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Baroness Trumpington: My Lords, it is the unit; it is not the university.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, I understood that the unit was in fact at the University of the West Indies. I beg the House's pardon if I was misinformed.

We are aware of the difficulties over funding, which at the moment comes not only from the British Medical Council but also from the Department for International Development. The funds currently pay for all staff, provide all consumables and cover the cost of the clinical care of patients. We shall consider further funding as and when the question arises in a few years' time.

I now turn to the question of Montserrat. Montserrat is in a peculiarly difficult position. After hurricane Hugo, in 1989, and a volcanic eruption in 1995, the second eruption on 25th June brought with it tragic loss of life. I am sure I speak for all those in the House when I offer my sympathy to those who were bereaved or made homeless. Montserrat's needs are not only the short-term needs of which the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, spoke; there are, too, the long-term needs of the island to ensure that it can sustain a future for its people, particularly its young people.

The noble Baroness referred to the interview during which the Governor made some remarks about sustainable levels of population. I have spoken to the Governor on this point. He believes that his remarks

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were, unfortunately and perhaps under the strain of the moment, taken somewhat out of context. The viability of the island is not dependent on a specific population figure. Some of our dependent territories have a much small population figure than that of Montserrat. Decisions about evacuation will be based on the needs of the safety of the people of the island, not on financial viability.

The noble Baroness asked me several detailed questions. Sadly, I am running up against the clock. However, I believe that the relationships we have with the government of Montserrat have strengthened over the course of the past few weeks--perhaps in adversity, but I believe that my own visits there and the steadfastness of our Governor in Montserrat have encouraged the people there to believe what is true: namely, that the British Government are supporting them in the profound difficulties that they face.

I have tried to cover most of the important issues debated this evening. I have sought to assure the House that Britain takes its obligations to the Caribbean seriously. It is true that the region faces great challenges. We will continue to review our policy to meet the

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new needs that will arise. The Government of the United Kingdom look forward to flourishing relationships with all our friends in the Caribbean in years to come.

Lord Rea: My Lords, before the noble Baroness sits down, will she consider arranging a meeting between representatives of the Cuban Government--possibly Senor Lage as mentioned by the noble Viscount, Lord Montgomery--to look again at the tricky problem of the Paris Club debt and the export credit guarantees that are so badly needed to increase our trade with Cuba?

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, I do understand the difficulties on this front. I hope I did my best to answer some of the points made, perhaps not to the noble Lord's satisfaction but nonetheless to answer some of the points. I have discussed these matters with the Cuban ambassador in recent weeks. I will certainly consider the point that the noble Lord makes about further efforts that we might make to discuss these matters in a constructive way.

        House adjourned at twenty-eight minutes past eight o'clock.

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