THE EDITOR, Sir:
It is good that we have heard publicly from the Government regarding the supposed United States (US) lease for the Goat Islands. However, the initial response, rather than clarifying matters, simply raises additional questions. Might I suggest that, once thorough research is done, the following questions will naturally come to mind.
Why has there been no mention of the fact that Jamaica, as a member of the West Indies Federation, signed up to a renegotiated agreement with the US on February 10, 1961? Is it possible that our Ministry of Foreign Affairs is unaware of this?
The Government of Jamaica, at that time, indicated to the federal government its intentions with regard to the former US-leased property. Would that make any difference to current discussions?
If the West Indies Federation successfully renegotiated the original 1940 Destroyers for Bases agreement, why did each Caribbean island, except Jamaica, feel the need to further negotiate its termination or make specific reference to the validity of bilateral agreements upon independence?
Most important, why does the US still regard the original 1940 agreement as currently in force?
It is ridiculous to think that the US would make any claim with regards to the Goat Islands, but what is stopping an interested party from testing the validity of the agreement in court? It has happened in some of the other islands with former US bases.
All of this is publicly available information. We should hope that the authorities get on top of this.