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Volume 126: debated on Monday 1 February 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the United Kingdom's relations with Bermuda.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
(Mr. Tim Eggar)

Her Majesty's Government exercise constitutional responsibility for the dependent territory of Bermuda, and relations between the United Kingdom and Bermuda continue to be excellent.

I am sure that my hon. Friend will know that Bermuda is a community with good race relations, no litter, no unemployment, no illiteracy and no income tax. Does he think that we could learn something from Bermuda?

I am glad that my hon. Friend enjoyed his brief visit to Bermuda so much and that he came back with such a favourable impression of that territory. Indeed, Bermuda has a lot to be proud of, but my hon. Friend will no doubt have noted, as he has told the House, that Bermuda's prosperity is not based only on its ample sunshine but on a thriving private sector and low taxation.

Is the Minister aware that Bermuda plays a major part in Caribbean regional matters — [HON. MEMBERS: "It is not in the Caribbean."] I know where Bermuda is. I have visited there, and not on a free trip.

As Bermuda plays an important part in regional activities and has, along with many other countries, consistently expressed concern about the United States' policy in the region and towards Central America, will the Minister take this opportunity of likewise expressing his concern at the murderous policies of the Reagan Administration towards Central America and the Caribbean?

I recognise the hon. Gentleman's frustration at not getting in his normal propaganda on behalf of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. However, I am afraid that I cannot follow him along the lines that he has described.