HC Deb 10 March 1891 vol 351 cc587-8

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the existing railways of Jamaica described in a Despatch of His Excellency the Governor "as a good and paying property," have been handed over to an American Syndicate, together with a grant of 100,000 acres of land, and the right to make railway extensions to Montego Bay and Port Antonio; whether these conditions had the previous sanction of the Colonial Office; and whether he will lay the terms of the concession upon the Table of the House?


I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the Jamaica Railway was constructed with money raised under a Government guarantee of 4 per cent. interest, which interest has hitherto been paid out of the earnings of the railway; also on what terms does the Jamaica Government propose to acquire the 100 square miles of land to be handed over to the railway syndicate?


In 1889 the Jamaica Government Railway was sold to a company incorporated in the colony, and brought out by an American Syndicate. As a part of the conditions of the sale, the syndicate undertook to construct extensions of the railway to Montego Bay and Port Antonio for which they were to receive a square mile of land for every mile of the extension. The Secretary of State, without expressing approval of the scheme, considered that it should be left to the decision of the Colonial Legislature. Papers, including a copy of the Colonial Law under which the sale was made, and which sets out in a schedule all the conditions, will be presented to Parliament. I would also refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the very full reply given to him by me on the 27th of June, 1889, which contains the answer to the question which he now repeats.

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