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British Overseas Territories

Volume 455: debated on Wednesday 10 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what stage has been reached in proposed constitutional reform in each of the British Overseas Territories. (113677)

The present situation in the constitutional review process in each of the Overseas Territories is as follows:

Anguilla

A Constitutional and Electoral Reform Commission was appointed in early 2006. It formally presented draft recommendations in August 2006. It is for the Government of Anguilla to decide on the next stage in the process.

British Virgin Islands

Three rounds of talks were held in 2006 and a proposed final round is planned for February 2007 in London.

Cayman Islands

Exploratory talks were held in the Cayman Islands in March 2006. We are expecting to resume talks following the completion of the public consultations which we understand are planned by the Cayman Islands Government for early 2007.

Falkland Islands

The Falkland Islands Government have established a Select Committee on Constitutional Reform. The committee has published two reports—in October 2005 and, following the election of a new council, in August 2006—and the issues have now gone to public consultation within the islands. We await a formal approach from Falkland Islands Councillors, once their proposals have been finalised.

Gibraltar

The constitutional review process with Gibraltar, which started in December 2003, has concluded successfully. Gibraltar’s new constitution came into force on 2 January 2007.

Montserrat

Formal talks were held in Montserrat in September 2005, March 2006 and October 2006. It is likely that a further round of talks will be held in spring 2007, before a proposed final round in London thereafter.

St. Helena and Dependencies

In a consultative poll in May 2005, St. Helenians rejected a draft constitution negotiated between representatives of St. Helena and the Government, which would have provided for ministerial government for the territory, among other things.

Turks and Caicos Islands

The constitutional review process with the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) concluded successfully in October 2005. TCI’s new constitution came into force on 9 August 2006.

There are currently no proposed constitutional reviews for Bermuda; British Antarctic Territory; British Indian Ocean Territory; Pitcairn Islands; and South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands.