HC Deb 21 February 1907 vol 169 c1027
LORD R. CECIL (Marylebone, E.)

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the Government intend to introduce a Bill amending the Pacific Islanders 'Protection Act, 1872, to give effect to the Convention between this country and France respecting the New Hebrides, as foreshadowed in the despatch to the Governor-General of Australia, dated 9th March 1906.


His Majesty's Government are advised that, for legal reasons, an Act of Parliament is desirable to empower His Majesty to carry out the provisions of the New Hebrides Convention; and it is proposed to take the opportunity to amend, as far as the New Hebrides are concerned, Section 3 of the Pacific Islanders' Protection Act, 1872, under which no British vessel can carry labourers from one island to another, even within the same group, unless the master has given a bond for £500. This sum has been found prohibitive in the case of small planters such as the British settlers in the New Hebrides, and has consequently had the most serious effect on British enterprise in those Islands. It is consequently proposed to dispense with the bond in cases where a resident British Officer can see that proper regulations are enforced for the control and supervision of recruiting.


Can the hon. Gentleman give any indication of the date when the Bill will be brought in?


Questions relating to the business of the House should be addressed to the Leader of the House.