HC Deb 29 March 1982 vol 21 cc15-6
43. Mr. Guy Barnett

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement about the level of development assistance to the East Caribbean islands.

The Minister for Overseas Development (Mr. Neil Marten)

British bilateral aid to the Eastern Caribbean islands in 1980 was £12 million. A table showing expenditure by country will be published in the Official Report. The 1981–82 figure is expected to about £13 million. About 40 per cent. goes to the dependencies and the rest to independent Commonwealth countries and regional projects.

The East Caribbean islands also benefit from British contributions to the Caribbean Development Bank, the European development fund, the Commonwealth fund for technical co-operation and the United Nations agencies.

Mr. Barnett

Does the right hon. Gentleman recognise that these economies are highly vulnerable and will be dependent on overseas aid from Britain—which has a special responsibility towards them—for many years to come? Does the right hon. Gentleman also recognise the special difficulties facing Dominica, following hurricane David? As a result of the damage done by that hurricane, its economy has still not been restored.

Mr. Marten

The answer to both parts of that question is "Yes". I met the Prime Minister of Dominica, Miss Charles, to discuss the problems involved. We have given considerable aid—which is at sea on its way—to the island's banana industry, which has suffered considerably as a result of hurricanes.

Mr. Bowen Wells

May I congratulate my right hon. Friend on the assistance that he is giving to the East Caribbean islands? Will he review the whole programme in the light of the fall in prosperity in almost all those islands because of the reduction in the price of their natural products, such as bananas, nutmegs and other tropical produce? That reduction in prosperity will lead, in turn, to even greater instability than in Grenada, Dominica, and to some extent, St. Lucia. From the Select Committee's recent visit to the area, I know that such action would be welcomed throughout the British Commonwealth.

Mr. Marten

Aid to the East Caribbean is constantly kept under review.

Mr. Foulkes

What applications for aid have the Government received from the Government of Grenada since the coup? What aid has been given and what is the British Government's attitude towards applications that they may receive now, or in future, from the Government of Grenada?

Mr. Marten

In 1980—the last year for which we have figures—Grenada received £53, 000 of technical cooperation, £10, 000 of capital aids and other grants and £195, 000 in loans. We have made it clear to the Government of Grenada that we do not like their human rights record. I shall not go into that point now, as I have done so before. However, when their record improves, we shall consider their problems.

Following is the table:

Gross Bilateral Aid Expenditure 1980
Technical Co-operation Capital Aid Gross Aid Expenditure
Anguilla 241 749 990
Antigua 215 270 485
Barbados 289 331 620
British Virgin Islands 276 955 1,231
Dominica 167 2,368 2,535
Grenada 53 205 258
Montserrat 211 1,011 1,222
St. Kitts-Nevis 305 472 777
St. Lucia 230 693 923
St. Vincent 295 525 820
Turks and Caicos Islands 412 849 1,261
Regional Caribbean 741 262 1,003
3,435 8,690 12,125

Forward to