HC Deb 19 July 1912 vol 41 cc660-1

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he has any information which he can give to the House as to the distress prevailing in the district of St. Elizabeth, in Jamaica, as a result of prolonged drought, and as to whether measures, such as the construction of reservoirs, are being or will be undertaken by Government, with a view to preventing the occurrence of a similar state of things in the future?

Mr. GULLAND (Lord of the Treasury)

On the 25th of June the Acting Governor telegraphed to my right hon. Friend as follows:— Usual spring rains have failed without present indication of any change in conditions east and west, moderate showers north insufficient, south quite inadequate, drought St. Elizabeth and parts Manchester becoming serious; orders have been given for new public works voted to be pushed on and road metal to be purchased so as to afford people means of earning wages; parochial boards excavating tanks as relief works. My right hon. Friend consulted Sir Sydney Olivier, who was on leave at the time, and was informed that the measures being taken were in his opinion the best practicable. At the same time my right hon. Friend regrets to say that Sir Sydney Olivier thought it impossible to provide an adequate and continuous water supply for the districts specially affected.

A further telegram has just been received to the following effect:— Drought conditions somewhat relieved, partial showers having fallen in most arears.