HC Deb 22 July 1890 vol 347 cc501-3

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies if he can explain what were the grounds for the opposition of the official members of the Legislative Council of Cyprus to a Bill, brought forward by Mr. Pascal Constantinides, having for its object the formation of an Agricultural Bank in Cyprus, which was one of the foremost remedial measures urged by the Cypriot Deputation that waited on the Colonial Office in the autumn of 1889, and which was recently passed by the majority of the members, seeing that repeated promises have been made by the Colonial Office to attain that object; whether the Colonial Office intend, in the case of the Bill in question, to allow the views of the elected representatives of the people to be carried out; whether in view of the fact that recommendations adopted by the representative section of the Legislative Council have been frequently disregarded, it is proposed to take any steps to give better effect to the wishes of the majority; whether any and that action has been taken to mitigate the heavy pressure of taxation obtaining in Cyprus, and which was also a matter of argent appeal in the Memorial submitted by the Deputation referred to; and weather it is true that Her Majesty's Government have refused appreciably to curtail the expenditure of which complaint was also made?


The answer to the first and second paragraphs of the hon. Member's question is that the High Commissioner has not yet reported officially as to the introduction of this Bill, or the proceedings which took place upon it. It is not the case that the Colonial Office has made repeated promises to attain the object of establishing an agricultural bank. All the promises which the Secretary of State has made upon the subject have been conditional on a practicable scheme being brought before him. The third paragraph of the hon. Member's question contains such controversial assumptions that it is impossible to give it an answer. If he will refer to the Colonial Office Letter, to the Cyprus Deputation of the 4th of August, 1889, at page 10 of the Blue Book C 6003, he will see that those assumptions are not admitted to be accurate by the Secretary of State. As regards the views of Her Majesty's Government on the question whether the taxation is oppressive, and whether both the taxation and expenditure can, and ought to be reduced, I would refer the hon. Member to the views of Her Majesty's Government as expressed in the Secretary of State's Despatch of the 22nd of March on pages 33 and 34 of the Blue Book C 4003, to which I have nothing to add.

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