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West Indies

Volume 437: debated on Wednesday 7 May 1947

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Air Services


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement in regard to the development of air services in the West Indies.

I am in consultation with my noble Friend the Minister of Civil Aviation about the integration of the services operated and projected by the British South American Airways Corporation in the West Indies with those operated and projected in the area by the various Colonial airlines. The recent Colonial Civil Aviation Conference in London afforded an opportunity for some useful discussions on this matter, and the chairman of British West Indian Airways is expected in London shortly for discussions about this company.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say when he can make a more complete statement on this matter?

I do not know how soon, but if another Question is put down in about a month's time, I hope to be able to make a statement then.

Is the Minister aware that, while these long deliberations are going on, the French and Dutch are coming in and starting air lines to British territories?

Agricultural Workers (Bank Accounts)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what are the arrangements for the repayment to Jamaican agricultural labourers on their return from the U.S.A. of money paid into their accounts in the Agricultural Workers' Branch of the Government Savings Bank.

In accordance with the contract into which each worker enters with the United States Government, 25 per cent. of his earnings is deducted at the source and paid to his account at the Agricultural Workers' Branch of the Government Savings Bank in Jamaica. While he is in the United States, monthly payments not exceeding £3 are made to his dependants from this amount. On his return, the balance is paid to him on the production of satisfactory evidence of identity.

Could the Secretary of State say whether these men on their return from America are able to obtain a full written statement of their accounts?

I should want notice of that question. I think there has been some little difficulty up to now because of delays, but we are trying to speed matters up.

Are they allowed to keep their dollars, or are they forcibly converted to sterling?

Dominica (Exports)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether in the case of the Colony of Dominica, and with special reference to lime juice, cocoa and cocoanuts, he will make a further statement in regard to the products of certain Colonies which were exported to the exclusive order of various Government departments in the United Kingdom who also fixed the price to he paid for such products.

None of these products is exported to the exclusive order of a Government department. Lime juice is exported by producers in Dominica to their agents in this country, import licences being issued by the Ministry of Food on a quota system. Dominica can and does export lime juice elsewhere. The price is fixed by the Minister of Food in consultation with the Government of the Windward Islands and myself. All Dominica cocoa is at present being bought by the United States according to the allocation arrangements of the International Emergency Food Council. Coconuts are not being imported into this country from Dominica.

Can the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that the growers in Dominica are not being prejudiced by the price fixed by the Ministry of Food?

I believe that is the case, but I would like to look into the matter further.


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the position in regard to the export of limes from the Colony of Dominica; why the volume of export has fallen since 1921; whether the Colony is free to export limes to the U.S. at world prices; and what is the difference between the world price and the price fixed for limes exported to the United Kingdom.

The serious decline in the Dominica lime industry after 1920 was due partly to hurricane damage and the inroads of plant diseases, but also to the development of cheaper sources of citric acid. Since 1934 there has been a partial recovery, principally owing to the increased value of juice and distilled oil exported. The years 1944 and 1945 were the best since 1920. The export of fresh limes remains small. The Colony is free to export lime products where it wishes. No price is fixed for limes exported to the U.K.

Oil Output And Exports (Trinidad)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the total output of Trinidad oil; what proportion is imported into this country and into Canada, respectively; and at what rate Trinidad oil imported into Canada enjoys preference.

The total production of crude oil in Trinidad in the year 1946 amounted to 2,890,000 tons. For the same year, imports of Trinidad oil products of all types into the United Kingdom totalled 965,000 tons; imports into Canada totalled 25,000 tons. Trinidad oil is imported into Canada at a preference rate varying from a third of a cent to three-quarters of a cent per gallon, according to the type of petroleum product.

Jamaica Bananas (Shipping)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has considered representations from the Jamaica Banana Producers' Association for shipping for the export of the banana crop; and with what result.

Yes, Sir. I have considered representations from the Jamaica Banana Producers' Association and am laying certain proposals before the Governor of Jamaica.

No. It is a problem of shipping; the volume of exports does not arise.

Is it intended to enable the Jamaica banana producers to maintain their own shipping line, as in the past?

That is one of the points which the Governor is asking the producers to consider.

Government Appointment, Trinidad (Protest)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what reply was given by the Government of Trinidad to the protest of the Trinidad and Tobago Trades Union Council against the decision to appoint a South African to the post of superintendent of survey-training in the Civil Service.

The suggestion made by the Trades Union Council was that the appointment of this officer, who has the necessary qualifications and experience for the post, should be cancelled solely on the ground of his South African origin. I could not agree to any such principle being followed, and the council were accordingly informed that I was unable to accede to their representations.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his answer will give great satisfaction to those in Trinidad itself who wish to have the best possible people appointed to these technical positions?