Current Constitutional Arrangements are Colonial & Obsolete

Equality and Human Rights Commission tells PACAC “There needs to be a change of attitude and practice across both HM Government and the UK Civil Service”

In April 2023 a House of Commons committee started an inquiry into the relationship between the UK and the Overseas Territories.  The original deadline for written submissions on this relationship was September last year.  So far, 73 submissions have been published by the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) and the deadline for submissions has been extended; it remains open and has no revised deadline specified.

In their submission, the SHEHRC wrote it believed that the people of St Helena need and want a shift towards greater autonomy and freedom of their rights to self-determination and to have all the same Human Rights and fundamental freedoms as their fellow British Citizens living in the UK. Their submission added, “It further believes that the current constitutional arrangements are not facilitating that aim. There is clear evidence in the recent Governance Review to show that the current constitutional arrangements are colonial & obsolete.”  Developing the point, the SHEHRC added, “St Helena is proudly British and wishes to be accepted as British. Its citizens are entitled to British Passports, the same rights and protections as British people living in mainland Britain. They expect to be treated as British when it comes to state pensions whether they are living in the UK or St Helena. There needs to be a change of attitude and practice across both HM Government and the UK Civil Service”.


Other submissions from other Overseas Territories included similar views.

This is an extract of the full report to be published on Friday 5th January in the St Helena Independent


  1. The views expressed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission are not new, In fact they have been expressed before not only in relation to St Helena but to the wider international debate about a “post-colonial world”. That debate has taken place at a series of “Foreign Aid Effectiveness” conferences beginning originally with Paris back in 2005. ( It was ten years later when the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Commons considered the St Helena Airport project where members were alerted to problems that stem from the complicated and antiquated leadership. Similar points were also made by the Wass Enquiry in to child-care on the island. ( Far from tackling the problems, the last constitutional review simply added more complications. Those changes should not have been rushed through and not without a very clear affirmative vote by a good majority of Saints at home and abroad. Let us hope that this current parliamentary enquiry and the other ones do much better by St Helena.

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