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Bills of Rights and DecolonizationThe Emergence of Domestic Human Rights Instruments in Britain's Overseas Territories$
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Charles Parkinson

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199231935

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199231935.001.0001

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The British West Indies

The British West Indies

(p.175) 7 The British West Indies
Bills of Rights and Decolonization

Charles O.H. Parkinson

Oxford University Press

During independence negotiations in British Guiana, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago, the debate about bills of rights did not focus on the merits of bills of rights in protecting the rights of individuals but on their capacity to entrench in the constitution the basic democratic features of the Westminster system of government. There was great apprehension about independence from groups that had different views from the party likely to be in government during the transfer of power. One approach taken by such groups was to try to lock in the constitutional status quo and therefore minimize the political uncertainty after independence. The bill of rights was an important component of this entrenchment package. This reflected a major shift in thinking about the use of a bill of rights that did not occur to the same extent in either Asia or Africa.

Keywords:   West Indies Federation, British Guiana, bill of rights, Jamaica, independence, Trinidad and Tobago

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