§ SIR THOMAS ESMONDE (Kerry, W.)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies if he can state the decision at which the Colonial Office has arrived in respect of the inquiry asked for by the elected Representatives of Dominica into circumstances of the recent shooting of the people at La Plaine; and whether an inquiry will be granted into the administration of the public loans, the taxation, expenditure, and general conduct of the Government of Dominica?
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Mr. S. BUXTON,) Tower Hamlets, Poplar
The Secretary of State has given his most careful attention to the late lamentable occurrences in Dominica. So far as we are already in possession of the facts of the case, there seems to be no necessity for instituting a special inquiry into these events. But the Governor has been called upon to furnish a full Report on the statements contained in the Memorial of the elected Members; and, further, he has been instructed to report fully and carefully on the grievances complained of by the people of La Plaine, so that action may be at once taken to remedy, where possible, any injustice or disability from which the people may be suffering.
§ MR. TUITE (Westmeath, N.)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies whether any official Report has been received at the Colonial Office from the Governor of Dominica with reference to the recent fatal riots at La Plaine; whether the Governor of the Island and the Chief Magistrate, Mr. Le Hunte, were present when the police fired on the people, killing four persons and wounding two others; whether Mr. Le Hunte, who was in command of the police on the occasion, afterwards presided at the inquest on the victims; and, if so, what action will be taken with regard to that official; can he state the nature of the document which Sir W. Haines Smith and Mr. Le Hunte asked the man Collard to sign; and whether an inquiry will be instituted into the conduct of Sir W. Haines Smith and Mr. Le Hunte, and the circumstances which led to the disturbances?
§ MR. S. BUXTON
The answer to the first question is, yes. As regards the second question, the Governor and Mr. Le Hunte were present when the firing took place. The police fired without orders, but under extreme provocation, and the Governor at once gave orders to cease firing. Mr. Le Hunte was not in command of the police on this occasion. He presided at the inquest as Coroner of the district. As regards the fourth question, the Governor offered to allow Pierre Colar to resume possession of his house, from which he had been ejected, if he would give an undertaking to pay the amount he owed for taxes and costs at some future time, if he were able and wore called upon to do so. On his refusal, the police proceeded to carry out the process. As regards the last question, I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I have just given to the hon. Member for West Kerry.