HC Deb 05 June 1894 vol 25 cc405-6
MR. WEBB (Watorford, W.)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to the proceedings before the Railway Inquiry Commission in Trinidad, and to the fact that several railway officials are awaiting their trial for embezzlement; whether he has observed that it appeared in evidence that serious defalcations and mismanagement occurred on the part of under officials during the administration of Mr. Tanner, late Director of Public Works, and that he was so confident in his system of management that he had opposed inquiry regarding alleged malversation during his tenure of office; whether the Colonial Office will urge Mr. Tanner, who has retired to this country on pension, to return to Trinidad and submit himself for examination before the Commission; and whether there would be any objection to laying upon the Table of the House the Correspondence between the Government of Trinidad and the Colonial Office and the Crown Agents relative to the working of the Railway Department in Trinidad during Sir William Robinson's tenure of office in the island?


The answer to the first question is in the affirmative. As regards the second question, the answer to the first part is in the affirmative, and to the last part in the negative. I cannot find that any allegations of malversation were made during Mr. Tanner's tenure of office. As regards the third question, Mr. Tanner is prevented from going out to Trinidad by the state of his health. He has been examined by the medical officer of this Department, and Lord Ripon would not feel justified, in view of his Report, in requesting Mr. Tanner to proceed to the colony. It may be found possible to arrange for Mr. Tanner to be examined in this country with respect to the affairs of the Railway Department, and Lord Ripon is in communication with the Governor on the subject. Mr. Tanner has asked that this may be done. As regards the last question, when the Commission has reported the Secretary of State will consider whether any Papers should be given.