|West Indies Federation
Founded in 1958, the West Indies
Federation comprised the territories of Antigua
and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada,
Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla,
Saint Lucia, St. Vincent, and Trinidad and
Tobago. It was established by the British
Caribbean Federation Act of 1956 with the aim of
establishing a political union among its members.
The administrative capital of the Federation was
located in Trinidad and Tobago.
The first session of the West Indies
Parliament was opened at Port of Spain, Trinidad,
by Princess Margaret of the United Kingdom on April 22,
1958. Governor General Lord Hailes and the
Parliament had been sworn in on January 2. The
Parliament had 19 Senators, named by the Governor
General. The islands in the Federation chose 45
representatives, 24 from the Federal Labor Party
and 21 from the Democratic Labor Party. Sir
Grantley Adams of Barbados became Prime Minister.
Among the major issues debated
during the Federation's existence were direct
taxation by the Federal Government, central
planning for development, establishment of a
regional customs union, and reform of the Federal
Constitution. Accomplishments achieved during the
Federation's existence included creation of a
federal civil service, establishment of the West
Indies Shipping Service to operate two
multipurpose ships, and establishment of the
University College of the West Indies.
Disagreements over policies, an
unwillingness of most Territorial Governments to
give up power to the Federal Government, and
other problems eventually caused discord within
the Federation. Jamaica pulled out in 1961, and
the Federation collapsed in January 1962.
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