HC Deb 07 April 1892 vol 3 cc843-5

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the Secretary of State has received a copy of a resolution passed at a public meeting of the ratepayers of Gibraltar on 16th November, 1891, protesting against the putting into force of the Sanitary Order in Council (Amendment), 1891, as being injurious to the interests of the ratepayers, and depriving them of due repre- sentation; and, further, protesting against the manner in which this Order in Council has been put into force; and what answer, if any, has been returned to the resolution in question?


The protest was received in a letter from the Committee of the Gibraltar Ratepayers' Defence Association dated the 25th of November last, and was replied to in a Despatch to the Governor on the 11th of December. I regret that it is not possible to give the answer to the protest of the Ratepayers' Association in the limits of a reply to a question, but it will be found in the Papers which it is proposed to present to Parliament.

MR. M'LAGAN (Linlithgow)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies what was the respective proportional representation of the War Office, the Admiralty, and Colonial Department on the Sanitary Board at Gibraltar before the enforcement of the Sanitary Order (Amendment Order), 1891, and what is it now under said Order; and what is the proportion each of these Departments contribute to the rates?


Under the Sanitary Order in Council of 1883 the War Office had two representatives, the Admiralty and Colonial Government one each. Under the Sanitary Order (Amendment Order), 1891, the War Office and Colonial Government have each two representatives and the Admiralty one. On the basis of the actual payments for water rate in 1889, and the assessment for general purposes rate in 1890, the War Office, out of a total of 517,477 pesetas, paid 194,988 pesetas, the Colonial Government 19,172 pesetas, and the Admiralty 16,816 pesetas. It must be remembered, however, that the Government Departments have contributed directly, in addition to their payments as ratepayers, one-third of the capital cost of all the important sewerage works.

MR. CAUSTON (Southwark, W.)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that all the old members of the Sanitary Commission of Gibraltar, who were summarily dismissed under the Order of 1891 as being inefficient, have been invited by the Governor to serve on the new Commission, and have refused to do so on the ground that the Order in question gives despotic authority to the Governor, and deprives the ratepayers of their proper share in the representation on the Commission; and what steps the Government intends to take to fill up the vacancies still existing on the Board?


The old members were not dismissed as being inefficient, but the Sanitary Order (Amendment Order), 1891, provided that on its coming into operation the whole of the Sanitary Commissioners then in office should go out of office. One of the members of the old Board is serving on the new Board; another was appointed to the new Board, but has resigned. The Secretary of State believes that some, but not all, of the other members of the old Board were asked, and declined to serve on the new Board. As to the reasons assigned for such refusal, I must refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to a similar question asked by him on the 4th inst. As regards the last part of the question, Her Majesty's Government hope that competent persons will be found willing to fill the two vacant seats on the Board, and it would, in their opinion, be premature now to consider what steps should be taken, should this hope be unfortunately disappointed.


What is the right hon. Gentleman's reason for not stating the answer given by the gentlemen to whom he has referred?


Because we have not obtained the consent of those gentlemen to make those answers public. If the hon. Member wishes, however, to see them, I shall be happy to show them to him.