Pitcairn Islands |
GDP per head: $ 3,385 [2005, best estimate]
Key industries: Reliant on UK budgetary aid [continued
downturn in postage stamp sales exhausted Pitcairn's financial
reserves in October 2004]
507. Pitcairn Island is a small volcanic island
situated in the South Pacific Ocean at latitude 25 04 south and
longitude 130 06 west. It is roughly 1350 miles east south-east
of Tahiti; 3300 miles east north-east of its administrative headquarters
in Auckland, New Zealand and just over 4100 miles from Panama.
It is a rugged island of formidable cliffs of reddish-brown and
508. Pitcairn was first settled in 1790 by some
of the HMS Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian companions. The
island was left uninhabited between 1856 and 1859 when the entire
population was resettled on Norfolk Island. The present community
are descended from two parties who, not wishing to remain on Norfolk,
returned to Pitcairn in 1859 and 1864 respectively.
509. Pitcairn is a British settlement under the
British Settlements Act of 1887, although the Islanders usually
date their recognition as a British Territory to a constitution
of 1838 devised with the help of a visiting Royal Navy officer.
In 1893, 1898 and 1940, further changes were made in the Islands'
government. In 1952 responsibility for Pitcairn was transferred
from the High Commissioner for the Western pacific to the Governor
of Fiji. When Fiji became independent the Pitcairn Royal Instructions,
both of 1970, were the instruments that embodied the modern constitution
of Pitcairn, establishing the office of the Governor and regulating
his powers and duties. Under these the Governor is the law-making
authority for Pitcairn, with Pitcairn's Island Council only playing
an advisory role. Prior approval of the Foreign Secretary must
be sought for the enactment of certain classes of law. In practice,
the British High Commissioner to New Zealand is appointed concurrently
as Governor (Non-Resident) of Pitcairn and is assisted by the
Pitcairn Island Administration Office in Auckland. Elections to
the Island Council are held annually.
510. The Committee received one submission from
a Pitcairn resident.
511. The Committee heard oral evidence from the
Commissioner of Pitcairn in December 2007.
- We recommend that the Government
should ensure that Pitcairn residents are informed and consulted
on proposals for the Island's economic development. (para 353)