Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

subject and shed considerable light upon the surrounding islands in this particular area.

(Discussion off the record.)
(The documents follow :)
COMMITTEE ON INTERIOR AND INSULAR AFFAIRS,

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

Washington, D, C., January 4, 1956. Mr. ERNEST S. GRIFFITH, Director, Legislative Reference Service,

Library of Congress, Washington, D. C. DEAR MR. GRIFFITH : At recent hearings conducted in the United States Virgin Islands by a special subcommittee under my chairmanship, question was raised as to the extent of self government enjoyed by other dependent islands in the Caribbean area. For the information and use of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, will you please advise the answers to the following questions for the (a) British-, (b) French-, and (c) Dutch-owned islands, respectively :

1. Is the Governor elected or appointed ?

2. Do the island people have a voice in the mother country's national assembly through an elected representative?

3. What veto power over acts of the local legis'ature in the island is held by the mother country?

4. Is the local legislature unicameral or bicameral? Dɔ the people elect all their representatives in such legislature?

5. What supervision does the mother country exercise over the local governmental expenditures?

6. What is the per capita income of : (a) United States Virgin Islands, (6) British Virgin Islands, (c) Martinique, (d) Curaçao, (e) Bahama Islands, and (f) Trinidad? Your assistance in this matter will be appreciated. Yours very truly,

WAYNE N. ASPINALL, M. C.

THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS,
LEGISLATIVE REFERENCE SERVICE,

Washington, D. C., February 3, 1956.
To: Hon. Wayne N. Aspinall.
From: Ruth Andrews, Foreign Affairs Division.

The information contained herein is with reference to questions which you asked in your letter of January 4, 1956, as to the extent of self-government enjoyed by certain dependent islands in the Caribbean area. The questions are repeated below :

1. Is the governor elected or appointed ?

2. Do the island people have a voice in the mother country's national assembly through an elected representative?

3. What veto power over acts of the local legislature in the island is held by the mother country?

4. Is the local legislature unicameral or bicameral? Do the people elect all their representatives in such legislature?

5. What supervision does the mother country exercise over the local governmental expenditures?

6. What is the per capita income of (a) United States Virgin Islands, (b) British Virgin Islands, (c) Martinique, (d) Curacao, (e) Bahama Islands, and (f) Trinidad?

BRITISH DEPENDENCIES Barbados

1. The Governor of Barbados is appointed by the Crown. The Governor is assisted by an executive council.

2. The people of Barbados are not represented in the British Parliament.

3. The British Government may veto any legislation passed by the legislative body of Barbados. (This prerogative is seldom exercised in any of the British West Indies.)

4. The legislative body is bicameral. The upper house, legislative council, consists of 15 appointed members; the house of assembly, lower house, consists of 24 members elected by general suffrage.

87821-57-21

5. The legislative body of Barbados votes the budget, taxes, etc., for Barbados. As in the case of other legislation, such laws go to the executive council for approval. Bahamas

1. The Governor of the Bahamas is appointed by the Crown. The Governor is assisted by an executive council.

2. The people of the Bahamas are not represented in the British Parliament.

3. The British Government may veto any law passed by the legislative body of the Bahamas.

4. The legislative body of the Bahamas is bicameral. The upper house, legislative council, is wholly nominated, with a majority (9 members) being native residents of the Bahamas; the lower house, or legislative assembly, is elected by the people and all 29 members must be native residents (this usually means a period of residence of 3 or more years). Voting is limited to the male population with certain property qualifications.

5. The legislative body of the Bahamas votes the budget, taxes, etc., for the Bahamas. As in the case of other legislation, such laws go to the executive council for approval. Jamaica

1. The Governor of Jamaica is appointed by the Crown. He is assisted by an executive council.

2. The people of Jamaica are not represented in the British Parliament.

3. The British Government may veto any law passed by the Legislature of Jamaica.

4. The legislative body of Jamaica is bicameral. The legislature council (upper house) consists of 15 appointed members. The house of representatives consists of 32 members, elected by general suffrage.

5. The legislature body of Jamaica votes the budget, taxes, etc., for Jamaica. As in the case of all other legislation, such laws go to the executive council for approval. Leeward Islands

1. The Leeward Islands are divided into four presidencies: Antigua, St. Christopher-Nevis, Montserrat, and the Virgin Islands. For the whole federation there is one Governor, appointed by the Crown. The Governor is assisted by the Federal executive council.

2. The Leeward Islands are not represented in the British Parliament.

3. The British Government may veto any law passed by the legislature of the Leeward Islands.

4. For the four presidencies of the Leeward Islands there is a unicameral legislature body, the general legislative council. The Governor is president of the general legislative council. The majority of the members of this body are elected in this manner :

Five are chosen from the Presidential Legislature of Antigua, 5 from that of St. Christopher-Nevis, 2 from that of Montserrat, and 1 from that of the Virgin Islands. The menibers chosen from the presidential legislatures must be from among those members who were elected to office. They are chosen by members of their own presidential legislatures, but only by those who

are native residents of the Leeward Islands. In addition, there are eight of the general legislative council who are appointed by the Governor.

5. The legislative body of the Leeward Islands votes the budget, taxes, etc., for the Leeward Islands. As in the case of all legislation, such laws must go to the federal executive council for approval. Trinidad

1. The Governor of Trinidad is appointed by the Crown. He is assisted by an executive council.

2. Trinidad does not have representation in the British Parliament.

3. The British Government may veto any law passed by the Legislative Council of Trinidad.

4. The legislative body of Trinidad is unicameral. The legislative council consists of 26 members, 8 of which are appointed and 18 of which are selected by general suffrage.

5. The legislative body of Trinidad votes the budget, taxes, etc., for Trinidad. As in the case of other legislation, such laws must be submitted to the executive council for approval.

Windward Islands

1. The Windward Islands consist of Grenada, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, and Dominica. The islands are under the administration of a common governor who is appointed by the Crown. Each island has its own institutions—there is no common legislature.

2. The Windward Islands are not represented in the British Parliament.

3. The British Government may veto any law passed by the four local legislative bodies of the Windward Islands.

4. Grenada, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, and Dominica hare their own separate legislative bodies. These local bodies are unicameral. In general they form a common pattern. Grenada, for example, has an administrator responsible to the Governor of the Windward Islands. The administrator is president of the legislative council. Of the remaining 13 members of the legislative council, 5 are appointed and 8 are elected by general suffrage. Three of those who are apointed must be native residents of the Windward Islands. The legislative bodies of the other islands are similarly constituted.

5. The legislative bodies of the Windward Islands vote their own budgets, taxes, etc., which must then, as in the case of other legislation, be approved by the governor of the Windward Islands.

Principal sources : Reports of British Colonial Office, Reports of British Information Service, Statesman's Yearbook 1955, Telephone conversations with the British Embassy, West Indies and Caribbean Year Book 1953–54.

FRENCH OVERSEAS DEPARTMENTS Guadeloupe

1. Guadeloupe (formerly a colony, but since March 1946, an overseas department) is administered as a department of metropolitan France under the authority of a prefect appointed by the Government of France.

2. Guadeloupe is represented in the French National Assembly by 3 deputies, in the Council of the Republic by 2 senators and in the assembly of the French Union by 1 delegate. These representatives are elected in Guadeloupe by general suffrage.

3. Certain legislation passed by the general council of Guadeloupe, especially budgetary matters, must be approved by the French Government.

4. The legislative body of Guadeloupe is unicameral. The general council consists of 36 members elected by general suffrage.

5. The general council of Guadeloupe votes the budget for the department which must then be approved by the Government of France. Martinique

1. Martinique (formerly a colony, but since March 1946 an overseas department) is administered as a department of metropolitan France under the authority of a prefect appointed by the Government of France.

2. Martinique is represented in the French National Assembly by 3 deputies, in the Council of the Republic by 2 senators, and in the assembly of the French Union by 1 delegate. These representatives are elected in Martinique by general suffrage.

3. Certain legislation passed by the general council of Martinique, especially budgetary matters, must be approved by the French Government.

4. The legislative body of Martinique is unicameral. The general council consists of 36 members elected by general suffrage.

5. The general council of Martinique votes the budget for the department which must then be approved by the Government of France.

Principal sources: Telephone conversation with French Embassay, Statesman's Yearbook 1955, West Indies and Caribbean Yearbook 1953–54, Fox Annette Baker. Freedom and Welfare in the Caribbean. New York, Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1949.

THE NETHERLANDS ANTILLES 1. The governor is appointed by the ruler of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

2. The executive council of the Antilles (which is responsible to the legislature, the Staten) appoints official members to the Netherlands Cabinet. The people of the Antilles are not represented in the Netherlands Parliament.

3. The statute which gives the Netherlands Antilles, Netherlands New Guinea, and Surinam, equal status with the mother country in the Netherlands Kingdom

i New York Times. February 14, 1953, p. 6. The Netherlands Political and Economic Life, published by Netherlands Goverument Information Service, p. 28.

was signed in The Hague on December 15, 1954, and jointly proclaimed on Decemver 29, 1951. Under this statute, the Netherlands Antilles has complete autonomy in domestic affairs while defense and foreign affairs remain under the jurisdiction of the crown.

4. The legislative body of the Netherlands Antilles is unicameral. It is called the Staten, and has 22 members elected by general suffrage (12 from Curacao, 8 from Aruba, 1 from Bonaire, 1 from the Leeward Islands).

5. (See: No. 3 above) Budgets are drawn up and loans contracted by ordinance of the Antilles government; if loans are nlaced outside the Antilles, the ordinance must be sanctioned by the rule of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.3

From both the political-economic and general economic standpoint the Netherlands West Indies is completely independent of the mother country. The Netherlands Government in The Hague does offer advice on economic matters but only when it is requested."

6. We have been unable to obtain complete information on the per capita income of the locations mentioned in your letter. Sources contacted in our attempt to find these figures included various embassies, the Department of State, the Department of the Interior, an' printed sources here at the library. The following information was obtained through a telephone conversation with the United States International Cooperation Administration :

[blocks in formation]

Mr. ABBOTT. Proceed, Mr. Merwin.

Mr. MERWIN. I have been asked to comment on the subject of an elective governor.

I recollect a year ago when this committee visited the Virgin Islands that many persons in the Senate and many responsible citizens were asked the same question.

As I recollect, persons like Mr. Ottley and others who have been in the government for a long time stated a year ago that they thought we were 6 years away from the time when we would be able to adequately take care of electing our own governor.

From my personal experience in the government of the Virgin Islands, I would say that we are probably 4 years away from that point now.

I would very much like to see a governor elected here because I have been very much aware of the shortcomings of some of the appointed governors who have been sent down here. They do not get in touch with the people. They are not fully aware of our problems, and they tend to make a lot of mistakes which I feel would not be made by an elected governor.

I would like to take the position now of urging that our opportunity to elect our own governor be kept in mind as something we should look for and shoot for within the next 5 years. At this time, however, I feel that our political situation in the islands is as yet a bit too unstable to permit us to make a proper selection. I think, if our twoparty system emerges well in the next 4 years, that we should be then in a position to ask for it and that you would see we were fully justified in our request.

2 The Netherlands Political and Economic Life, pp. 27-28.

3 Freign Service Dispatch. Annual Economic Review (of Netherlands, West Indies). March 31. 1955, from Amocongen, Curacao, Netherlands West Indies, p. 2.

* Foreign Service Dispatch, p. 3.

Insofar as a resident commissioner is concerned, I do feel that there is no prohibition against the appointment of a resident commissioner at this time. I would think it would be very helpful to the islands to have a resident commissioner in Washington to sit there and be a contact person with the Congress of the United States and the Department of the Interior.

I personally would favor legislation locally to appoint such a person and send a person up there to operate within limits, a contact office, in the interim.

I voted against such a measure last session of the legislature purely because there was no fiscal limitation placed on the amount of funds that that personage could spend. I thought if he were given a free rein he might well spend a hundred or two hundred thousand dollars a year to operate an elaborate office and go into all sorts of the lobbying techniques that are so well employed in Washington.

I feel, if we sent a person up there, with a salary of $10,000 or $12,000 a year, with a staff of 1 or 2 people, purely in the position as a resident contact person in the interim, that we would do the islands a lot of good, because we do need help and advice in Washington, and it is very expensive for individual legislators to go traveling up there on individual questions.

I feel that in the interim, until we are financially in a position to support a full resident commissioner, that it would be wrong for the Congress to impose the requirement that the taxpayers of the Virgin Islands support a resident commissioner in Washington. But I think that at this time we could take care of establishing a contact office there by establishing the limit of his expenses at, say, $30,000 or $40,000 a year. I think it would yield great results for the people in effecting a liaison between the Virgin Islands and Washington.

Mr. O'BRIEN. He would perhaps be in somewhat similar status to that of the two Senators who were recently elected in Alaska. He would be chosen locally, paid locally. Would he be appointed or elected by the legislature? Would that be your idea?

Mr. MERWIN. I think we could set up a provision where he could be elected by the people, or in the interim until such a provision is set up we could have him appointed by the legislature here.

Mr. O'BRIEN. Would you have any objection to a resident commissioner who would be in the same category as the Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico or the Delegate from Alaska or the Delegate from Hawaii.

Mr. MERWIN. I would have no objection at all. I would like to know how much it would cost the taxpayers to support such an office before the obligation to keep a person there was placed upon us.

Mr. O'BRIEN. It would not cost him anything. He would be a Member of Congress, in a sense, without a vote.

Mr. MERWIN. I would be heartily in favor of that, sir. Heartily in favor. If it could be put on that same status, we would be deeply grateful for the opportunity to have such a man.

« ZurückWeiter »