asked the Under-Secretary for the Colonies whether he has yet received any communication from the Governor of British Guiana with respect to the proposal that an expert on irrigation should go out to British Guiana with the object of inquiring into and reporting upon the feasibility of irrigation and drainage schemes being undertaken; and, if so, what was the nature of the communication?
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Colonel Seely)
The Governor of British Guiana has informed the Secretary of State that there is no necessity, so far as he can see, for the appointment of an expert in irrigation to come to the Colony for the purposes mentioned, as the present Colonial civil engineer has the requisite knowledge and experience, and the Government are already in possession of a mass of information on the subject. The Governor added that a Bill was being drafted to facilitate the promotion of schemes for the irrigation and drainage of lands in the hands of resident proprietors, that the proposals of the Government had been explained in outline to the Combined Court, and that the elective members who took part in the discussion expressed themselves as satisfied with the scheme.
asked the Under-Secretary whether he will make inquiries as to the number of occasions since the provisional appointment of Mr. George Garnett to the Executive Council of British Guiana questions affecting the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, Sprostons, Limited, and the Demerara Railway Company, in all of which Mr. Garnett is financially interested, have been before the Executive Council; and whether Mr. Garnett was allowed to vote?
§ Colonel SEELY
The function of the Executive Council is not to decide questions of policy by vote, but to advise the Governor of the Colony, who is, however, not bound to follow their advice. The Secretary of State is aware of Mr. Garnett's 1631 connection with the companies referred to, but, as I explained in reply to a question addressed to me on 29th October last, he does not regard them as in any way disqualifying him for the position of an Executive Councillor.
asked the Under-Secretary whether he is aware of any intention on the part of the Government of British Guiana to effect a reduction in the mounted section of the police force in compliance with the expressed desire of a majority of the members of the British Guiana Legislature; and, if not, whether he will make representations to the British Guiana Government on the matter?
asked whether consideration will be given to the advisability of framing conditions in connection with appointments to the Executive Council of British Guiana; and whether, in the filling of future vacancies, regard will be had to securing fair representation on the Executive Council of the three interests represented by the Chamber of Commerce, the Planters' Association, and the People's Association?
§ Colonel SEELY
It would scarcely be possible, and in any case it would appear to be undesirable, to attempt to frame definite regulations governing the appointment of unofficial members of the Executive Council. Due regard must be had to the interests of the Colony as a whole, and, in the opinion of the Secretary of State, it would not be politic to prejudge the selection for any future vacancy by an undertaking that any particular interest shall be represented.