§ MR. HENEY J. WILSON (York, W.E., Holmfirth)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies if he can state how it occurred that, during the passing of the Criminal Law Amendment Act through the House of Assembly in Barbados, the age at which the Bill sought to protect girls was reduced from 16 to 13; whether the Solicitor General of the Colony is responsible for proposing this alteration of the Bill; and, whether it is a fact, as reported, that the Solicitor General said in Debate that be hoped the Act would never be put in force?
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Baron H. DE WORMS,) Liverpool, East Toxteth
In an Act of the Legislature of Barbados, corresponding to the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1885, which was transmitted to the Secretary of State by the last mail, the age at which girls are protected is 13 years instead of 16 years, as in the Imperial Act. This alteration was made during the passing of the Bill through the House of Assembly, but it was intended to have been made in the Bill as introduced, the figure 16 having accidentally been inserted. The Executive Committee considered that the lower limit of age was preferable. The alteration appears to have been proposed by the Solicitor General. In the report of a Debate in a colonial newspaper the Solicitor General is reported to have expressed a hope that the Statute would never be put in force, as it would thus show that the object aimed at had been achieved; but the Secretary of State does not know whether this report is correct.
§ MR. H. J. WILSON
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the reason why the Colonial Legislature made the alteration?