7 Jul 2008

British government accused of failing to consult Pitcairn Islanders

10:43 am on 7 July 2008

The British government has come under fire for failing to consult residents of Pitcairn Island about its development plans.

A committee of MPs makes the criticisms in a report on Britain's Overseas Territories- the first of its kind for ten years.

Here's our London reporter Ben Lowings:

"The report recommends that Pitcairn's residents be informed and consulted about the island's development. One Pitcairner, Kari Boye Young, who sent evidence to the inquiry, said a new charter, or constitution, had been presented to the island council, behind closed doors. She wanted to know why Pitcairn was the only British territory where the European Convention on Human Rights did not apply. She added the islanders wanted to know how to be able to manage on their own, and make decisions for themselves. The Pitcairn Island Commissioner, Leslie Jacques, told the inquiry that in the past, Pitcairn had been signed up to some treaties without his knowledge, but he said that now there was a good consultation process. The British government said it had come up with what it called an internal joint development strategy paper. It added the Pitcairn governor was negotiating with France about a more regular shipping service to the island, involving Auckland and French Polynesia."