HC Deb 04 August 1890 vol 347 cc1733-4
MR. LENG (Dundee)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the attention of the Colonial Office has been called to the letters by Mr. James Arthur, a merchant of Belize, appearing in the Times of Monday, 21st July, and the South American Journal of 26th July, complaining of the manner in which the colony of British Honduras has been administered by Sir Roper Tuckfield Goldsworthy since his appointment to the Governorship in 1884, and more particularly with reference to a series of arbitrations in which the colony, without being adequately represented, has been mulcted in considerable sums for alleged breach of contract entered into between the Government of the colony and a Mr. C. T. Hunter, a friend of the Governor; whether a serious constitutional crisis has arisen in consequence of the resignation of all the unofficial members of the Legislative Council, such resignation having been caused by the proceedings of the Governor; whether the Secretary of State for the Colonies will cause inquiries to be instituted into the correctness of these statements, either by sending out to the colony a Commissioner at the cost of the taxpayers or otherwise; and, whether he will lay upon the Table of the House the whole of the correspondence which has passed between the 'Colonial Office and the Governor of the colony relating to the Hunter Contract case, both before and after the last arbitration held in London?


The Secretary of State has seen the letters of Mr. Arthur. The arbitrations referred to were held by his instructions, and the colony was, in his opinion, adequately and ably represented at them. The unofficial members of the Council tendered the resignation of their seats in consequence of the vote for the amount awarded in the final arbitration being passed by the official majority in accordance with the direction of the Secretary of State, and in so doing they stated that their action was not intended to express any reflection upon the Governor. The Secretary of State has ample material for judging as to the correctness of Mr. Arthur's statements, and sees no need for sending out a Commissioner. He does not think that any good object would be obtained by laying the Papers on the Table of the House, but he will be glad to let the hon. Member see them, if he desires.