LETTER: Britain's role in her territories

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From Mr Albert Poggio

Sir: I was most disappointed by Raymond Whitaker's article "Imperial relics cling to British rule" (14 August). Most of the territories mentioned are self-governing, with the UK only responsible for defence and foreign affairs. As a result, the "burden" of stopping money-laundering is borne by the governments of these territories and not the UK; indeed, the latter could learn from some of them.

Costs may be involved in helping these dependent territories which have to cope with natural disasters, but these are negligble and infrequent. Over the past five years, the money spent by the UK on all its dependent territories amounts to less than 0.03 per cent of the UK's GDP. Over the past five financial years, the contribution made to UK public funds by dependent territories is pounds 382m.

Finally, it is inaccurate to describe the territories as "clinging" to British rule. Gibraltar, for example, is campaigning hard for the right of self-determination which it does not yet have. Far from clinging, the territories are proud of their connections to the British Crown and the Commonwealth and believe that the continued healthy relationship can only add to Britain's reputation in the world.

Yours faithfully,

Albert Poggio

Chairman

Dependent Territories

Association

London, WC2

17 August

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