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Chief Commissioner's Residence (Expenditure)

Volume 446: debated on Wednesday 28 January 1948

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in view of the need of financial expenditure on education and social services in Sierra Leone, why it was considered necessary to devote £10,000 for a proposed residence of a Chief Commissioner at Bo; and, in view of the fact that this proposal was only endorsed by the official majority in the Legislature, whether this expenditure will be reconsidered.

A house for the Chief Commissioner is necessary because the Protectorate, administration has recently been concentrated at Bo and no suitable quarters exist there for this officer. I am asking the Acting Governor for a fuller report on the estimated provision, but my hon. Friend will understand that there is little difference in the cost of building in this country and in West Africa, and that this house is more than a private residence and must be of a type to enable the senior British representative in the Protectorate to meet his official and social responsibilities. According to my information the provision was opposed by four only of the ten unofficial members of the Legislative Council. It was supported by all the Protectorate unofficial members, and the matter was not taken to a division.

Does not the Secretary of State feel that the spending of £10,000 on this particular structure, while so much is denied to education in Sierra Leone, strikes the public as rather cynical?

Is it not a fact that this expenditure can only be justified if it leads to much wider economic development?

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that accommodation at Bo is very primitive for British officials, and an improvement is urgently necessary?