HC Deb 26 March 1907 vol 171 cc1635-6
Mr. FELL (Great Yarmouth)

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the Colonial Office is in possession of any Reports on the physical condition of the natives of the New Hebrides; whether they are, like the natives of all the other tropical Pacific Islands, a delicate people unaccustomed to and incapable of continuous work; whether they are fitted for arduous work in the mines of New Caledonia or in the sugar fields of Fiji; and whether they are likely to die off rapidly if compelled under indentures to work for ten or twelve hours a day.


Natives of the New Hebrides under indentures do not work in mines in any place under British authority. His Majesty's Government have not and never have had any responsibility for or power to control foreign recruiting in the New Hebrides for other places. The Secretary of State is not aware of any special reports on the physical condition of natives of the New Hebrides; but the last available mortality returns of Polynesian Islanders recently working in the sugar districts of Queensland and in Fiji point to no unfitness for field-work such as the hon. Member suggests.


Does the return apply to women and children?


It applies generally, I believe, to the islanders.