Windward Island Federation Essay

577 WordsMar 1, 20153 Pages
The Windward Islands consist of Barbados, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Tobago. A resident governor in Barbados was responsible for the overall administration of these colonies. R.W. Rawson was the resident governor at the time. He was not sold on the idea of a federation and so gave it normal allegiance ¬ that is mere lip service. His intention was made clear in a letter he sent to the Secretary of State for the colonies, the Earl of Kimberly, when he used the words 'Impediment' and 'problematic' to describe the necessary arrangements that would have to be made and the kind of relationship that he envisioned would result among the territories. He argued that the fervour with which the individual legislatures of the Leeward Islands jealously guarded their power would be equally matched by those of the Windward Islands. He further charged that Barbados had "not acquired for itself a reputation for a general and cosmopolitan spirit of legislation". Nevertheless the federation was 'born'. WAS THE CHANGE FRUITFUL? Barbados had the oldest elected Assembly (1637) in the entire West Indies. N.B.: From your topic European Settlement and Rivalry, you should recall that Barbados was the second colony to be captured and successfully settled by the British (1627). Up until today they are proud of their political heritage and are even nicknamed 'Little England'. Rawson's lukewarm attitude towards the federation led to his replacement in 1875; the newcomer, an Irishman John Hennessy, brought as much controversy to the issue as Rawson's apathy. In that year also, there was a change in the Secretary of State for the colonies. He was 'on the same page' so to speak with Hennessy, and was, therefore, willing to strike a compromise in order to achieve the broader objective of federation. In light of this he accepted Hennessy's six-point proposal for federation.

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