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12 N.Y.U. J. Int'l L. & Pol. 281 (1979-1980)
Independence and Islands: The Decolonization of the British Caribbean

handle is hein.journals/nyuilp12 and id is 289 raw text is: INDEPENDENCE AND ISLANDS:
THE DECOLONIZATION OF
THE BRITISH CARIBBEAN*
EDWARD A. LAING**
On November 3, 1978, the former Associated State of
Dominica became the seventh British territory in the Caribbean to
obtain independence.1 Of the six Caribbean states that were in
association with the United Kingdom-2 Dominica was the second,
after Grenada, to gain its independence. At the same time that
Dominica was becoming independent, St. Lucia, another associ-
ated state, was actively preparing for its imminent independence.3
Because of this acceleration of decolonization in the Carib-
bean, an examination of the decolonization process is appropriate.
This article considers several facets of that process: the United
Kingdom's procedure for granting independence to its colonies,
the techniques the territories use to obtain their independence,
and the United Nations' role in encouraging and validating
decolonization.4 The article also discusses the international ramifi-
* This article is a revision of a paper read at an executive session of the In-
ternational Law Section of the American Bar Association held in Puerto Rico, in
December, 1978. The invaluable assistance of Ms. Dessima M. Williams of Ameri-
can University, Washington, D.C., in preparing it is gratefully acknowledged.
** Associate Professor of Law, University of Maryland School of Law. LL.M.,
Columbia University, 1968; LL.B., Cambridge University, 1966; B.A., Cambridge
University, 1964.
1. The others, in order of their independence, are Jamaica (August 6.
1962), Trinidad and Tobago (August 31, 1962), Guyana (known as British Guiana
before independence, May 26, 1966), Barbados (November 30, 1966). the Com-
monwealth of the Bahamas (also referred to as the Bahamas, July 10, 1973) and
Grenada (February 7, 1974).
2. West Indies Act, 1967, c. 4, § 1(2). This act conferred associadon status
on Dominica, Antigua, Grenada, St. Christopher, Nevis and Anguilla, St. Vincent
and St. Lucia. Associated states are not colonies; they have full control over inter-
nal matters. The United Kingdom retained significant control only over matters
of defense and external affairs. Id. § 2(l)(a). See Sir F. Phillips, Freedom in the
Caribbean 84-86 (1977) [hereinafter Phillips).
3. St. Lucia obtained its independence on February 21, 1979.
4. This is relevant in light of renewed United Nations' interest in the
281

Imaged with the Permission of N.Y.U. Journal of International Law and Politics

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