Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Seventh Report


Population: 13, 638

GDP: $132.4 million, GDP per head: $9,711

Key industries: tourism and financial services

Associate member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)


441.  The most northerly of the Leeward Islands in the eastern Caribbean, Anguilla is 16 miles long and a maximum of three miles wide. It has some of the best beaches in the region.


442.  Colonised by British and Irish settlers in 1650, Anguilla was administered as a single federation with St Kitts and Nevis from 1958 to 1962. The Islanders, believing their interests were being ignored and wishing to retain their direct links with Britain, sought separation from the federation in the 1960s. This disquiet culminated in the revolution of 1967. Anguilla came under direct British rule in the 1970s and eventually became a separate British Dependent Territory in 1980.

Constitutional status

443.  Anguilla has a ministerial system of government. The 1982 Constitution (amended in 1990) provides for a Governor, an Executive Council and a House of Assembly. The Governor has reserved powers in respect of legislation, and is responsible for external affairs, defence and internal security (including the police force) and the public service. He also has responsibility for offshore finance (the only two other territories where the Governor has this responsibility are Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands). The Executive Council comprises the elected government plus two Ex-Officio members (Attorney General and Deputy Governor). The House of Assembly comprises twelve members: the Speaker, seven elected members, two nominated members and the two ex-officio members. Elections are held at least every five years and the next general election is due in 2011. The Anguilla United Front are in government.

Evidence received

444.  We received two written submissions from Anguilla: one from the Chairman of the Constitutional and Electoral Reform Commission and another from a Belonger. We also heard oral evidence from the Chief Minister of the Territory.

Key recommendations

  • We recommend that the Government should encourage the Anguillan government to establish an independent inquiry into allegations that Anguillan ministers accepted bribes from developers in the Territory. We also recommend that the Government should urge the Anguillan government to use the opportunity of constitutional review to introduce stronger anti-corruption measures in the Territory. (para 203)
  • We conclude that although extending voting rights to non-Belongers will be politically difficult for Overseas Territory governments, the Government should at least encourage local administrations to review this issue with regard to non-Belongers who have resided in an Overseas Territory for a reasonable period. We recommend that the Government should propose that non-Belongers' rights be an agenda item for the next OTCC. (para 275)
  • We are concerned by the National Audit Office's finding that the FCO has been complacent in managing the risk of money laundering in Anguilla, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands, particularly since these Territories are those for which the UK is directly responsible for regulation and therefore most exposed to financial liabilities. We agree with the Public Accounts Committee's recent recommendation that Governors of these Territories should use their reserve powers to bring in more external investigators or prosecutors to strengthen investigative capacity. (para 312)

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