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Trinidad and Tobago and the West Indies Federation : contradictory attitudes examined Weeks-Sealy, Edric Lambert

Abstract

The federation of the British West Indian colonies, which was long considered desirable by colonial officials for reasons of economical and efficient administration, was accomplished by an agreement reached on February 23, 1956. The West Indies Federation thus established, consisted of the islands of Antigua, Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts (Christopher)-Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and Trinidad and Tobago, and had a total area of eight thousand square miles scattered in a wide expanse of ocean. In this federation, Trinidad and Tobago by virtue of its economic development was expected to play an important part. The purpose of this study is to examine the attitude of Trinidad and Tobago to the idea of federation, and its relationship to the federation itself. In the course of preparation for this study, the writer spent three months in Trinidad collecting information at the Library of the Legislative Council, a library operated primarily for the benefit of legislators; the West Indies Reference Library, operated by the Information Service of the federal government; The West Indies Regional Library, a branch of the Trinidad Public Library; and the offices of the Trinidad Guardian. Valuable information was also acquired from the Office of the Premier and from the Trinidad Chamber of Commerce. The writer's visit to Trinidad coincided with a period of intense activity among members of the federal and Trinidad governments as a result of the collapse of the federation. This situation rendered it extremely difficult to secure interviews from persons serving in either of these governments. However, Mr. Albert Gomes, a member of the federal parliament, who while serving as a Trinidad legislator had played an important part in the establishment of the federation, provided the writer with very valuable information in the course of two interviews he very kindly gave. [ ... ]

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