§ 43. Mr. SPOOR
asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether it is the policy of His Majesty's Government to discourage settlement on Crown lands in Trinidad and Tobago; whether this policy has been adopted to secure a supply of cheap labour for the planters; and whether there are hundreds of thousands of acres of arable land still uncultivated in that Colony?
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Lieut.-Colonel Amery)
I understand that settlement on the Crown lands has been to some extent retarded in the past by the difficulties inherent in combining oil development with agricultural settlement, but under arrangements which have now been made I believe the Colonial Government will be able to overcome those difficulties. There is, of course, no intention of discouraging agricultural settlement, the importance of which to the Colony is fully recognised. A scheme has been initiated under which free grants of land will be made to returned Trinidad soldiers and several 1999 fertile blocks of Crown land have been reserved for this purpose. There are estimated to be some 900,000 acres of uncultivated land in the Colony, but I have no figures to show how much of this may be arable land.
§ 44. Mr. SPOOR
asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has received a petition from the Trinidad Working Men's Association praying for the grant to Trinidad of a democratic constitution, including the grant of the franchise to all male British subjects over the age of twenty-one who are able to read and write English, and the election of the Legislative Council by popular vote; and whether it is proposed to take any steps in this direction?
§ Lieut.-Colonel AMERY
The Secretary of State has received the petition to which the hon. Member refers, but he is informed by the Governor that the Trinidad Working Men's Association has no claim to represent any considerable section of the working classes of the Colony. It is not proposed to take action in the matter.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Is it the Trinidad Working Men's Association who pressed for that legislation dealing with habitual idlers in these Colonies?