HC Deb 26 November 1888 vol 331 cc119-20

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Who is responsible for the proper application of the sum of £20,000 recently raised to improve the means of communication of the Island of Dominica; if there is any truth in the statement that the money is being wasted; if it is a fact that a Mr. Robins, recently sent to Dominica as an engineer, is paid £500 a-year, instead of £350 a-year paid his predecessor; and, if so, what is the reason for this increase of salary; what Mr. Robins' qualifications are; and whether he has as yet submitted any plans or specifications for roads or bridges; if it is also a fact that, in addition to this engineer, a Mr. Rankin has been appointed clerk of works at a salary of £150 a-year; and, if so, what his exact occupation is; if it is true that these two gentlemen are in the habit of ordering most expensive stores, which are put down to extras, and charged to the Public Works Account; and whether there is any, and, if so, what, check upon their expenditure under this head; and, if it is also true that the Government quarters at Mona Bruce are being repaired, rebuilt, and redecorated for Mr. Robins and his family; that a Government store has been opened, and a storekeeper appointed, in a building rented by Mr. Robins' directions; and that large orders for materials and supplies have been made out by him; and, if so, who is responsible for this expenditure, and out of what fund is it to be met?


The Governor of the Leeward Islands, the President of Dominica, and the engineer in charge of the works are responsible for the application of the £20,000 raised for the improvement of the means of communication in Dominica, and the Secretary of State has no reason to believe that the money is being wasted. Mr. Robins' engagement is a special and temporary one at £500 a-year; and he has had no predecessor. He is an experienced engineer, who has been employed by the Governments of various Colonies; and, doubtless, his plans and specifications have been submitted to the Colonial Government. He is provided with a house. The requisite stores have been ordered by the Colonial Government, and are, doubtless, charged to the Island Public Works account. The expenditure must be authorized by the Governor or the President of the Island. Orders have been made out by Mr. Robins and approved by the Governor. The Governor is responsible for the expenditure, which is to be met out of the proposed loan.