§ MR. SUMMERBELL (Sunderland)
I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State to the Colonies if he is aware that the town board of Port of Spain, under the Port of Spain Waterworks (Amendment) Ordinance, is now empowered the sole party to repair the pipes, etc., of the town properties; that notice of such repairs and payment for the same to the owners of such properties is in many cases imperfectly given and demanded; that on non-payment of such sum, in some cases only amounting to 12 cents. the board has power to enforce, and does enforce, payment by selling such properties or land by public auction before the doors of the town hall, intimation of such sale being generally by advertisement in the local newspaper; that when the board's solicitor does give notice he charges 80 cents. for such notifying letter; that members of the town board have been known to be the purchasers of such properties put up by auction; and, if so, whether he can state what action, if any, he intends to take, with a view to the adoption of a more just method in regard to the collection of such accounts.
§ THE UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Mr. CHURCHILL,) Manchester, N. W.
The process for the recovery of arrears of rates and charges due to the town board as water authority is laid down in the Ordinance cited by the hon. Member, and is the same as that in force in respect of house rates in Port of Spain. Sale of the 1528 property is, however, not the only procsss, there being an alternative by way of distress. The Secretary of State is not aware that any abuses of the nature described by the hon. Member have occurred in Port of Spain, but the Governor will be asked for a Report in the matter.