§ 25. Mr. TOUCHE
asked for the number of members of the Gold Coast Legislative Council who voted on the Second Reading of the Palm Oil Bill, 1912; the numbers for and the numbers against; how many unofficial members voted for the Second Reading; and how many against it?
Three unofficial members voted against the Second Reading. I gather from the Government Gazette that six members, including one unofficial, voted in favour of it.
§ Mr. TOUCHE
In view of the large majority of unofficial members, does the right hon. Gentleman think that the policy ought to be reconsidered?
§ 26. Mr. TOUCHE
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the promised or intended grant of exclusive privileges to Messrs. Lever Brothers, Limited, in respect of the erection of machinery for the expression or extraction of oil from the pericarp of palm fruits in Sierra Leone relates to a rectangular area of eleven and a half miles by twenty-eight so adjusted to the palm belt as to give them twice as much palm-bearing land as would have been included in a circuit of twenty miles; whether the willingness of the Colonial Secretary to grant this area, as expressed in the Colonal Office letter to Messrs. Lever Brothers, Limited, of 24th June, 1912, still holds good, and if this is the area provided for in the amended form of licence which he was prepared to approve; and if he has any knowledge whether the erection of the mills for which Messrs. Lever proposed to ship building materials and machinery in September, 1912, has been commenced?
The answer to the first two paragraphs of the question is in the affirmative, and to the last part in the negative.
§ Mr. TOUCHE
Can the right hon. Gentleman say why he authorised this very large Grant after having previously announced that he could not authorise a radius of more than five miles in consequence of the very unusual character of the facilities asked for?
If the hon. Member refers to the correspondence that has been issued to Parliament, he will find the explanation in the letters.
§ Mr. TOUCHE
May I inform the right hon. Gentleman that I have read the correspondence with great care, and can find no explanation whatever on this point?
§ 27. Mr. TOUCHE
asked whether Messrs. Apol, Limited, have entered into any negotiation for the grant of privileges in connection with the palm-oil industry in the Gold Coast Colony and received any promise of consideration?
It came to my knowledge in July last that Messrs. Apol were taking steps to obtain from the Supreme Court of the Gold Coast validation of certain concessions obtained by them from native chiefs which, while not contrary to the existing law of the Colony, were, in my opinion, detrimental to the interests of 980 the natives, inasmuch as they gave power to the concessionnaires to remove natives from the land leased and to gather the palm fruit growing thereon to the exclusion of natives. I therefore procured the passage of an Ordinance prohibiting the validation of any concessions purporting to grant such rights. Subsequently Messrs. Apol submitted to me a form of lease from which the objectionable provisions were omitted, and I informed them that I would not raise any obstacle to the validation of leases in that form by the local authorities in accordance with the laws and regulations on the subject.
§ 28. Mr. TOUCHE
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is aware that at the meeting of the Legislative Council of the Gold Coast Colony, on 28th January, the Colonial Secretary intimated that the Government would move several important Amendments to the proposed Palm Oil Bill at the Committee stage; can he state the short effect of the alterations made by these Amendments; will he say whether the Governor has put any fresh proposals before him; and whether the Bill has yet had a Third Reading?
The important Amendments referred to by the Colonial Secretary were those already set out fully in Cd. 6512. The Bill has not yet been read a third time. I am in correspondence with the Governor on the matter; but I do not anticipate that much further amendment will be found requisite.