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Non-self-governing territories of the Caribbean and debates over autonomy

Clegg, Peter


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Peter Clegg
Dean and Head of School of Social Sciences


Jackie West


Nineteen countries in the Caribbean region (from the Cayman Islands in the west to Martinique in the east, and from the Turks and Caicos Islands in the north to French Guiana in the south, plus Bermuda, located in the West Atlantic but often grouped with the Caribbean territories) are not independent sovereign states; rather they retain constitutional relationships, albeit under different systems, with their original metropolitan powers. At present, none of the countries wishes to make the move towards independence. However, many governments and political parties in the territories are not satisfied with the status quo, and thus there has been considerable debate with regard to the extent to which greater autonomy might be provided to them. While the metropolitan powers have been generally willing to grant more autonomy, a situation is now developing whereby further significant change is unlikely, and in some cases there has in fact been a moderate repatriation of powers. This essay considers the nature of the political relationships in place, the important reforms that are being undertaken in an attempt to re-energize and reorganize links between the non-self-governing territories of the Caribbean and their metropolitan centres, and the likelihood that an end point is being neared with regard to the awarding of further autonomy – unless of course independence becomes the favoured option. This essay also looks at the increasingly important relationship that the European Union (EU) has with some of the territories, and how this link also influences the autonomy debate.


Clegg, P. (2015). Non-self-governing territories of the Caribbean and debates over autonomy. In J. West (Ed.), South America, Central America and the Caribbean 2016 (33-39). Abingdon: Routledge

Acceptance Date Jun 6, 2019
Publication Date Jan 1, 2015
Deposit Date Nov 6, 2015
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Pages 33-39
Book Title South America, Central America and the Caribbean 2016
ISBN 9781857437850
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in South America, Central America and the Caribbean 2016 on 15 October 2015, available online:


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