§ CAPTAIN NORTON (Newington, W.)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies what action has been taken by the Colonial Office in connection with the Petition of the Gibraltar ratepayers in reference to the Amended Ordinance constituting a new Sanitary Board or the Colony?
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Mr. S. BUXTON,) Tower Hamlets, Poplar
My hon. Friend is aware that in dealing with this question Her Majesty's Government cannot put out of consideration the fact of the peculiar position of Gibraltar as an important military fortress and coal- 568 ing station. But they have anxiously considered how far they could meet the views of the ratepayers in the matter of the Sanitary Board, and have now decided as follows:—To restore to the Grand Jury the privilege of nominating the panel from which the unofficial Commissioners are to be chosen; to allow the Board the right of nominating their own Chairman; to separate the offices of colonial engineer and engineer to the Sanitary Board, and to allow the Commissioners to appoint their own engineer; to abolish the power of the Governor in vetoing the construction of a work by the Board, and of requiring the Board to defray from the rates the cost of public works not executed by the Commissioners. Further, in future, the Colonial Secretary will cease to be a member of the Board. A Draft Ordinance embodying these concessions has been published in Gibraltar in the usual course, preparatory to its becoming law on March 10. In view of these substantial concessions, Her Majesty's Government feel justified in expecting that the representatives of the ratepayers will cordially co-operate in carrying out the important duties entrusted to the Sanitary Board.