HC Deb 22 February 1884 vol 284 cc1724-5

asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether he was aware that great dissatisfaction exists in the island of Jamaica, in consequence of the proposed new scheme of Government; that many public meetings have been held, and continue to be held, in all parts of the island, protesting against the scheme, on the ground that it does not, as promised in Lord Derby's Despatch of 1st December 1883— Admit the people, through their representatives, to a material share in the decision of those questions which most directly concern them, and more particularly in the control of finance and public expenditure; and that it is not in accord with the spirit and tenour of his reply to the deputation which he received on 8th November 1883; and, whether the Government will consider the advisability of acceding to the demand of the Colonists for the right of sending fifteen representatives to serve in the Legislative Council?


I am aware that meetings have been held in Jamaica at which the proposed new Constitution has been protested against as insufficient; but Sir Henry Norman's Memorandum—printed in papers just given to Parliament—has explained the reasons for which the apprehension that the People are not thereby admitted to a material share in the decision of public and especially financial questions, is unfounded. If the scheme, however, should be found after trial to be inadequate in respect of giving a substantial share in the control of public affairs, there will be no reluctance to reconsider it. But it is of the highest importance that all parties should co-operate to give the scheme a due trial, and to ascertain fairly whether it does or does not satisfy all reasonable demands for an extension of popular participation in government.