowledging it to be the inescapable destiny of the peoples of the West to be bound together in Nationhood;

Mindful of the lessons of past efforts in the cause of West Indian Unity;

Conscious of the urgent need to end all forms of Colonialism in the Caribbean to secure the effective independence of its peoples;

Believing that the aspirations of the peoples of the West Indies for political freedom and social and economic justice can best be fulfilled through the creation of a West Indian Nation;

Desiring that in the creation of the Nation the peoples of the West Indies shall be fully involved;

Accepting it to be the responsibility of those who hold these truths to be fundamental to act now in their fulfilment and in so doing to create a West Indian Nation of which all the peoples of the West Indies may one day be a part;

The representatives of the people of Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St. Kitts/Nevis/Anguilla, St. Lucia and St. Vincent assembled at Grenada this 25th Day of July, 1971, hereby declare it to be their intention to seek to establish out of their Territories a new State in the Caribbean and to this end to proceed as follows:

    • A preparatory Commission will be set by November 30, 1971, to prepare for the establishment of the new State. The preparatory Commission will, if possible, be established within the Commonwealth Caribbean Regional Secretariat under a budget to be separately provided by the Participating Territories

    • The Preparatory Commission will be headed by a Chairman, to be selected by agreement between the Heads of Government of the Participating Territories, who will have responsibility for recruiting all necessary personnel within the ambit of the Commission’s budget

    • In addition to the Chairman, the Preparatory Commission will comprise members drawn from the Participating Territories nominated by the respective Governments after consultation with the Chairman

    • As far as practicable, Members of the Preparatory Commission will function as technocrats exercising specific responsibilities during the life of the Commission

    • Questions of policy affecting the work of the Preparatory Commission will be referred by the Commission for decision by a Council of Ministers of the Participating Territories that will meet periodically for this purpose. The Council will comprise one Minister from each of the Participating Territories designated for this purpose by the Government of that Territory

    • A Constituent Assembly will be established by January 1, 1972, comprising not less than one and not more than three members from each Participating Territory nominated by the Government of that Territory. The Constituent Assembly will have a limited existence of not more than 16 months (ending April 30, 1973) and will be responsible for drafting the Constitution of the new State

    • The Constituent Assembly will be serviced by the Preparatory Commission and will rotate its sessions throughout all the Participating Territories holding at least one public session in each Territory. In the organisation of its work the Constituent Assembly will ensure the fullest participation of the people of the Region in the formulation of the National Constitution

    • It will be the aim of the Constituent Assembly to complete the draft Constitution by December 31, 1972. It will be the aim of Participating Territories to secure the necessary Parliamentary approval for the establishment of the new State and to take by March 31, 1973, the necessary constitutional steps (See (i) below) to provide for its establishment

    • The new Constitution will be promulgated on April 22, 1973, and elections will be held throughout the State by June 30, 1973 – assuming this to be the arrangement for assembling the first Government of the State provided for in the Constitution

    • During the life of the Constituent Assembly the Governments of the Participating Territories will endeavour to co-ordinate their policies and programmes over as wide a field as possible, but more especially in relation to their dealings with the outside world; and it will be a particular function of the Preparatory Commission to secure such co-ordination

    • During the life of the Constituent Assembly, Participating Territories will determine the nature of such changes as they may wish to make in their territorial Constitutions – taking account of the work of the Constituent Assembly

    • If, in the light of the Report of the Constituent Assembly Parliamentary approval is secured for the establishment of the new State, the Participating Associated States will, by legislation enacted pursuant to Section 10 and the Second Schedule of the West Indies Act, 1967, terminate their status of association with the United Kingdom as from April 22, 1973, and amend their Constitutions to give effect to the arrangements agreed upon by the Constituent Assembly for their association with the other Participating Territories in the new State, and the Independent States, by constitutional amendment, will likewise provide for their association with the other Participating Territories in the new State
    • Both the legislation to be enacted by the Associated States and the constitutional amendments to be made by the Independent States will empower the Constituent Assembly to promulgate the Constitution of the new State
    • With a view to enabling other Member States of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Commonwealth Caribbean Countries to participate in this Declaration and in the action to be taken under it, this Declaration will be published simultaneously in the capitals of all Participating Territories on and not before November 1, 1971. Prior to such publication and at the earliest opportunity the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Caribbean Regional Secretariat will bring this Declaration to the notice of the Heads of Government of such other Member States and convey to them the sentiment of West Indian fraternity that underlies the Declaration and the invitation which the Declaration extends for their participation in it
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