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Constitutional Reform, Leeward Islands

Volume 477: debated on Wednesday 19 July 1950

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement regarding constitutional reform in the Leeward Islands.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement about constitutional reforms in the Leeward Islands.

It will be recalled that my predecessor announced last year that he had approved certain changes in the constitution of the Leeward Islands involving the extension of the suffrage, the abolition of property and income qualifications for candidates for election to the Presidential Legislative Councils, and the introduction of the committee system. On his arrival in London the Governor of the Leeward Islands had a discussion at the Colonial Office on various other aspects of constitutional reform in that Colony. Owing to the brief time which has elapsed since that discussion, and because the lives of the Presidential Legislative Councils of Antigua and Montserrat end on 31st July, it will not be possible for me fully to examine and reach a decision on the points discussed before the lives of those Councils end. In the circumstances, and so as to enable these matters to be given the fullest consideration, I have proposed that the lives of the three Presidential Councils of Antigua, St. Kitts-Nevis, and Montserrat should be extended until 31st October, 1951. I confidently anticipate, however, that it will be possible to make a decision on the points involved well in advance of the new date of expiration of the lives of the Councils.